I received a phone call recently from an HSLDA member whose son was asked in a group setting to share his proposed post-high school plans. The question made him uncomfortable because he had no idea what he wanted to do after graduation. The mom wondered how she could encourage her son.
I reassured her and suggested that she give her son time and room to grow during the high school years. Teens should not feel pressured into making life-long decisions while in high school. Instead, high school can provide a wonderful opportunity for teens to discover their strengths, uncover their abilities, hone their skills, and investigate a variety of career possibilities.
Here are three ways parents can help their teens in this endeavor:
- CAREER INTEREST TRAINING
For a teen who flounders and has no focus when it comes to potential career options, consider giving him a career interest test that can provide direction. Career interest tests come in many forms. Some career tests are simply survey tests taken online, while other tests add features such as consultations with career specialists. Check out some career test options here.
The ASVAB-Career Exploration test is free and offered at high schools nationwide. The test measures verbal, math, science, and technical skills. Call a local high school in your area to find out if it gives the test and whether your teen can be accommodated. Many ASVAB representatives will also give the test to groups of homeschool students, so contact ASVAB at 1-800-323-0513 to find out about ASVAB-CAP testing for your homeschool group.
2. JOB SHADOWING
Homeschooling provides the flexibility to set up several job shadowing opportunities for your teen. If your teen has an idea of several careers that she is interested in, suggest she contact a person working in the field. Job shadowing is an informal arrangement that enables a teen to explore the career up-close and discover what a typical day entails. Job shadowing provides your teen the opportunity to discover skills needed for the job, the environment associated with the job, and the disposition necessary for the job. Read Job Shadowing: Opportunities to Ignite Future Careers for practical ideas on job shadowing, and view a sample job shadowing proposal form.
3. CAREER RESEARCH AND RESOURCES
Design a career development elective course to give your teen the opportunity to research the training, future outlook, salary ranges, and education required for specific jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics website provides helpful resources. Carol Topp’s book, Career Exploration for Homeschool High School Students, walks your teen through the process of researching careers and can be completed in 4 – 8 weeks. Gene Edward Veith’s book, God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life, helps parents to better understand and be equipped to discuss the meaning of vocation with their teens.
Utilizing these ideas will channel your teen’s energies into exploring possible career options while removing the pressure to make life decisions in a vacuum. Your teen will gain confidence by discovering those occupations that are well suited to his skills, academic abilities, and personality.
Photo Credit: Graphic Design by Charity Klicka