by Keary DeVico
Tis the season of college admissions and graduations! As a career and college counselor this is my favorite season of the year. Homeschoolers launching into their futures, ready to change the world, and serve the Lord makes my heart happy. I absolutely believe that this generation of homeschool graduates has been prepared for a unique mission field in the post-COVID era. But as their parents, how do we prepare them to launch? How do we navigate the staggering debt of higher education, the woke culture of the world, and the myriad of options for careers, while still advising our children on their options that lead to independence?
As their parents, we want to support and encourage whatever path the Lord has prayerfully put on their hearts. Philippians 4:5b-6 gives us the starting point. “… The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” For your high school graduates and young adults, this verse provides security knowing that God will be with them as they prepare for their future. As a Christian I am so grateful for this assurance!
However, there is also a practical side on how to help prepare our teens to explore their path in the later years of high school. My best advice; start the conversations early. In my home this exploration started in middle school with exposure to a myriad of experiences to find things my children loved and things they were naturally gifted at. Both activities they enjoyed as well as the things they didn’t enjoy informed their futures.
Did you know that 70% of our skills come from the challenges we go through? This quote comes from the book What Color is your Parachute? For Teens by Carol Christen. This book is an excellent resource for building a skills and interests inventory for your students and identifying weaknesses as well. There is no better time to shore up our weaknesses and dive deep into developing our strengths than in high school.
Encourage your kids to take a class, try out a new team, or pick up a new hobby. These are all ways that they can challenge themselves. My husband and I would often pick two or three experiences that we thought would benefit our young high school students, and give them the choice to pick one to try. Failure is expected and encouraged! It is important for our children to try things they may not be gifted at or have even ever tried. What great character our children will develop when trying new things!
Another important step in high school is to coach your teens on how to pursue mentors and “try on” career paths that they are interested in. If you have a teen who wants to go into medicine, why not look for a job in a hospital or medical clinic rather than the typical fast food job? Help your teen network in your community and find a person in their desired industry to job shadow for a day. Help them develop a list of questions to ask people in their industry so they can gather information to make an informed decision when it comes to higher education choices. Join together with a couple of families and host a career fair for your homeschool group. Invite parents and community members to join you for a night of discussion on their careers. High school is the perfect time to put this work into figuring out career paths your kids are excited about, and learning what they need to do after graduation to start that profession.
The statistics tell us that nearly seventy five percent of young adults who start college do not know what they want to study. Our students have such an advantage of not only having the Lord as their guide, but also the time available in junior high and high school to explore and expand their skills and abilities. As our youngest daughter approaches her senior year this fall, I am filled with joy and awe at the ways the Lord has guided her in her interests and future goals. I am praying that same joy infuses your families and your graduates as they pursue unique and amazing career paths the Lord is calling them to.
Editor’s Note: One way to determine your child’s interests and potential career path is by taking the ASVAB assessment. CHEA is offering this opportunity free to those in grades 10 and above as part of our Parenting & Homeschool Conference the morning of Thursday, July 13. You can find more information and a link to register on our Convention website.