by Charity Silvers
When I saw that CHEA’s Parenting & Homeschool Conference was going to include an opportunity for high school students to take the ASVAB vocational aptitude exam, I was really excited as taking similar vocational testing when I was in high school made a big impact on my life. I am hopeful that many students can participate in this testing to give them a better idea of what vocations are best suited to their skills, aptitudes, and interests. Let me tell you my story so you can see how the Lord worked all things together for good in my 16-year-old life, even though I thought otherwise.
I was born and raised in Glendale, CA and our family lived in one house from the time I was three-and-a-half years old until a month after my sixteenth birthday. That was all I knew. But in March of my sophomore year of high school, our family moved to Palmdale, over 50 miles away. I stayed with family friends to finish out the school year since I was in a lot of college prep classes. At the end of that year, my parents came and picked me up. I finished my last two years of high school in Palmdale. For someone my age, this was a difficult transition to make, but I was resilient, and our family trusted the Lord that this was best for all of us.
I need to add some background here so you can better understand what comes next. My ninth grade Algebra teacher suggested I go to college and major in math and get a job at JPL. So, not knowing anything else, that’s the course I pursued in high school, taking Geometry during summer school and the second year of Algebra in tenth grade. But then life changed. I was now at a different high school. It was during the summer before my eleventh grade year that my high school counselor looked at the vocational testing that had been done alongside the normal standardized testing that is given in public schools. He asked if I had ever considered taking an accounting class. I told him that I hadn’t, as back in Glendale, those who took the business classes were on a different track than those who took college prep classes.
Since I had room for an elective, we put Accounting I in my schedule along with Trigonometry and Analytical Geometry! Looking back at it now, I’m so thankful that the counselor made that suggestion. I fell in love with accounting and wanted to pursue becoming a CPA. During the second half of my junior year, I took a business machines class where I learned to operate the 10-key calculator by touch; something that would never have happened if it was taking college prep classes in Glendale!
In my senior year they ordered an advanced accounting textbook, which I completed as an independent study course. I also worked as an aide to the bookkeeper in the student store for my sixth period class, gaining much practical experience with handling money and recording entries in the pegboard accounting system.
After high school, I went on to attend a small Christian liberal arts college to pursue a business degree with an emphasis in accounting. After spending a lot of money on the textbook for the first-year accounting course, I was ready to throw it out the window of my dorm room! At least half of it was material I had covered the previous year in high school. I appealed to the accounting professor and after orally testing me on the content, I was allowed to audit the first semester and only attend the class three of the course’s five days each week to be sure I didn’t miss anything. After graduation, I accomplished what it took to get licensed as a CPA, and in a way, the rest is history!
In 2019, CHEA had a need for someone with an accounting background to manage the Finance Office for the annual convention, so I stepped in to fill that role and, in the process, felt the Lord leading me to serve as the Treasurer of CHEA’s Board of Directors. For me, this is my dream volunteer position as I’m able to use my skills and talents to help CHEA advance the kingdom of God by protecting, promoting, and providing support for private home education in California.
It is not often that a public school education allows for so much personalized instruction, but I think the root of it for me was the vocational testing that prompted my counselor to suggest an accounting course.
By having homeschooled our five children, I know how blessed parents are to be able to individually guide each child in the path that the Lord has for them. Our children didn’t take any such vocational aptitude tests, but they eventually figured out what they wanted to pursue in life sometime during their high school and college years. While I’m a firm believer that God is the one who orchestrates our lives, I think it would have been a bit more helpful if our children had the opportunity to take a test like the ASVAB early in their high school years. It could have provided valuable information and options sooner in life. In that way, the rest of their high school education could have been catered more to the direction they wanted to go!
CHEA is pleased to offer the ASVAB free to students tenth grade through 23 years of age on Thursday, July 13 at 8:00 a.m. While the assessment is free, registration is required. You can find out more about ASVAB testing and other great options for kids (and parents) of all ages on Thursday at CHEA’s Parenting and Homeschooling Conference on our website.