I love working with parents of tweens and teens to develop a Personalized Learning Plan for their Jr and Sr High School years. High School should be a time when students are considering and exploring opportunities, being exposed to possibilities, and honing their work ethic, academic and skill sets. During this time they should begin career exploration.
For many parents, it can be overwhelming to think about covering all the basis for High school, let alone start thinking about what comes next. But, when I am working with families during Academic Advising sessions, I always start with where the students/parents think the young adult will end up after high school. Will they go to college, go to work, go to an apprenticeship, a ministry or the military?
Answers to these career exploration questions will help determine the course students should take during high school.
For instance, if a student or parent is relatively certain that their student wants to go military enlisted right out of high school, and the sooner, the better, I would advise them differently than if they wanted to go to a Military Academy. Their high school programs will look a lot different, even though a rigorous Physical Education program would be recommended for both.
If a student thinks they want to go into a Creative Field, like Writing or Movie Production, I will advise them to begin building their online presence as soon as possible, with either a blog or a YouTube channel, along with opportunities and classes that will develop their skills, along with their Transcript.
They are hired for their hard skills and fired for their soft skills
Of course, not every student is going to know what they want to do “when they grow up.” The reality is that many of them are probably going to be doing a LOT of different things as the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out. Most young adults should expect to have over 14 jobs during their vocational life-time. This statistic indicates that young adults need training in the soft skills of adaptability, flexibility, critical thinking, and so much more! Focusing on life skills such is always a good idea; if your kids are flexible, good communicators and know how to learn, they’ll go far regardless of what career field they go into!
For Career Exploration, think in terms of Career Clusters
With the changing world, and having to prepare our kids for jobs that may not even exist, focusing on career clusters, rather than a specific career, is a more logical way to approach career exploration. The following are Career Clusters, as defined by the Bureau of Labor:
- Agriculture, food, and natural resources
• Architecture and construction
• Arts, audio/video technology, and communications
• Business management and administration
• Education and training
• Government and public administration
• Health science
• Hospitality and tourism
• Human services
• Information technology
• Law, public safety, corrections, and security
• Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
• Transportation, distribution, and logistics
Do you still need more career exploration? Try clubs, camps, jobs, and internships!
Exposing young adults to clubs, camps, jobs, and internships might spark an interest that takes them in crazy directions. Both of our sons have done internships for our State’s Family Heritage Council in the State Capital during Legislative Sessions. While this hasn’t led directly to a job, per se, it has exposed them to policy-making, lobbying, connections around the state, allowed them to rub shoulders with men and women with an incredible work ethic and led to other internships and opportunities. These kinds of opportunities also give our kids the confidence to do the next big thing.
Still need more help?
What if your student can’t decide on what’s next? Check out our Academic Advising program, where you’ll get help not only creating a Personalized Learning Plan for High School, but suggestions and curriculum for career exploration and development. Our Survive Homeschooling High school E-book, is full of resources to kick start what’s next brainstorming. We also offer an Orienteering course which will allow the student to take responsibility for their career exploration with plenty of surveys, brainstorming, discussion, practical tips, and more!
Do you need junior high tips?
Junior High is looming and you are 1 part excited and 2 parts scared. Your delightful little is now a lanky, gawky and possibly awkward teen. But, never fear, this is a wonderfully, exciting time in a young person’s life to homeschool as they move from child to young adulthood! Today we have gathered 12 tips to focus on during those junior high years.
Junior High Tip #1 – Stress Management
The first tip is to teach your almost junior high kiddos some simple stress & anxiety management skills. These skills can include mindfulness, deep breathing and working out regularly. Working out can reduce normal tween drama and tension. Physically tired tweens are usually happier and more agreeable tweens!
Junior High Tip #2 – Schedule Success
Now is the time to teach your student some essential skills that enable success. Some of these skills include how to use a planner, how to take tests (check out our Performance Series test), and how to strategically skill build so that their hopes and dreams become reality.
Junior High Tip #3 – Study Skills
Study skills are an important part of junior high life. Skills like how to memorize, take notes, take a test, read a map and organize will yield results throughout your kiddos life. Reading independently and out loud together is a wonderful way to engage with each other and academic material.
Junior High Tip #4 – Strengthen Weaknesses
During junior high, it is important to strengthen weaknesses in any academic areas like reading, writing, spelling or math computation. Don’t overlook strengthening soft skills /executive functioning skills like manners, communication, teamwork, time and distraction management skills. Now is the time to identify processing disorders or learning disabilities and really hone in on strengthening overall academic skills and abilities.
Junior High Tip #5 – Successful Communication Skills
Students should have basic writing skills like how to write a solid sentence, paragraph and 3-paragraph report so that they can successfully move into a 5-paragraph essay. Students should be able to give short 2-3-minute presentations with the goal to move into longer speech or dramatic presentations and performances.
Junior High Tip #6 Foreign Languages and Travel
Junior High is the perfect time to learn about different cultures and people groups through foreign language studies and travel, which broadens one’s perspective on many levels. You can also check out the great live, online foreign language classes from True North Homeschool Academy.
Junior High Tip #7 – Extracurriculars
One great idea for junior high is to seek out extracurriculars that are of interest and also challenging. Many students by this age have developed interests in areas such as art, music or sports. Junior high is the perfect time to dive a bit deeper, enter contests and find mentors that will push them to the next level of engagement.
Junior High Tip #8 – Choose Challenging Courses
Jr. High kids should be engaged in areas of study that push them beyond their abilities, cause them to experience new things, grow and develop. Angela Duckworth, author of “Grit” suggests that kids should commit to Grit Goals regularly.
Junior High Tip #9 – Self Directed
Begin thinking ahead to what you want to do and focus on in high school and beyond, begin career exploration and even development. Kids should begin taking initiative and responsibility in Jr High – some will do so more naturally than others.
Junior High Tip #10 – Career Exploration
It’s never too early to start exploring career options. Find professionals for your junior high student to interview and shadow as they go about their workday. Offer career exploration classes that allow one’s scope to be broadened about the plethora of jobs available.
(Did you know that we offer self-paced career exploration courses at True North Homeschool Academy? Check them out here!)
Junior High Tip #11 – Service Hours
Now is the time for your junior high student to get involved in Community Service. This gives kids a great perspective, develops gratitude, and might even open up internships and job or career opportunities and possibilities.
Junior High Tip #12 – Navigating Technology
When you give your kid a cell phone make time to sit down and talk about the responsibilities, dangers, and opportunities that come with it. Put controls on the cell phone and make sure that you can track where your kids go for accountability. Talk to your kids about integrity and how they should be the same person online as they are in real life. It’s also a good time to teach your child how effective communication in the digital age.
Last and not least, have fun! Junior high can be serious business, but it’s a delightful time as you watch your kiddo move from dependent child to burgeoning adult. If you are looking for an amazing program for your Junior High student check out our courses at True North Homeschool Academy!