As homeschooling parents of teens we are not only teachers; we are also guidance counsellors. This is enough to frighten many parents but there are resources that make it easier. One of them is Vicki Tillman’s Career Exploration, a workbook that explores many aspects of a teen’s aptitudes, interests, and passions and helps translate them into possible career choices.
Of course, any sort of life planning should reflect one’s deepest values and beliefs, and that is how Career Exploration guides students. As they go through this course, they are encouraged to ‘Remember that God has placed you here on earth for His purposes’ and reminded that ‘God will be using you wherever He places you to bring His Kingdom to life here on earth.’
Tillman begins by carefully navigating the tricky concept of ‘finding the will of God’, both by explaining it in a biblical, common sense way and by providing a helpful list of questions for students to answer.
The next few sections give insightful questions and checklists for teens to look objectively at themselves—their achievements, lifestyle values, strengths, and weaknesses.
Finally, after reflecting on all of the above information, teens are pointed to different sections of an enormous US government website and asked to answer detailed questions on a few of the careers they are interested in. In order to really understand these careers, students are encouraged to try an apprenticeship or two. Tillman provides paperwork to make this easier for both the teen and the future mentor.
College and career may seem a long way away for many teens, and many of them may have absolutely no idea what they are interested in, even after going through the self-assessments in this course. Therefore Tillman encourages them to keep on trying new things both in life and in planning their high school curriculum. I would also encourage them to repeat Career Exploration every year or two while following and broadening their interests.
The self-assessment section was very difficult for Miss 13 and Miss 15. Thinking about who you are and what you want to do is not an easy thing, especially when you are that young. Even so, it was a worthwhile activity. The online explorations were easier for the girls and full of interesting information of all kinds.
To motivate my teens, I worked through some of the concepts with them, and I also explored the website. Then I realized that there is one more aspect to this course: Many homeschooling moms of teens are nearing the end of their homeschooling years, and they, too, may be wondering what to do during the next stage of their lives. Vicki Tillman’s Career Exploration can help them as well, and encourage them that this is a time of new possibilities, not only of loss.
Career Exploration by Vicki Tillman is practical and, though it seems simple, requires a lot of effort from the student. Teens who work through it carefully will have learned a lot about themselves and about possible options for their future. Moms nearing the end of their homeschooling years can benefit from it as well. This is one the simplest, least expensive, and yet most thorough guidance products available to homeschoolers and is something every homeschool family should explore. You can purchase Career Exploration from 7 Sisters Homeschool.
For more about this aspect of homeschooling your teens, see You, Your Teen’s Guidance Counsellor or check out my many articles and reviews about different aspects of guidance counselling.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this workbook and, as usual, am not compensated for this review.