How to Get Teens Interested in Career Exploration

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Get Teens Interested in Career Exploration

How to Get Teens Interested in Career Exploration

How to Get Teens Interested in Career Exploration

Teens have a lot of pressure on them:

  • Building a strong transcript for college, military and/or career
  • Developing strong adulting skills to help them live life successfully
  • Experiencing the things teens need as part of adolescent development:
    • Friendships
    • Field trips
    • Service
    • Community
    • Fun

However, it would be a shame for them to graduate from their wonderful homeschool high school and not have a clue about what careers or plans they need to have for the future. It is challenging how to figure out ways to help them prepare for a career.

So, let’s talk about how to get teens interested in Career Exploration!

Vicki always tells teens that it is not likely that they will know their entire future when they graduate high school. However, they will feel better if they have a clue about what comes next career-wise. After all, it is easier to turn a moving vehicle than a parked one. And it is easier to pivot career-orientation when they are working towards SOMETHING than it is to churn up some momentum if they are simply stuck.

On the other hand, we do not want to put too much pressure or too many guilt trips on them. It is a balance for us homeschooling parents!

Here are some tips to spark interest in Career Exploration

There’s not ONE right way to get teens oriented towards a career mindset. However, here are some ways to create a fertile environment for growth in that direction.

Build some extra enrichment into homeschooling high school

We know this can be a challenge for families with multiple kids and/or working parents. However, when you frame enrichment as experiences that help build lifelong bonds and healthy mindsets, it is easier to view the short-term busyness as long-term investment.

Enrichment that actually helps build a career-exploration orientation include:

Field trips for the family (co-op field trips count, too)

Plan for field trips to:

  • Favorite family locations
  • Brand-new places or events
  • Places or events that co-ordinate with History, Literature or Science class

The point of field trips is not to define a career at the moment. Rather, it is to get the creative and future-oriented parts of the brain activated. When we have too much routine, routine, routine, those parts of the brain do not work well. When that part of the brain does not work well, it is hard to imagine a future career and healthy lifestyle.

Not only that, but you can log all those hours for credit on the transcript. (Here is a post about logging hours for credit.)

Tips to remember about field trips:

  • Freebie events count!
  • It does not have to be interesting to be useful
    • (a rotten field trip gives teens something to talk about AND knocks that off the potential career list- both are valuable)

Watch movies about interesting people

Watching stories about people in different careers helps exercise the creative and future-oriented parts of the brain. This helps teens imagine and think about their own futures, even when they have no wish or talent to go into the career that is shown on the movie. This kind of enrichment is not only interesting but can be inspiring, also.

A few movies about people with various careers:

Not only that, but you can log all those hours for credit on the transcript. (Here is another post about logging Career Exploration hours for credit.)

Do volunteer work in various areas

Explore various one-off and long-period volunteer and service opportunities. Think about:

  • Joining the church worship teen
  • Helping with sound system or nursery at church
  • Give time at the local food bank or church food pantry
  • Visit folks at the local nursing home
  • Volunteer at a local ministry or non-profit
  • Join a local park clean-up day
  • Rake leaves or weed for the elderly folks nearby
  • Do repair work or babysit for single moms
  • Raising service dogs
  • More ideas in this interview about volunteer opportunities with Ticia Messing

Volunteering also helps exercise the creative and future-oriented parts of the brain! Not only that, but you can log all those service hours on the transcript. (Here is a post explaining how to record service on the transcript.)

When possible, arrange for teens to have a chat with various folks about different jobs

You can make this a formal part of Career Exploration credit on the transcript. (Remember to log the time.)

Give teens job descriptions for the various jobs you have had or had

At family gatherings, ask grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for job descriptions (along with what they like and do not like about their jobs)

If there are friends or folks at church who are willing, ask for a fifteen-minute interview where they share their job descriptions (along with what they like and do not like about their jobs)

Be sure to have your teen write a thank you note and maybe take some cookies as a thank you!

Again, these are not locking teens into a career but giving them career experiences. These will help give teens a realistic look at the job-lifestyle.

Take a Career Exploration course

There are lots of them around. Of course, we are partial to 7Sisters Career Exploration Bundle where teens learn about the importance of their:

  • Life experiences
  • Role models
  • Gifts/talents
  • Values
  • Interests
  • Resources

Once teens get started on Career Exploration as a course, they often begin to get bought into getting interested and involved.

Find an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships look powerful on the transcript and give teens a solid look at a career interest. Some apprenticeships our teens have done:

Apprenticeships often eliminate job interests (which is a good idea) OR open doors for networking and building the next career experience.

Usually parents need to make apprenticeships happen: networking and arranging. This is because teens do not at first have the experience or interests on creating first job experiences. However, they often start taking on the next steps once they get started.

Take a course that counts as Career Exploration

For instance, if your homeschool high schooler is interested in Psychology, a Psych course counts as Career Exploration! Here’s a list of courses that count as Career Exploration.

Get more ideas is our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group!

You can do this! Join Vicki for a discussion on how to get teens interested in Career Exploration.

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Helping Teens Discover Their Star, Interview with Anita Gibson

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Helping Teens Discover Their Star, Interview with Anita Gibson.

Helping Teens Discover Their Star, Interview with Anita Gibson

Helping Teens Discover Their Star, Interview with Anita Gibson

We love having our dear friend, Anita Gibson, on the podcast. When Vicki first read her book, Starfinder, she knew she found a kindred spirit. SO she loves connecting with her again.

Anita and her husband homeschooled their children all the way to graduation. That was over twenty years of homeschooling! She is now a Titus 2 woman- a woman who invests in the next generation of homeschooling families to give them confidence and success. Anita is now serving with encouragement in her:

Anita believes in holding hands and calming hearts and helping moms know they CAN homeschool high school!

Vicki asked Anita to discuss her wonderful book, Starfinder, with us so that we can help teens discover their stars. The book came out of her experience homeschooling one of her kids. Her daughter was experiencing difficulties learning so Anita wanted to figure out what to do with that.

As she prayed and watched her daughter, she found that even the things that we slow or irritating about her personality and learning style were actually little nuggets of the giftings that God had placed in her.

Anita decided that she needed to become a star finder for her daughter.

In fact, every child has a star! Homeschooling parents’ most wonderful job is becoming star finders!

STAR is actually an acronym for:

  • S: Strengths
  • T: Talents
  • A: Abilities
  • R: Resources

Every child has those four things. As parents discover their own ability to be their child’s advocate and champion, they can help their kids discover their STARS! Anita’s book, therefore, helps parents get themselves into the right position mentally, emotionally and spiritually so they can lead that child into their STAR-ness.

Anita has this advice for parents:

It’s not about perfection… It’s about perspective!

It's not about perfection... It's about perspective!

In order to help teens find their stars, parents need to be aware of themselves, too!

For instance, it is easy for us to feel inadequate as homeschooling parents when we look at how other parents homeschool their teens. When we start comparing ourselves to others we forget that:

All we are and all we are not, is exactly what is needed for our teen in this season. There is nothing else that you need to be in order to homeschool your teens!

So, as you plan your homeschool high school, remember that your homeschool is a blending of who you are as a parent and who your teens are. The blending together makes your homeschool look exactly what it should be. (Thus, if you try to do what others are doing, you are missing the beauty of what God has created your homeschool to be.)

Remember: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school!

Therefore, we should not try to have someone else’s “perfect homeschool”. In fact, there is no such thing as a perfect homeschool!

How do we go about helping our teens find their star?

Start with a Scripture. Anita has a guiding Scripture in Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice.

Start with a perspective of rejoicing in the Lord. When you are calibrated to looking to God for joy, you will have more strength to see the stars in your life and your teens’ lives.

Philippians 4:6,7

Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind through Christ Jesus.

When you find yourself anxious about your ability to homeschool high school, make the request for help known to God. It is okay to be honest with Him. Over time, we will start to see that peace in our hearts. That makes us more available to our teens to find their stars.

As we step into the process of Star Finding, we find that we are stepping into the process of developing who WE are created to be.

Then we discover that we can help our teens through the process of finding their star. You will grow together. God’s grace in and you will grow, also.

Know the thing that irritates you most about your teens is probably part of STAR

Spot what is the nugget inside those behaviors. For instance, a teen who talks ALL the time, may be called to be a speaker. Or a child that takes everything apart, might become an engineer. Therefore, give them opportunities to channel and challenge those “skills”!

For instance, Anita has a daughter that talked ALL the time. Anita recognized that as a star so began to give her opportunities to develop her speaking skills through drama programs, Toastmasters, training in several world languages, and family “talk time”. That daughter is now in the diplomatic corps in the State Department.

Go on LOTS of field trips

The field trips do not always need to be interesting. However, in experiencing lots of field trips, teens often discover interests and even, abilities.

Try on some different lessons, even if they do not stick with it:

  • Piano or other music lessons
  • Art lessons
  • An unusual sport

Look ways to connect or learn about other cultures

You can do this with:

  • Field trips
  • Books
  • Movies
  • Restaurants

Here are some tools to help:

Clifton Strengthsfinder (for teens and for parents)

Check out our other discussions with Anita Gibson:

Join Vicki and Anita for an encouraging discussion on helping teens find their star!

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How to Help Teens Explore Interests, Interview with Samantha Shank

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Help Teens Explore Interests.

How to Help Teens Explore Interests. Samantha Shank of LearnInColor.com shares her story of developing her interests and goals in homeschool high school. #HomeschoolHighSchool #CareerExploration #SamanthaShank #LearnInColor #ExploringInterestsForTeens

How to Help Teens Explore Interests

One of the most important tasks for homeschool high schoolers is learning about themselves so that they can fulfill who God created them to be. Vicki is joined by our friend, Samantha Shank of Learn in Color and the Learn in Color Podcast  for a lively discussion about the ways she explored her interests and learned to be an entrepreneur while homeschooling. You don’t want to miss this episode!

Samantha is the oldest of her six siblings, all homeschooled for at least part of their educations. Her parents were working parents who allowed and encouraged Samantha to explore interests. One of her earliest interests was history. As early as fourth grade, Samantha was impacted by the tragedies of the Holocaust. The more she learned about it, the more she wanted to share with others.

She started blogging when she was 14 years old and developed an audience among homeschooling families. She began sharing resources and ideas for teaching World War II, the Holocaust and other history topics.

While still in high school, Samantha started exploring the ideas of entrepreneurship. During her mornings, she would attend community networking meetings and learned about business from business people.

Today, Samantha is a college graduate who is a full-time entrepreneur. She creates curriculum supplements at LearnInColor.com such as:

Make time for teens to explore interests and ideas. It's good education. #HomeschoolHighSchool #CareerExploration #InterestDevelopmentForTeens #HealthyAdolescence

During her homeschool high years, Samantha learned how to explore interests by:

Exploring rabbit trails

When Samantha had a random thought or was curious about something that was inspired by what was learning, her parents encouraged her to stop and explore that idea. This required the courage to set aside curriculum for a while and allow her to research these interests.

*Advice for Homeschool Moms: Try not to be overly bound to the curriculum and syllabus. We all know our homeschool high schoolers must complete their credits for graduation, but we also want to them discover who God made them to be. That often comes in the off-curriculum explorations in life.

Asking questions

Do not be afraid of questions. Take time to research the questions, explore options and idea. This takes time, but finding some answers gave Samantha the ability to take next steps as she explored her interests.

This might take the form of doing interviews. Samantha frequently met with business owners and interviewed them for their entrepreneurial stories.

Sharing what she learned

Samantha shared on her blog. Homeschool high schoolers can share what they learn as they explore their interests on their own blogs or with co-op, family and friends.

*Advice: Trust your trustworthy teens. Samantha’s parents were trusting of Samantha to get her work done.

*Advice: Prepare to be busy. Samantha’s parents were willing to drive Samantha to interviews and experiences. They believed in her and God’s plans for her.

*Advice: Avoided helicopter parenting. Don’t run the show for your homeschool high schoolers. Let them do the exploring. (Check out this HSHSP episode on Heavy Equipment Mothering.)

Finding networks

Samantha found KidBlogger network which also helped her grow her blogging skills and influence.

Learning to set goals

Samantha developed the goal to graduate from college debt free. She realized her blogging business could help with that but that she should diversify her income streams. She looked into college scholarships for her academics (she had good SAT scores) and also found beauty pageants (we’ll talk about that on another podcast interview later).

Showing interests on the transcript

Her advice: Take college choice seriously. Look into college search and majors and spend some time on it. (Download this freebie from Vicki’s Coaching website about choosing college majors and check out our blogpost on starting college search.)

Working hard

Samantha graduated college in two and a half years. She pushed because she wanted to stay debt-free taking 17-24 credits at a time, with some of those online at another college. She kept her goals in mind and worked hard.

In her homeschooling high school years, Samantha also worked hard doing several things:

  • Managed Pinterest accounts for bloggers (Samantha began doing this at 15 years old)
  • Create content for other bloggers (Samantha designed products and wrote for other bloggers from high school and through college)
  • Kept up her blogging and networking

Building relationships

Samantha chose well for her goals with her small college. She was able to communicate with her professors and had good mentoring relationships with them. She was open about her goals and work schedule. Often, they could work with her to help her achieve her goals.

Join Vicki and Samantha Shank for a fun episode on helping teens explore their interests.

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How to Help Teens Explore Interests

HSHSP Ep 186: Careers that Don’t Require College, Interview with Susan Stewart

This week on HSHSP Ep 186: Careers that Don’t Require College, Interview with Susan Stewart.

HSHSP Ep 186: Careers that Don't Require College, Interview with Susan Stewart. Some teens are not college-bound. Help them make the most of career exploration with this discussion of careers that don't require college. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #CareerExploration #CareersThatDontRequireCollege #NonCollegeBoundTeens #SusanStewart

HSHSP Ep 186: Careers that Don’t Require College, Interview with Susan Stewart

God creates all kinds of children. All kinds of children develop all kinds of interests and giftings. We need to make sure that teens are not pressured into going to college if their callings include careers that do not need a college degree. Why waste talent, time and money on that?

One our of favorite topics at 7SistersHomeschool.com is Career Exploration (in fact, our Career Exploration Bundle is one of our top sellers), so Vicki was really excited to be joined for this HSHSP episode by Susan Stewart of Practical Inspirations. Susan serves the homeschool community as advisor and blogger (and now has a book: Harried Homeschoolers). She has three homeschool graduates who are all doing well careers and life. None of them have college degrees.

Here are thoughts from our discussion on careers that don’t require college.

Susan starts off with a little encouragement for homeschool moms:

  • Things aren’t perfect
  • Things fall apart sometimes
  • You are not a failure because of that
  • We are not God, he has simply given you the job of raising his kids
  • God has made you enough for what he has given you

Susan and her husband did not have the homeschool goal of raising kids who go to college. Their goal was training Godly adults. So they concentrated on life skills and teaching to their homeschoolers’ needs and interests.

Susan reminds us: Not all teens are called to go to college!

Redefine success. We can fall into the trap that in order to be successful, our teens must earn a four-year degree. That is not true. Success is growing and fulfilling God’s plans!

Susan reminds us that her three kids learned that their career callings did not need college degrees. Her husband is an electrician and so her kids knew by watching their dad that career satisfaction comes from a satisfactory career, not necessarily a college degree!

  • Her kids were tired of education so graduated and just “got a job”. Her daughter got a job with a tech company and is now in management, climbing the ladder.
  • One son had some learning difficulties. He tried photography but decided he loved repairing mechanical instruments. His trouble shooting skills have made him valuable to his company.
  • One son started out in the Marines. After his stint, he made the most of his love of travel by becoming an over-the-road truck driver. He loves earning a living by doing the thing he loves: seeing America.

Susan says: We homeschoolers need to remember not be snobs about jobs. If a job is honorable and fits a person’s needs, it is a good job.

We homeschoolers need to remember not be snobs about jobs. If a job is honorable and fits a person's needs, it is a good job.

Because her older homeschool high schoolers were not interested in college, Susan invested in her children with some life preparation skills and experiences which included:

  • Part-time jobs (watering plants at a local plan nursery). Began resume building
  • Service opportunities (they did Meals on Wheels, library volunteer)
  • Job application skills (resume, interview skills, filling out application- especially answering short essay questions)
  • Financial Literacy
  • Community involvement (they did theater and other community activities)

Susan’s homeschool graduates have found that these extracurricular activities on the high school transcript can be as important (or even more important) in early employment opportunities.

Sometimes there is some discussion on whether homeschooling families should bother with an official transcript and diploma. Susan felt like it was a good investment for her teens. Vicki pointed out that sometimes employers want to see the transcript and/or diploma. This is also true sometimes when getting a passport or college applications,  if they decide to go to college later.

What are some careers that don’t require college?

Careers that don’t require college: Trades

  • Training can include:
    • Union courses
    • Apprenticeships
    • Classes at local community college
  • Carpenter
  • Welders
  • Surveyors
  • HVAC
  • Mail carriers
  • Railroad workers
  • Masons
  • Heavy equipment operators
  • Truck drivers
  • Painters
  • Steel workers
  • Construction contractors
  • Line workers
  • Electricians

Careers that don’t require college: Service

  • Training can include
    • Apprenticeships
    • Special courses
    • Classes at local community college
  • Cosmetologists
  • Barbers
  • Dog groomers and trainers

Careers that don’t require college: Technology

This field is growing so quickly, there is no way to keep up with the job descriptions. Here’s a try:

  • Training can include
    • Apprenticeships
    • Special courses
    • Classes at local community college
  • Computer-user support
  • Junior data analyst
  • Digital marketer
  • Podcast and digital media editor
  • Web developer

Careers that don’t require college: Arts

  • Training can include
    • Apprenticeships
    • Classes at local community college
  • Photography
  • Local dance teachers

Careers that don’t require college: Retail, Food Service and Banking

  • Training can include:
    • Learning hands-on
    • Avail themselves of free training within the corporation
    • Taking courses on MOOCs such as EdX

Careers that don’t require college: Fitness and Personal Training

  • Training can include:
    • Training schools
    • Apprenticeships

Careers that don’t require college: Real Estate

  • Training can include:
    • Courses from various agencies

Careers that don’t require college: Law Enforcement

  • Training includes:
    • Specialized academies

Careers that don’t require college: Military

  • Here are Susan’s suggestions for the military:
    • Develop a military-attractive transcript like she did for her son who started out in the Marines:
    • Civil Air Patrol in high school.
    • Talk to recruiter. Take the ASVAB military career test (not a test that can be failed, simply identifies best-fits for military careers).
    • Susan suggests for teens who don’t have a clue what they want to do be sure to do after graduation take a GAP year:

Careers that don’t require college: Gap Year

Some teens need a year to transition from homeschooling high school before they settle into seriously thinking about a career. Here are some of Susan’s suggestions for a gap year:

  • Get an entry-level job
  • Travel
  • Do short-term missions
  • Volunteer in a local ministry or organization

Want some more ideas about homeschooling high schoolers who are not called to go to college? Check out these HSHSP episodes:

Join Vicki and Susan for this encouraging episode and check out Susan’s resources.

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HSHSP Ep 180: Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum

This week on HSHSP Ep 180: Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum.

Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum. Combine Career Exploration and Language Arts for a meaningful, life-changing English credit for the homeschool transcript. #HomeschoolHighSchool #CareerExploration #HomeschoolLanguageArts #HighSchoolEnglishCredit #HomeschoolHighschoolPodcast

 

HSHSP Ep 180: Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum

In Vicki’s years as a homeschool advisor and career coach, one of the saddest things she has watched is the stress that 11th and 12th graders often feel if they are not settled on what they are going to do when they graduate. Do you have a teen like that? It’s okay. There are non-intimidating ways to help them explore.

High schoolers really need to do LOTS of career exploration. This is especially true when they are not sure what they want to do for a college major or career. The problem for many homeschool high schoolers is that their schedules are packed. Often their core academics and transcript-building extracurriculars leave them little time to squeeze in something as nebulous as official Career Exploration.

So, let’s talk practical. One practical way of helping Career Exploration happen for your teens who are not sure about their future careers, is integrating it into their academic curriculum.

That’s right! Combine Career Exploration and academics and help your teens earn doubly useful credits.

Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum

Let’s take Language Arts as an example of a great place to combine Career Exploration and a core academic. It is an interesting, useful (and maybe even fun) way to handle one year’s Language Arts.

Here is a way to combine the Career Exploration with the Literature and Writing components of the yearly Language Arts credit. (Want more information on what is included in a complete high school Language Arts credit? Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode.)

Combine Career Exploration and Language Arts for a life-changing homeschool transcript credit.

Language Arts and Career Exploration combined: Literature experiences

When combining Literature and Career Exploration, keep in mind this principle. Teens should be exposed to LOTS of different careers and role models, even those they wouldn’t be interested in at all. This broad understanding of the idea that there are lots of different opportunities helps prepare their brains for exploring career ideas.

Read some biographies. Any biography is good, even if it is not a career your teen will ever do. (For reluctant readers, think about audiobooks.)

Some of 7Sisters’ homeschool high schoolers’ favorites have been:

  • Joni
  • God’s Smuggler
  • Something Beautiful for God

Homeschool high schoolers are not usually called to be saints or Bible smugglers or evangelists with a disability but any biography a teen reads will expand their thoughts about the ways God uses extraordinary circumstances and ordinary people in those circumstances.

Read some books to help homeschool high schoolers understand themselves

Some good books on self understanding include:

  • What Color is my Parachute for Teens by Carol Christen and Richard Bolles (career interests)
  • Emotional Intelligence 2:0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves (emotional awareness)
  • The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile

Audiobook versions are good for books like these sometimes. Remember: Any book your homeschool high schoolers read can go on their booklist! (Ever wonder how many books your teens should read at different ages, goals and abilities? Here’s a post to help you decide.)

Language Arts and Career Exploration combined: Writing experiences

Homeschool high schoolers need to do a fair amount of writing each year, including at least one research paper and some essays. (For guidelines on how many papers teens should write according to age, interests and abilities, check out this post.)

First, have your homeschool high schoolers do some personality tests.

This will give them some good *research* on themselves! If you go to Vicki’s coaching website, you can download a freebie: Personal Discovery Links. These are free versions of a number of serious (and not so serious) personality tests. If your teens are limited in their time, have them do the first test (a free version of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Vicki’s favorite personality test) and the last two tests (both are career interest surveys). Find the links at VickiTillmanCoaching.com

Now, take the personality test results, use these in writing essays and a research paper.

Choose the research paper style that suits your teens needs. Here’s a post that will help you decide between

  • APA research paper
  • Chicago-style research paper
  • MLA research paper

You can also have your homeschool high schoolers visit these websites and investigate different careers.

  • They can choose four or five interesting-sounding careers and write a page or two on each for a research paper titled something like: Interesting Career Ideas.
  • Or a 5-paragraph essay on each career they looked at.
  • These are the websites:
  • CareerOneStop.org This is US Department of Labor’s website that tells:
    • Job descriptions
    • Videos
  • BigFuture at College Board

You can also have your homeschool high schoolers do career shadowing or interviews with people in different jobs.

  • Write a 5 paragraph essay about each.
  • Write an end of the year wrap-up essay about themselves.

You can all the course: Career Exploration Language Arts or Language Arts 9 (or 10 or 11 or 12)

HSHSP Ep 180: Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum

HSHSP Ep 179: Career Coaching with Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Jamie Beck

This week on HSHSP Ep 179: Career Coaching with Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Jamie Beck.

HSHSP Ep 179: Career Coaching with Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Jamie Beck. Informative Career Exploration interview with ideas for homeschool moms to help teens make realistic choices. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolCareerExploration #CareerCoachingIdeasForTeens #HomeschoolHighSchool

HSHSP Ep 179: Career Coaching with Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Jamie Beck

As many homeschool families know by now, 7Sister Vicki LOVES career exploration. She is joined today by Jamie Beck a homeschooling mom and career coach in California.

Jamie homeschools her 12 year old through a charter school in California. She also has an elementary-aged son in traditional school, which shows that there’s not ONE right way to homeschool…even if it is in a traditional school setting 😉

Jamie decided to homeschool and started teaching Career Education when her daughter was 2 and a half year old. She started by creating a children’s book, which did not do financially well. She felt it was a failure but she used the failure, not as defeat, but to give herself impetus to develop a Career Exploration program for young people. (See links at the end of the post.)

Jamie’s top piece of advice is to tweak how you teach your kids to talk about careers. Teach them to say:

  • “When I grow up I want to work with…” rather than “When I grow up I want to be a… ”
    • Children are conditioned by society to think that career is identity. Jamie feels this limits their options and creative thinking about career. “Working with” keeps options and creativity open.

She wants young people to explore LOTS of careers: Aou can never have a career you don’t know exists.

  • She teaches 5 jobs a day from childhood. She does this informally, through conversation and exposure to different careers.

For Career Exploration Jamie recommends that homeschooling parents help their homeschool high schoolers to be:

  • Involved in interests, at home and in classes or interest groups
  • Explore different practical skills (hands-on and other life skills)
  • Learn networking skills (Download Vicki’s Confidence for Meeting New People Skills freebie)
  • Learn advocacy skills (how to ask for what you want or need)
  • Learn financial and business skills (oh my, don’t miss this! Download 7Sisters popular Financial Literacy course)
  • Teaching teaching experiences, give them experiences in training younger siblings, friends, classes (think preschool at church)
  • Join various groups. (Jamie’s daughter is active in drama and 4H)
  • Volunteer with various career interests
  • Shadow and interview people in various careers
  • Discuss why teens are interested in various careers. Ie, if it is an interest in being a doctor, as you explore you might find that they hate blood but they like to help people. Maybe other helping professions like counseling will help.
  • Build an experiential resume starting 8th or 9th grade. Keep it ongoing. Download 7Sisters How to Write an Experiential Resume and keep it going.
  • Have LOTS of experiences!!
    • Experiences are truly one of the best ways to weed out or strengthen career interests. Jamie tells the story of her daughter wanting to be an archeologist until she spent the day with a group digging for sharks’ teeth. After a day of 101 degree heat, her daughter eliminated that career choice.

Jamie is now a career coach who speaks in libraries doing workshops in libraries. She also gives Brain Sorting Assessment, it helps them sort out their TRUE interests from what they randomly think their interests might be. The Brain Sort asks things like:

  • What’s on internet browser history
  • If they say they want to be an engineer, but they never explore STEM information. It makes you interested?
  • What are the various interests about the setting, skills, training of careers of interest
  • Where would you donate a million dollars?
  • What does that tells your teen?
  • What do you save up money for?
  • What do you buy?
  • What do you collect?
  • What are your habits?

Jamie says: Teens are going to be working and sleeping for 50 years, so they need an amazing mattress and an amazing job.

Teens are going to be working and sleeping for 50 years, so they need an amazing mattress and an amazing job. Teens are going to be working and sleeping for 50 years, so they need an amazing mattress and an amazing job- Jamie Beck during interview on Homeschool Highschool Podcast. How parents can be career coaches for their teens' Career Exploration program.

Vicki was so excited to talk to Jamie because of their shared love of Career Exploration. Jamie’s passion for helping teens understand themselves and truly explore best-fits is a hallmark of a true Career Coach.

As you know, 7SistersHomeschool.com has lots of articles on Career Exploration for homeschool highschoolers as well as our popular Career Exploration course.

To find Jamie, CareerVisionByJamie.com. Check out her resources and her Brain Sort. She helps match teens and colleges. She also hosts Career Vision Minute on Facebook.

HSHSP Ep 179: Career Coaching with Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Jamie Beck

HSHSP Ep 173: Career Pathways for Homeschool High School

This week on HSHSP Ep 173: Career Pathways for Homeschool High School.

HSHSP Ep 173: Career Pathways for Homeschool High School. Career Exploration gets a boost with Career Pathways. Here's how to give your homeschool high schooler a head start on what comes after graduation. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolHighSchool #CareerExploration #CareerPathways #PreparationForLife

HSHSP Ep 173: Career Pathways for Homeschool High School

How do you help your homeschool high schoolers be best prepared for what comes AFTER they graduate?

There are 2 career-related experiences they really should do:

  • Career Exploration: This is a course that helps teens explore their talents, strengths, interests, abilities, experiences and values to help them narrow down career possibilities.
  • Career Pathways: These are the courses that your homeschool high schooler will do that help prepare them for their future careers or college-majors.

Join Vicki and our wonderful guests: 7Sister Marilyn and our friend, Barb Varnell. You know them from our How to Get Started Homeschooling High School suite of episodes:

Barb has also given us great advice on homeschooling high school with intellectually gifted teens. She’s also a PhD chemist, so she and her daughter join Vicki for a fascinating discussion about whether you can be a scientist and a creationist at the same time.

Marilyn and Barb serve the local homeschool umbrella school as academic advisors. (Vicki retired from the academic advisor role there after 18 years.) They help homeschooling high schoolers have a successful high school experience and  prepare for what they’ll do after graduation. They meet several times a year with teens and their parents to set their goals for high school, career and life. An important part of their discussions are about what teens are doing for their Career Exploration until they clarify some goals (as much as a teen can know). Then they help teens develop their Career Pathways goals that will help you prepare for career or college major.

To get started on Career Exploration, check out this comprehensive post on getting started.

  • Log hours doing various *explorations* and a course to earn a credit for the homeschool transcript.

Career Pathways: These are the courses that your homeschool high schooler will do that help prepare them for their future careers or college-major. Build upon good Career Exploration for great transcripts and life-preparation experiences.

Today, we want to discuss, Career Pathways. Homeschool High Schoolers, here’s some great advice:

Insider tip from Barb: For college-bound teens, develop Career Pathways credits, extracurriculars, competitions and service to make you stand out from the crowd. You want colleges to not only like you, but like you enough to give you money to come.

Career-bound AND College-bound teens:

Want some wise advice, Homeschool Graduates? Don't lose your transcript and don't lose your diploma.

Special advice for 9th and 10th graders:

  • Start keeping track of things to put on your experiential resume because you’re going to forget by the time you get to senior year.
  • Think about what they need to be working on for their core academics (if they are interested in STEM but are behind in
  • Explore interests if they have no clue
  • If interested in military, try a quirky language for your World Language credits. That will make they stand out when they meet with recruiters.
  • Find a couple of extracurriculars you can do each year. Colleges often want to see an ability to stick to an interest, project or organization. (Some college applications only ask which extracurriculars you have been involved in for 2 years or more.)
  • Check out CareerOneStop.org and see what the employment outlook for that job (will there be jobs)
  • Take a class outside home when you can. (This gives you a person who can write an academic recommendation.) Barb notes that some colleges want this recommendation needs to come from a teacher at their *school*. One college has asked for a recommendation from an upperclassman English teacher, SO make sure you have explored the college’s requirements not just for entrance but for their major. Barb gives the example of an art student who got lots of scholarship money based on her portfolio
    • Show up to class on time
    • Do the work
    • Have a great attitude

Ninth graders sometimes don’t like to think about all this, so be gracious. By the time they are in 10th grade they really need to do some gentle thinking about the future.

Advice to parents:

Remember to allow your homeschool high schoolers to have TIME to do all this Career Pathways work.

  • Barb and Marilyn have found that sometimes parents avoid Career Pathways involvements for their teens because:
    • They are worried core academics won’t get done
    • They are exhausted and don’t have time or energy to drive their teens all over the place

Want some specific ideas for Career Pathways opportunities?

  • Engineering: Volunteer for an engineering professor
  • Business: Work in family business
  • Auto mechanics: Help in the office
  • Other trades: Talk to the local union, take some community courses, shadow someone in that area.
  • Counseling: Get HIPAA training, do some clerking
  • Pre-vet: Volunteer at non-profit clinics or vet office. Shadow a vet. (Barb’s daughter who is now a vet
  • Music education: Volunteer for a local music education teacher, give lessons, get involved in local college community music programs
  • Medical programs: Volunteer at the local hospital

Want more great ideas for developing your homeschool high schoolers’ Career Pathways credits. Listen to this HSHSP interview with Barb’s daughter, Sarah, who is now a large-animal veterinarian.

Join Vicki, Marilyn and Barb for an informative discussion on Career Pathways!


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

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Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Click here to learn more!


HSHSP Ep 173: Career Pathways for Homeschool High School

HSHSP Ep 148: Coding for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Paul Drake

This week on HSHSP Ep 148: Coding for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Paul Drake.

HSHSP Ep 148: Coding for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Paul Drake of Code Apprentice. Teens can learn employable coding skills during high school with training and one-on-one mentors.

HSHSP Ep 148: Coding for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Paul Drake

Paul Drake of Code Apprentice joins Vicki for a discussion on ways to introduce your homeschool high schoolers to coding, and to bring them to expertise level.

Paul is a homeschool graduate. He homeschooled all the way through, including co-ops during high school. Paul’s mother believed that it was important to explore interests, so when he asked to explore website building. His mother hopped on it and found experiences for him.

Paul got his introduction to website building from his dad. His dad introduced Paul to John at Samaritan’s Purse, who became his mentor. Paul did a lot of his own personal training, but John inspired him and opened doors for him to work at Samaritan’s Purse as soon as he graduated from homeschooling.

Teens need to learn to network! Paul can attest to that. His experiences with networking made his after-high-school success possible. Paul points out that homeschooling high school set him up for confident networking because homeschool teens are not age-group isolated, but are often having chances to chat with others

  • Talk to people older than you
  • Spend time in different organizations (volunteering, asking questions)

Paul reminds us: You can absolutely get a job in tech without having to go to college and get a degree. 

You absolutely can get a job in tech without going to college and getting a degree. Paul Drake of Code Apprentice tells how to develop employable coding skills.

There is greater demand for coders than there is supply. If you have built a portfolio in high school, you will be attractive to companies that need skilled coders.

Paul organization, Code Apprentice, helps teens build their coding skills, create portfolios AND work one-on-one with an expert mentor. Parents get progress reports and grades so that the training can be recorded on the transcript. Perfect for homeschool high schoolers!

Important goals of Code Apprentice is students obtain a *full stack coding education* and create an *end-to-end application* as they progress semester through semester during high school. Student develop a portfolio through project-based learning that makes them highly employable!

There are many resources for learning coding, Paul says coding training is available at:

  • Code Apprentice
  • Coding bootcamps
  • Co-op classes
  • Online courses
  • Mentoring experiences
  • Community college classes

Contact Paul Drake at info@CodeApprentice.tech

Visit CodeApprentice.tech for more information.

Join Vicki and Paul for an enlightening conversation.

Get more Career Exploration information in these episodes of Homeschool Highschool Podcast:

Career Exploration for Teens who Love Everything

Career Exploration for Teens who Don’t Have a Clue

You’ll also be blessed by these posts:

Homeschool Career Exploration: 5 Steps to Help Teens Find Purpose

Homeschool Career Exploration: Discovering Interests and Skills

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Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Bright Ideas Press

Homeschool moms are busy! Bright Ideas Press gets that. And that’s why, for over 25 years, we have promised to publish Christian-oriented homeschool curriculum that will fit your family—curriculum that is both affordable and easy-to-use with children of different ages and learning styles at the same time. Curriculum that busy Moms love!

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HSHSP Ep 148: Coding for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Paul Drake

HSHSP Ep 124: Homeschool Graduate Becomes a Teacher, Interview with Rebekah Groop

This week on HSHSP Ep 124: Homeschool Graduate Becomes a Teacher, Interview with Rebekah Groop!

HSHSP Ep 124: Homeschool Graduate Becomes a Teacher, Interview with Rebekah Groop #CareerExploration #HomeschoolHighSchool

HSHSP Ep 124: Homeschool Graduate Becomes a Teacher, Interview with Rebekah Groop

Rebekah *Bekah* Groop is a homeschool graduate. She is also a second grade teacher in a public school. She is married and a mom to her first child. (She is also Sabrina’s daughter and is married to 7Sister Marilyn’s son, Casey!) In this episode, Sabrina interviews Bekah on homeschooling and teaching.

Rebekah Groop and family used by permission.

Rebekah Groop and family used by permission.

During homeschool high school Bekah liked:

Her homeschooling format (co-ops, group classes, activities)

  • Time with friends
  • Time to develop interests and talents
  • Developing independent learning skills
  • Developing important life skills
  • Learning how to own her goals and meet them: The right to *fly or fail*
  • Flexibility

Bekah homeschooled K-12 then went to Towson University for college. During high school, she switched major ideas several times: Veterinary Science (she loves animals), Music (she assisted the local homeschool high school choir and loved it). She learned leadership and teaching skills through her assistant role which led her to think about education.

Bekah went to Towson with a double major in elementary education and deaf education. She ended up teaching 2nd grade in the Baltimore County school systems.

What are some educational ideas she learned in college that she found she had a foundation for in high school?

  • Differentiation: What do kids need? (Bekah’s experience homeschooling helped her with that.)
  • Lesson Planning.
  • Hands on learning.

Her advice for homeschool moms:

  • Lesson Plans: Keep it quick. Lessons need to be in 3 minute chunks with a clear, simple idea.
  • Include hands on activities.
  • Make real-world connections.
  • Give teens a voice in their education.

How much should moms test or do evaluations? We can forget to enjoy if we test too much, but it is good to get a feel for what kids are learning. It is good to assess their progress. Bekah found that short *mini-assessments* frequently through a subject in a creative format are helpful. Some ideas for quick mini-assessments:

  • a few multiple-choice questions or a quick essay question
  • a discussion
  • a white-board activity
  • a quick project

Want Bekah’s suggestion for homeschool high schoolers who might be interested in teaching?

Early Childhood Education High School Elective 7SistersHomeschool.com

Click image to find out about this high school elective.

  • High school elective: Early Childhood Education
  • Teach them how to advocate for themselves
  • Teach them how to make their voice heard
  • Teach them to visit professors during office hours (if they go to college)

Join Sabrina and Bekah for an encouraging interview and enjoy these resources and posts:

HSHSP Ep 92: Helping Literal Thinkers with Literature Analysis

An Authoritative Guide on How to Homeschool High School

HSHSP Ep 124: Homeschool Graduate Becomes a Teacher, Interview with Rebekah Groop

HSHSP Ep 122: Homeschooler Becomes a Veterinarian, Interview with Dr. Sarah Varnell

This week on HSHSP Ep 122: Homeschooler Becomes a Veterinarian, Interview with Dr. Sarah Varnell.

HSHSP Ep 122: Homeschooler Becomes a Veterinarian, Interview with Dr. Sarah Varnell

HSHSP Ep 122: Homeschooler Becomes a Veterinarian, Interview with Dr. Sarah Varnell

Dr. Sarah Varnell is a veterinarian near Cincinnati, OH. Homeschooled through high school, Sarah studies zoology at undergraduate level, went to veterinarian school and now specializes in equine medicine: a homeschooler becomes a veterinarian!

How did Sarah handle her time in high school so that she was college ready for a science like zoology?

Academics for Sarah were heavy in the maths and sciences, both textbook-wise but also hands on!

Dr. Sarah Varnell. Photo used with permission.

Dr. Sarah Varnell. Photo used with permission.

Heavy Sciences on the transcript, completed at honors level:

  • Biology in 8th grade
  • Zoology
  • Chemistry
  • Advanced Chemistry
  • Physics

Volunteering, MANY hours:

  • Horse rescue
  • Brandywine Zoo (snake handler who walked around the zoo carrying a snake for visitors to meet)
  • Teaching at a Christian summer camp that specializes in horses (she was also a camper there when she was a child)

Shadowing, MANY hours:

  • Small animal veterinarian (this steered her away from small animals because Sarah likes being out and about, not stuck inside)

Noticing and developing interests and loves:

  • Being in the outdoors
  • Being around large animals

Through college, her networking and shadowing helped guide her in her studies but it took time to clarify that she wanted to be a field veterinarian.

  • She connected to an equine vet (through a homeschool family that she babysat for- nothing like networking!) and spend many hour shadowing

For college success, Sarah learned to:

  • Look forward to necessary courses and kept in touch with college advisor for advice on specialized and extra courses she needed to take. (Sarah needed some specialized courses that most zoology undergraduates did not need.)
  • Visit her professors often during office hours.

Sarah chose a small, Christian college (Malone College) for her undergraduate degree. When choosing her college, she made these a priority:

  • Small college, so she could know her professors and advisor well
  • Good college advisors that are interested in the success of their advisees
  • Opportunities for networking and exploration/volunteering/shadowing

Of all the vet schools in the nation, Sarah applied to the best vet school in the nation: University of California. She chose her graduate program by applying to the average number of programs, not choosing University of Delaware (her local college) since it had no vet program and few opportunities with their reciprocal programs at other schools. Rather, she chose to other nearby colleges and the vet school that her veterinarian of her childhood cats.

After applying, she flew to California for interviews and tours of campus. She liked the way their program was organized. AND it was December with NO snow! She rocked her interviews. How did she do that?

Beginning in 8th grade and all through high school, she was a member of the homeschool rhetoric team, so was comfortable speaking.

Public Speaking and Practical Life Skills from 7SistersHomeschool.com

This is the curriculum that Sarah’s rhetoric league used.

She was also involved in her college forensics team (public speaking), where she specialized in 5 minute impromptu speeches.

At UC, the interviews were MMI format (Multiple Mini Interviews) which are 5 minute impromptu speeches in a sort-of speed dating format. She did so well, she was accepted in the program.

Sarah’s advice for homeschoolers thinking about college?

  • Make sure you avail yourself of advisors and professors. Network, network, network!
  • Keep a class listing of what you will need. Keep an eye on when courses are offered (some courses are only offered periodically).

At University of California, Sarah learned:

At the end of every lead rope there is a human.

So soft skills and speaking skills are important. Sarah began her skills in her homeschooling high school years. Today, Dr. Varnell is treating horses out on the road and in the clinic where she works. Just like James Herriot of All Creatures Great and Small, she’s out in the field with people and horses.

Here’s a free resource for helping teens choose a college major. Join Vicki and Dr. Sarah Varnell to find out how a homeschooler becomes a veterinarian.

Also, check out these helpful posts:

What are “Values” and Why are Values Important in Career Exploration?

HSHSP Ep 100: What are Some Homeschool Graduates Doing?

Showing Rigor on the Homeschool Transcript

HSHSP Ep 122: Homeschooler Becomes a Veterinarian, Interview with Dr. Sarah Varnell