This week on HSHSP Ep 180: Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
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.)
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:
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:
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
- 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)
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HSHSP Ep 180: Integrating Career Exploration into High School Curriculum