Career Exploration: What’s Included?- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Career Exploration: What’s Included?- Special Replay.

Career Exploration: What's Included?- Special Replay

What’s Included in Career Exploration?

One of our favorite courses in homeschooling high school is Career Exploration. It is genuinely a valuable life preparation course. Join Vicki and Kym as they share their experiences and what’s included in Career Exploration.

There are all sorts of teens when it comes to career and Career Exploration

There’s not one right way to be a teen or to be ready for future careers.

  • You know, some kids are born knowing that they want to do when they grow up.

    • Take for instance, Vicki’s daughter, who wanted to be a photographer from the time she was a child.
  • Some kids figure it out while they are in their young teens.

    • An example of this is Kym’s husband, who as an adolescent liked to shoot pool at his buddy’s house. However, in order to shoot pool, they had to move the dad’s accounting paperwork off the table. Doug was fascinated by that paperwork and from that time, he wanted to be an accountant.
  • On the other hand, some teens love everything!

    • It’s SOOOO hard to choose just one career! (Kym’s daughters had a list of about twenty chosen careers during their high school years.)
  • Some careers happen serendipitously.

    • For example, Vicki’s oldest son earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. During his last semester, his professors had a talk with him and told him that he should go to graduate school for Philosophy. He now has his PhD in Philosophy and teaches for Stanford University’s online philosophy-based high school.
    • BTW- Dr. Tillman authored 7Sisters’ Philosophy in Four Questions and co-authored 7Sisters’ History and Philosophy of the Western World.
  • Some teens think that they will go into one career…until they try an apprenticeship.

    • Once they got into the nitty-gritty of the job, they found there were aspects of that career that turned them off. These teens choose different careers but sometimes kept the original interest as hobbies or avocations. For instance, Kym’s son loves music. During high school he taught children’s music classes for a private school. He loved music but he did not like teaching children. So he did not choose music as a college major.
  • Other teens do not have a clue about what they want to be until after several semesters of college or a couple of years in the workforce.

    • Teens don’t need to know everything about the future when they graduate homeschool high school- but they will be off to a MUCH better start if they have a sense of direction!

Career Exploration is a necessary life preparation course in high school!

It may not be mandatory, but it certainly is important!  That’s because most people will need to have some sort of income during their adulthood. Whether teens go into a job or trade, military or college after high school graduation, it is wiser to have some preparation and choice-making out of the way.

What’s included in Career Exploration?

There’s not ONE right way to handle Career Exploration. We are sharing the 7Sisters’ version of Career Exploration curriculum. We developed the curriculum many years ago when Vicki’s oldest and his homeschool friends were in high school. They were all wondering about what to do next with their lives.

In order to address the teens’ needs, Vicki used her training as a counselor and career coach to develop a comprehensive but simple curriculum This is what it includes:

A look at role models who have influenced your teen in positive ways:

  • What were their careers?
  • What did they like or dislike about their jobs?

For religious teens: a talk about the will of God

  • How to look at how God looks at career and career choices.

Defining or discovering interests

  • Many teens have lots of interests.
  • Others haven’t had time to explore things that might interest them.
  • Help them look into interests: discover or develop them.

Respecting and defining skills, gifts or talents

  • All teens are gifted, skilled or talented in some kind of way. It is important to explore and develop these.

Understanding their “career values”

Career values are the values (lifestyle factors) that are meaningful to each person. These values include things like:

  • Work/life balance
  • Income needs
  • Work setting comfort

Apprenticeships or internships

In many cases, these apprenticeships or internships open doors (or convince teens to choose a different career).

These things are what Career Exploration is all about!

Join Vicki and Kym as they share about their work with homeschool high schoolers on the Career Exploration journey.

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Helping Non-College-Bound Teens Find Success- Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on  Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Helping Non-College-Bound Teens Find Success! Special replay of a favorite interview with Angela O’Shaughnessy.

Helping Non-College-Bound Teens Find Success- Special Replay

Helping Non-College-Bound Teens Find Success

There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school AND there’s not ONE right way to do life after high school.

Many teens are gifted by God to go into a career without going to college. That’s good. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars and four years of life on college, when a young person was created to do something else?

Huge numbers of teens have gifts and interests that they can develop without going to college. This is good. Career-bound teens can have a high school experience that is completely different than the academics for college-bound teens. With this in mind, Vicki asked her friend, Angela O’Shaughnessy, to talk about her two homeschool graduates who went right into careers that did not need college.

Today Angela and Vicki will discuss helping non-college-bound teens find success

Vicki and Angela are old friends who have worked together at Pike Creek Psychological Center. They have also had years of homeschooling together in their homeschool co-op (Angela always did the most fun history-related activities with the teens!)

Angela (who also joined us for more about homeschooling high school with career-bound teens) has two sons are loving successful lives that did not require college! How did Angela help guide them through high school to prepare them for life after graduation? Here are some tips from Angela.

Angela O'Shaughnessy used by permission

Top Tip: Notice interests as they grow

Angela is skilled in noticing. As her oldest son was growing, she saw that he loved:

  • History
  • Music
  • And especially figuring out things by working on them with his hands

She kept an eye on these interests as he progressed through high school. Angela and her husband concentrated on helping her sons:

  • Explore their interests
  • Develop their strengths

Therefore, she was not surprised when he told her that he did not want to go to college, but rather, to trade school and learn to be a machinist. This is what he did and is now a highly successful leader in that trade.

For more on helping teens discover and develop interests and strengths, check out our interview with Anita Gibson about helping teens discover their star.

Tip #2: Help teens develop strong life skills

Angela and her husband worked to model and teach the character, and life skills that her non-college-bound teens would need to have success in adulting. As adults, her sons have reported that they find these skills (that they developed during high school) highly valuable:

  • Enjoying hard work
  • Taking opportunities when they come
  • Getting technical training when they needed it
  • Learning job-hunt skills
  • Practicing interview skills

One of the most important skills her sons learned was networking. Networking has helped Angela’s son in:

Tip #3: Find mentors

Mentors can help teens make connections that will open doors for their future careers. However, even more important is the fact that mentors can be guides full of advice, encouragement and resources for teens. Angela and her sons looked for mentors at church, volunteer and small jobs. For instance, they looked for folks who had:

  • Skills that she wanted her sons to explore
  • Good character qualities

Mentoring situations can look different according to the family needs. For instance, you could invite the mentor to spend a little time over coffee or a family dinner. Even more valuable is the opportunity to have an apprenticeship or internship with that mentor.

For information on mentoring relationships and resources for teens with special needs, check out our interview with Dr. Rochelle Matthews-Somerville. BTW- Dr. Matthews-Somerville is one of our special 7Sisters’ Cousins, who shares tips and resources for homeschooling high school at EMF Consulting.

Tip #4: Do not rush

As moms, we tend to worry about our teens. It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming heavy equipment moms who micromanage our teens. When Angela worried about the future for her son who struggled with learning disabilities, her husband would remind her,

“Life is long, he has plenty of time to figure it out.”

Isn’t that great advice?!

Both of Angela’s sons are experiencing success in their different careers AND in their interests AND in church AND in other adulting areas. Your homeschool teens can, too!

Join Vicki and Angela for an inspiring chat. In the meantime, check out these posts.

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Helping Non-College-Bound Teens Find Success

Homeschool Grad Becomes Entrepreneur, Interview with Suzanna Fitzgerald

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschool Grad Becomes Entrepreneur, Interview with Suzanna Fitzgerald.

Homeschool Grad Becomes Entrepreneur, Interview with Suzanna Fitzgerald

Homeschool Grad Becomes Entrepreneur, Interview with Suzanna Fitzgerald

One of our favorite things to do is interview homeschool graduates to see what they are doing with life in the post-high-school world. Join us for a fun interview with entrepreneur Suzanna Fitzgerald!

As parents of a homeschooler, it can be nerve-wracking to watch your child graduate and have to step out into the world on their own. While there is no one answer to the question of what will become of your brilliant kiddo, one bright possibility is that they could choose to become a homeschool entrepreneur. 

With the right support and guidance, your soon-to-be homeschool grad can use their unique experience to create something totally new and go down a path that could lead to long-term success as a homeschool-grad-becomes-entrepreneur!

One example of a homeschool entrepreneur is Suzanna Fitzgerald with Fitz’n’Jammer Marketing By Listening. She has always been a driven and ambitious person, so it just made sense that after graduating homeschool high school at the age of sixteen, she chose to pursue her passion for entrepreneurship. Now, at the age of twenty, she is running a successful business alongside her sister and inspiring others with her story. 

In this exclusive interview with Suzanna, we explore her journey from homeschool graduate to successful entrepreneur!

About Suzanna Fitzgerald

Currently residing in Colorado, Suzanna runs a marketing business with her younger sister, Leia Joy. They connect all over the world online and, despite people telling them that they would not even know how to stand in line because they were homeschooled, they managed things anyway – better, even.  Not only can these two sisters stand in line with proper posture, they can also run a business after being homeschool graduates.

Their story is a little bit different than most people’s. Their parents were Arizona ranchers, and they lived miles outside of town on a dirt road, far from any local schools or communities.  Although her mother held a teaching degree, after moving to Arizona to become a rancher, she no longer taught anymore.

At least, not in an institutional fashion.

Instead, she continued to use her teaching skills on her children with their homeschool education. 

Homeschool Life

Suzanna recalls the days when they would gather around the dining room table to do schoolwork. She never spent one day in a ‘regular’ classroom. Instead, she was homeschooled from K through 12.

However, Suzanna and her siblings grew up around business people. When she could independently homeschool herself, she taught herself her business, such as copywriting, marketing, writing, and everything. She is a life-long learner, with a perpetual homeschooling lifestyle: always learning with no beginning or ending.

Suzanna believes all of life is education if we allow it to be. She implores everyone to just keep growing and learning, no matter their age. She adopted this from her mother, who was an awesome teacher because she made learning so much fun.

From the stories she told to the things they have heard from her family, her mom was the kind of teacher that made learning fun for a classroom of thirty students or a homeschool room of three kids. That was due to the fact that she was extremely hands-on and focused. Suzanna credits everything to her mother, who really encouraged them to pursue their dreams and pushed them to excel.

Discovering the Internet and Founding A Business

And then, all of a sudden, the internet happened. And the next thing you know, Suzanna was making a living online, even though she’s never been on a computer previously.

One year, she was asking what a blog and email was. And then the next year, she and her sister were founding an online marketing business. The whole world seemed to open up for them, which was both scary and exciting.

Breaking Into Marketing

Suzanna was initially trying to be a fantasy novelist. When she was seventeen, she had a book published. Then she realized she did not know how to sell nor how to market anything. This became a high priority for her, especially if she wanted to be a successful writer and not a starving writer. 

Although Suzanna tried to pursue her marketing education at a community college, it turned out to not be a good fit due to health limitations. However, she found an advertisement from a company called American Writers and Artists out of Florida who taught copywriting and online marketing, among other things. Their ad fit the homeschool model since you can pay for the courses and do it at home at your own speed. Suzanna figured she could learn about marketing for a while and then go back to writing books.

However, she discovered that she loved marketing just as much as she loved writing books.

(BTW- Suzanna’s creative writing and marketing experiences make excellent electives for the homeschool transcript.)

Sisterly Business Partnership

Her sister, Leia, started working with Suzanna when she graduated homeschool high school, turning into a homeschool-grad-becomes-entrepreneur too, just like her sister.

Their business partnership began with a job that was supposed to only be a summer job that turned into a year-long job, which eventually led to their business partnership. This turned Leia into a homeschool entrepreneur as well. And now she makes custom graphics and custom logos, high-end video editing projects and creative, detailed work for clients. (BTW- more great Career Exploration elective credits!)

Both sisters have different skillsets that dovetail well together for their business. By learning to work together during their homeschooling adventures, it transpired into working well in ‘real life.’ 

Suzanna’s Advice About Homeschooling High School

For Suzanna, the best part of her high school years was when she became more independent. In about sixth or seventh grade, her amazing mom allowed her to pick lots of elements of her own homeschool curriculum. Her mom would show her the magazine she was ordering from. Then they would discuss each type of program, such as which type of grammar she wanted to do and what was next for math.

When Suzanna started homeschooling high school, she was pursuing her writing dreams, so her mom allowed Suzanna to set her own schedule. And as long as she got the work done on time, her mom did not care when she did it. Suzanna learned excellent goal setting and time management in a hands-on way.

Her time in high school was such an adventure. She was able to choose courses and curriculum that helped pursue her dreams and discover what she wanted out of life. For example, Suzanna chose high-end writing courses instead of more science courses. 

Suzanna’s best part of homeschooling as well as her best tip for all parents of homeschool high schoolers and possible homeschool entrepreneur is: 

Just try to fulfill the needs that your children have instead of trying to fulfill something from your past.

The best part of her homeschooling was when that was true. On the other hand, the worst part was when, sometimes,  it would feel like she was trying to live up to her parents’ expectations from long ago.

One of the beauties of homeschooling is all the flexibility. Do what is best for your kids. 

Teens learning entrepreneurship can earn Career Exploration credit.

Fitz’n’Jammer Marketing By Listening

The reason Suzanna fell in love with marketing is because it is such an important key to success. One that many people often overlook. You might tend to think of it as something you can just do in your spare time. After all, there are a lucky few who do luck out with a natural gift for marketing that works for them right off the bat.

However, to the remaining most of us, we really struggle with marketing because it costs so much time, effort and energy. Unfortunately, it can make you think it is just sucking the life out of you, causing you to learn to hate your business and hate what you wanted to do and learn to hate your skills. 

Either you know what you are doing or you work with somebody who knows what they are doing and who is trained to do it right. When you find the right fit (on your own work or marketing with an expert) you will look forward to working in your business. You will see money coming in and you will have communication going out.

And that’s the whole reason for Fitz’n’Jammer Marketing By Listening brand. They try to teach people how to genuinely connect with their audiences and listen to what consumers are saying. They help you do marketing the easy way instead of the hard way!

You have to create loyal customers. It is such a wonderful feeling when you have the right message going out and the right customers coming in. Listening is such a high value.

Connect with Suzanna at Fitz’n’Jammer Marketing By Listening

You can find Suzanna on her Fitz’n’Jammer Marketing website at fitsnjammer.com and connect with her on their contact page. Or you can email her at suzannafitznjammer.com. She is also on LinkedIn as Susanna the Challenge Queen Fitzgerald. 

Ending tip from Suzanna:

Homeschooling is not perfect, but it is the most perfect thing you are going to find in an imperfect world. It is the best option that you can have for your kids, and it is the best way to build a relationship with them in the future. 

If you want to be friends with your kids when they are in their twenties and thirties and later, if you want to know your grandkids, if you want to know that your kids are going to have your values or any values, if you want to know that they can continue learning as human beings, no matter what  unpredictable course their life takes, homeschooling is the best thing you can do for your kids. So definitely, definitely do it. It is worth the effort. It is worth the sacrifice. And it is a lot of fun.

Join Vicki and Suzanna for an encouraging discussion on homeschooling and her journey to entrepreneurship.

For more on entrepreneurship for teens, check out these podcast episodes:

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post!

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Career Exploration for Non-College-Bound Teens

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Career Exploration for Non-College-Bound Teens.

Career Exploration for Non-College-Bound Teens

Career Exploration for Non-College-Bound Teens

Not all teens should go to college! That’s a fact. So, for teens who are career bound, how do they handle career exploration? There are so many choices and directions they could go. Vicki shares the guidance she gives career-bound teens when she is wearing her experience in her career coaching hat in this episode.

As you know there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. There’s not ONE kind of teen. And there’s not ONE right kind of career path. For the many teens who do not need to go to college, that’s cool! You need to do what is right for you to develop your:

  • Interests
  • Talents
  • Opportunities

It is wise to have some intentionality with career exploration during high school (especially by eleventh and twelfth grades). That way when the never-ending question: “So, what are you going to do AFTER high school?” happens, they have some kind of answer.

Even if this is not their only career option, it gives teens confidence to say, “I’m thinking about…”.

What opportunities are there to explore so your teen can be employment ready after high school?

There are so many different kinds of teens and so many different interests and needs. That means, there’s not ONE right way to handle career exploration for non-college-bound teens. That’s okay! Let’s look at some options:

For teens who already are pretty certain they know what they want to do

For instance, perhaps your teen has always wanted to be a cosmetologist, firefighter, join the military, or become a plumber. They are free to start jumping in on the process during their homeschool high school years.

You can start as soon as possible to help your teen gain experience in that area:

  • volunteering
  • apprenticing or
  • paid entry-level, related job

If your teen was interested in cosmetology, she could offer to do one of those three (volunteer, apprentice or simple job) in positions such as: floor sweeper, receptionist, etc. This gives her a feel for the industry. Also, find out the state requirements for training. Can she start a cosmetology school during high school?

Or if you have teens interested in a trade, high schoolers can often start taking training courses during high school at trade schools, community colleges or unions. After a few hands-on training classes, teens will find they love the job (or not). They will also be networking and finding opportunities that will open for them either before or after graduation.

Career Exploration:
It gives teens confidence 
to say, "I'm thinking about...".

For teens who know they do not want to go to college but do not have a clue what they want to do

Many teens do not have any idea what they want to do after graduation. That is okay. They do not need to know everything about the future during high school. However, it is wise to help them explore. Here are some ideas:

  • Give them rich experiences
    • Many times teens do not know what they want to do because they have not experienced it yet. One kind of rich experience is field trips. Hey, the good thing about homeschooling is that we homeschool moms tend to value field trips (although sometimes at high school level, it is harder to squeeze them in to our teens’ busy schedules).
    • However, if you create a Career Exploration elective credit for their transcript, you can log many field trips towards that credit. That is because, any trip gives a little more life experience. Any life experience helps build the ability to make decisions- especially career decisions.
    • For instance: ranger-led nature walks at state parks, cooking demonstrations at special events, car shows or museum exhibits. Sometimes, a teen will get inspired by a watching the person in charge of whatever event they are experiencing. They think: “Hmmm, this might be a cool job!” Or, on the other hand, they might think, “Ugh, I would NEVER want to do that!” Either way is valuable career exploration.
  • Show them role models
    • Movies based on careers
    • Biographies of interesting jobs
    • FB Watches or YouTubes about interesting jobs
  • Volunteer work
    • Teens need to do volunteer work. It is good for transcript and the soul. Service work is SO important for personal knowledge and development, as well as making the world a better place.
    • Some volunteer opportunities our teens have done:
      • Church (worship, set up, digital team, nursery, office)
      • Digital volunteer opportunities
      • Food bank
      • State park volunteer events
      • Library volunteers

For teens, whether they have a clue about career or not, try a career exploration course

A good career exploration course is very helpful. For non-college-bound teens, 7SistersHomeschool has a simple Career Exploration Workbook. Even if you choose something else, think about looking for curriculum that includes (like our workbook):

  • What is God’s will?
    • Teens who are believers sometimes feel anxious about choosing a career that will please God. A good curriculum helps them trust God to direct their paths.
  • Past experiences
    • What have teens already done that help them find strengths or interests
  • What other people see in them
    • Get some feedback from people who know them
  • Can they identify interests?
    • IF the power went out for the day, what would you do for fun? If you had a day to yourself with no chores or schoolwork, what would you do?
  • Define career values
    • Career values help teens choose a career field by defining what is important to them: Work hours, desire for involvement in things after work, level of income desired, etc. (Rabbit trail, all teens will benefit from taking a Financial Literacy course that helps them understand and plan for financial responsibilities coming their way in adulthood.)

Explore careers

Check out career descriptions and information at CareerOneStop.org.

Join a club or interest group

Sometimes a group experience will help them explore an interest or strength, network or lead to the next interesting experience. Even if it does not turn out to be fun, no experience is wasted. All experiences are growth, one way or the other.

Try some apprenticeships

We cannot recommend this enough. See if you can help your teen find something that can count as apprenticeship.

Be sure to log everything!

Those Career Exploration electives are SO valuable and look great on the transcript!

For more on this topic

Join Vicki for a quick discussion to help non-college-bound teens get their career exploration underway!

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Career Exploration with Pathway

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Career Exploration with Pathway.

Career Exploration with Pathway

Career Exploration with Pathway

It gets so exciting learning about a new, solid resource for your homeschool, doesn’t it? And we just discovered Pathway by Folderwave! If you are wondering what on Earth Folderwave is, read on to learn more about it from Ann McClure and Pamela Brennan, the experts on how it can help with career exploration for students.

About Anne McClure and Pamela Brennan

Ann McClure

Anne is a homeschool mom of 5, starting with a high schooler at 15, all the way down to a toddler at 2. She began homeschooling when her now-15 year old was starting kindergarten. 

Anne has a background in education, previously being a teacher in all different kinds of settings. This background helped instigate her thoughts on what to do next after her firstborn graduates from homeschool high school. 

Therefore, she started her research journey to learn more about what to do in high school and how to prepare her son for college and a career and beyond. This pivotal moment is when Folderwave came into the picture.

Pamela Brennan

Pamela has a background of 20 years in college admissions, counseling, recruiting, and mostly in operations management. She was a Director of Operations at a selective university in Boston and worked very closely with high school counselors, parents, homeschool parents, and the students (the applicants).

As she was working at the university, she was also working with Folderwave to improve their business process for application processing. But, after 20 years at the university, Pamela wanted a change. She could see the direction that Folderwave was headed and wanted to be a part of their evolution, so she began to work with them full-time and left the university. And now, she’s going on 10 years with Folderwave.

How Anne and Pamela Connected

When Anne was on a parent panel at a homeschooling conference, the moderator of the panel happened to introduce Anne to the president of Folderwave, Bob. He was seeking some feedback from a homeschool parent perspective about the market itself. 

After discussing different ideas together, they decided to start running focus groups and start developing additional content that would be a bit more geared towards the homeschool market. 

About Pathway by Folderwave

Folderwave is an evolving company. They went from college admissions to the high school space and then into the career and college counseling space. To Anne and Pamela, Folderwave is all about exploration and getting the kids to explore at an earlier age instead of waiting to the last minute when they’re about to graduate high school.

Pathway is a product by Folderwave, and it is a college and career exploration tool meant for students to begin using it as young as 12 years old or 6th grade. Students can access Pathway online and use their tools to discover more about their interests.

And it’s all about self-discovery 

They have assessment personality tests to help get kids to start thinking about things new to them and peak their interest levels. Then, it ties that interest to different possibilities for careers out there. It’s a nonabrasive approach for kids to discover new interests

Kids can save activities of interest throughout their time with it. They can reflect on their interests or activities with journaling or even with a reflections piece just to see how much they have changed or their growth over the years.

Investigate Your Future With Career Planning

Pathway has a state of the art, up to date, up to the minute program called Investigate Your Future With Career Planning that helps analyze certain aspects of jobs they might be interested in, job markets, future trends, and so many more amazing investigative tools kids can use to research more about their interests. 

Resume Builder

Pathway recently updated its resume builder for students to use for all sorts of scenarios, such as for college applications or even for applying for jobs while going to school. The resume builder walks students through each section to help the student make the most of their details.

Everything In One Digital Location

One of the exciting things parents within the focus groups pointed out was that they were so happy to see everything within Pathway was all in one place. 

Searching for what to do pre- and post-high school can be overwhelming since tons of research has to be done on top of the work you’re already doing. And so to have all those up-to-date tools all in one digital location in such a timely fashion is exactly what’s getting everyone thrilled about this product. 

How Pathway Can Help You

As we all know, there aren’t many resources available for career exploration for students. There are books, but nothing like Pathway, where everything you need is all in one spot.

Pathway has college counselors and digital portfolios for students to use in their career exploration. It can also be used to:

  •  Collect data and save it for future referencing
  • Be a course planner
  • Do life skills activities
  • Help create a resume. 
  • How-to guide
  • And more!

Some of their favorite tools within Pathway are the ones that show the stepping stones a child can take to a specific career. 

One such tool helps students how to get to a career goal. For example, if the student wants to be an attorney or a nurse, Pathway will show them some lateral careers or some stepping stone careers that you can take to get there.

Another great tool is the one that reveals the projected growth of different professions.It shows where in the world or country it is expected to have a growth or a decrease in need for those specific jobs.

There is such a wide range of tools in Pathway that it’s practical for all kids at different stages and ages. It can help reframe the way you think about college and career planning while educating you at the same time. 

How To Connect

Interested In Trying Pathway?

Anne and Pamela’s short term goal is to have a small group of homeschool parents who want to dig into Pathway and then give back constructive feedback to help further develop it, like beta testers.

If you are interested in learning more about Pathway, Anne and Pamela would love to connect with you. Simply email them, letting them know you would love to play around with it. 

For more information on Career Exploration check out these Homeschool Highschool Podcast episodes:

Thanks to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for transcribing this episode.

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How to Get Teens Interested in Career Exploration

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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