Our Cousin, Sue Sobczak, shares how internships work for homeschool high schoolers.
How Internships Work for Homeschool High Schoolers
In this post, we introduce another of our 7Sisters’ Cousins. As you know, our Cousins are friends and colleagues that we know, love and trust. They are experienced women who have wisdom to share with our 7th Sisters (remember, there are six of us 7Sisters…so who is the 7th Sister? YOU are!)
One of our favorite Cousins who has lots of excellent experience with internships for homeschool high schoolers is Sue Sobczak. Sue is a military veteran, military spouse, life coach and homeschool mom of six. In this post, she will share some of the meaningful internships her teens have done during high school.
Sue’s story of internships for homeschool high schoolers
Two of my six kids completed a semester-long internship during high school. One did not end up pursuing the field of study in college that was the same as his internship. One of the most powerful things about internships is that they sometimes show teens that what they thought they would love, they did not actually want to do as a career.
On the other hand, my other teen is studying something that is similar to what he did for his internship. His internship helped guide him to next steps in his studies.
Every teen is unique, so their internships can also be unique!
How Internships Work for Homeschool High Schoolers: What is an internship?
My basic definition of an internship is when a student works in an organization, with or without pay, with the expectation of gaining experience in that area. For high school students, it is a great opportunity to try something out to see if they may want to study about it more in college, or even go into that field of work directly from high school.
Why have your child complete an internship?
One reason my kids did their internships was, well, because they could! Their schedule was flexible, and I wanted them to explore jobs when they were trying to figure out what they wanted to do after high school and in college. (Internships are a valuable part of Career Exploration.)
How do you arrange an internship?
To put it simply, you ask.
My second oldest was interested in fitness
We thought he might want to get a degree in exercise science or athletic training or something similar. When he was a senior, we were living in Ramstein, Germany as a retired military family in a military community.
We contacted the military Wellness Center and asked to meet with the supervisor to discuss a possible internship. During the meeting my son told the supervisor what experience he was hoping to obtain, and after some discussion, she said she would accommodate him! He had to complete the Red Cross Volunteer training, which was lengthy. He worked (unpaid) in the Center almost every day for a semester for a few hours a day.
He was able to get so much experience and see what someone with an Exercise Science degree might do daily. The staff loved him and gave him a wonderful farewell when he completed his internship.
My fourth oldest was interested in video production
We approached the Armed Forces Network radio and television station in Kaiserslautern, Germany to ask if he could intern there. We were so fortunate to live nearby. The supervisor welcomed my son, and he had a great experience that semester. He went there a few days a week for a few hours a day.
He was able to:
- help film
- learn to write commercials
- and was the voice for a commercial on the AFN radio station in Europe.
A second way to find internships is to contact organizations that arrange internships for high school students
I did a quick Google search before writing this and there are companies that will help your student find internships. I did not think of that when my kids did them, and I do not know if that was a thing when they were doing it. We were living in Germany as a retired military family, so I arranged my kids’ internships with the Americans there.
How do you give credit for an internship?
Look at your state’s homeschool law to see if there are specific requirements. I decided to track hours for my kids (60 hours is generally equivalent to 0.5 high school credits). For my oldest, I also added the requirement that he give a presentation to our local homeschool group about his experience so that we could share the information with other homeschool families. You can award credits for internships just like you would for other classes that you create on your own.
An internship does not have to consist of one field of study. A student could go to multiple organizations during a semester, summer or school year to get experience in many fields of study. This is a great way to explore before graduating and going to college.
BTW- Sometimes, homeschoolers also call internships, “apprenticeships”. They are essentially the same thing. More in apprenticeships in this post.
If my kids had not done these internships, they may have wasted time studying something in college that they did not want to ultimately pursue. You can find out more about how to explore careers in a book called, Designing Your Life. I started teaching a course using that book which helps teens and adults figure out what’s next.
Visit Sue Sobczak, our Cousin and an International Coaching Federation Associate Certified Coach