With two teens, I knew we needed to look at some sort of aptitude testing, career counseling, and guidance program. It was one of these vague projects in the back of my head. However, time moves on, and our oldest was entering grade 11. It was time to get moving on this project, and soon! I wanted to locate an affordable, Christian program, because there is certainly no time in my life to do all of the research myself. But I honestly did not know where to start.
Then, as a Homeschool Crew reviewer, I was offered The Complete Career, College, and High School Guide for Homeschoolers! Thank you, Lord!
This 200+ page guide for middle school through adult, by Jill Dixon of Educational Diagnostic Prescriptive Services, has a very specific goal, best expressed in Mrs. Dixon’s own words.
“Our “must have” Career Guide discovers your student’s best career choice by using the proper, specific tools that he/she needs to succeed. This is accomplished by taking four clear self-administered and self-scored assessments. Through these you will be equipped to make the proper course choices for middle school, high school, and college and, most importantly, find the right career for your child! In addition, you will gain all the right knowledge for determining your child’s correct college major or career/service direction.”
The Complete Career, College, and High School Guide for Homeschoolers contains four self-administered and self-scored assessments
- work/service preference survey
- learning styles assessment
- personality profile
- work environment questionnaire
After each test, students choose a few options from a list of careers or college majors that might suit them. After writing down these as well as any other interests from another long list, students are encouraged to ensure that their choices match their work environment preferences. Once all that is done, students are left with a list of potential careers or college majors that would interest them.
The rest of The Guide contains suggestions about how to prepare for many different careers or college majors. For each broad career field, there’s a list of suggested middle school and high school courses as well as a list of activities to consider (hobbies, part-time work, or volunteering). Each section ends with a list of careers to explore.
For example, the Horticulture/Botany section suggests
- ten school courses (agriculture, biology, botany, chemistry, drawing, earth science, floral design, gardening, health / nutrition, and landscape design)
- six activities to consider (beginning a landscaping business, growing trees or shrubs and experimenting with hybrids, raising greenhouse plants, starting a small Christmas tree farm (!), doing the family’s gardening or landscaping, and working part-time for a nursery or greenhouse)
- ten potential careers to investigate (arborist, botanist, grounds manager, horticulturalist, landscape architect / gardener, landscape designer, park ranger, plant breeder, plant geneticist, and tree surgeon)
Other useful information includes a list of cutting edge jobs and a list of fastest growing jobs, with a link to the data source so that it should be relatively easy to update the information.
The remaining 50+ pages of The Guide are a quick tour of all aspects of homeschooling high school. Most of this information is available elsewhere, but if you have this book, you might be able to get by without another one. Several nuggets not found elsewhere include “Twelve Principles for Raising Godly Teenagers,” a list of important character qualities, a list of volunteer opportunities, and “Advice to Homeschooled High Schoolers from Homeschool Graduates.”
Unlike any other career information guide I’ve ever encountered, Mrs. Dixon lists considerations for future leaders of families and suggests home-friendly career options for future home-based mothers. She stresses that she is not encouraging all young people to attend post-secondary institutions, nor is she encouraging careers that will take a future father or mother away from his or her family obligations. To that end she lists some careers that give men more time at home. She also lists options that will work for future home-based mothers. What’s more, she includes marriage/mothering in her list of career fields, with suggestions for high school courses and activities.
Mrs Dixon, national consultant for HSLDA, has an advanced degree in education and many years’ experience in education. She has written several educational books, speaks at conferences, and teaches various classes, as well as continuing to homeschool her own children. Mrs. Dixon wrote The Guide because of the difficulties she encountered planning her own daughter’s educational path. She also noticed that many homeschool graduates, just like public school graduates, have a hard time finding their path in life, often changing college majors and careers several times because of poor choices. Students who use The Complete Career, College, and High School Guide for Homeschoolers thoughtfully will know their interests and strengths and be much better prepared to make wise choices about courses, colleges, and careers.
The Guide and Our Family
After raising their eyebrows at this latest project, my three oldest children good-naturedly indulged me and went through the book.
“Was it useful?” I asked them.
“Nah, we didn’t learn anything,” they all agreed.
Well, they may not have learned anything, but I learned a few things about them to be able to think more clearly about their homeschool year and other opportunities. I also have a better idea of things they might like to explore in their studies and free time. It was comforting that there were no great surprises. Our children did not do the research suggested in The Guide or study the different course options and activities in detail. They’re just continuing to follow their passions, which currently are dairy farming, computers, and art.
As expected, the children pointed out that it was easy to tell what answers would get what results in the assessments. They also, like their Mama, discovered that it is very difficult to answer some of the questions. In fact, the same test taken in different moods could give different results. These, however, are failings common to all such tests, and valid results can be obtained by anyone willing to make the effort to answer the questions thoughtfully and accurately.
This is the sort of program I had been looking for. It has saved me a lot of time and has given me confidence that we’re heading in the right direction for each of our children. It made my task as homeschool guidance counselor do-able and less stressful. I plan for our teens to use several times each.
The Complete Career, College, and High School Guide for Homeschoolers provides a sensible, cost-effective approach to career, college, and high school planning that will benefit most families with high schoolers. Very few homeschool moms have the time to research such topics themselves. Check out the product website to help you decide if this book would work for your family.
For more opinions about this course as well as some of the other products offered by Educational Diagnostic Prescriptive Services, please visit the Homeschool Crew website.
You can buy the book here.