Here’s part 1 of a 2-part post sharing what high school career exploration looked like for my son Jonah when he was in 10th grade in our homeschool.
High School Career Exploration
We know that Career Exploration won’t happen on its own. While some teens are born knowing what they will do for a career, most do not. We have to invest in our teens through elective courses and experiences in order for them to have a better idea of what they should do after high school graduation.
I (Sabrina) started Career Exploration quite deliberately when my son was in 10th grade.
Our Experience in 10th Grade
We chose 10th grade because it allowed him time to further explore specific areas he found to be real possibilities for careers BEFORE the flurry of countdown-to-graduation began.
We knew that being intentional was important. High school Career Exploration does not happen magically on its own. In order to start my son on the Career Exploration journey, we started with exploring his strengths and weaknesses.
These were the areas that Jonah had shown were natural strengths or interests for him:
- People – He’s a very social guy.
- Art – He enjoys drawing in particular.
- Critical Thinking – He loves to dig below the surface and discuss motivations and underlying ideas.
- Fitness – He loves to work out and study about fitness topics.
- Cooking – He fends for himself well in the kitchen and likes to cook for friends when they get together.
One of our biggest uncertainties was whether or not Jonah was college-bound. He does not struggle with academics in particular (well, foreign language…), but he also isn’t a school-lover like some kids are. Making the financial commitment to college when we weren’t sure WHY we were doing it just wasn’t a wise option. That was a great motivator to get serious about high school career exploration!
Next I had my son explore and understand his personality type.
Personality Type in High School Career Exploration
Jonah took the Jung Typology test free online at Humanmetrics. He found out that he is an ENFJ – Extroverted, Highly Intuitive, with a slight preference for Feeling over Thinking, and basically a tie between Judging and Perceiving. That sounded like gobbledygook to me until I read the great materials that explain these labels! The Humanmetrics site is really handy, and broke the ideas down into real language that we could understand and apply to our study.
The accompanying Keirsey profile for Jonah’s personality type added another interesting career to our exploration list — TEACHER. The information there suggested that Jonah is well-suited to teaching others, whether in a formal classroom setting or not.
This was really helpful in getting him thinking in a new direction. He was not at all interested in pursuing an education degree. His older sister is doing just that, and his uncle is a lifetime elementary teacher in the traditional system.
We interviewed both his sister and his uncle about life as a classroom teacher and decided NO very quickly. A classroom setting is not for him! But being a teacher is all about teaching others, it’s not about the environment in which you do it. So he added the idea of teaching to the mix.
Next, he committed some time to prayer. Jonah’s faith is a private thing for him, and he does not typically like a lot of popular teen-focused weekend-retreat types of events. But he does like quiet study, meditation and prayer, and when he has had that time, he is very willing to talk out what he’s hearing from God with a few trusted people. He used one of Vicki Tillman’s Prayer Journals for focus and accountability over a month of prayer time as we explored career options.
The Career Exploration Workbook guided Jonah through these topics.
- Gaining experience with coming to know the will of God
- Describing himself
- Understanding what is truly important to him
- Noting his strengths and talents
- Investigating some careers
- Looking for an apprenticeship
- Planning his high school curriculum to enhance future opportunities
It took some time, and there were many sections that sparked good conversation between the two of us, or that brought in others (siblings, grandparents) to talk, too. By the time the workbook was completed, Jonah was ready to actively look into some specific careers that were showing promise.
He decided he wanted more information from someone actually living life in the following fields:
- Chef/Restaurant Industry
- Personal Trainer
High School Career Exploration!
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