You may thinks it’s too early to help your middle schooler explore careers. In fact, most parents do not start thinking about this until their children have reached their Junior (sometimes Senior) year of high school. The thoughts of what your child wants to be when they grow up can quickly become bombarded by other concerns. Is my child up to par? Are they learning the correct concepts? How do I know they’re on track? While all of these questions are valid concerns, allow me and my friend Pat Fenner help you consider another perspective.
Why Help Your Middle Schooler Explore Careers?
Think back to your early teen years. Were there things you wanted to do – even if it was just for a season? How often were your childhood dreams overlooked or shadowed by what your parents, teachers, and/or others thought were more important? Now fast forward your life now. Are you operating in your God-given gifts, abilities, and desires? Did it take some navigating to finally nestle in your thing?
I ask all of these questions because the answers to them are the foundation to the original question – why help your middle schooler explore careers? In my chat with veteran homeschooling mom (video at the end of the post), Pat Fenner, we discussed many benefits of early career exploration.
The Benefits of Helping Your Middle Schooler Explore Careers
Your middle schooler can learn about a career before actively pursuing it.
Part of my personal adventures through college include the same song many adults still sing right now today… “I went to college with one major in mind, then changed my mind, only to end up pursuing something I wasn’t totally sold on (or didn’t finish at all)!” Sound familiar? These days, without a full ride, kids will barely be able to afford to waste time pursuing a college education they won’t use. Why not help them learn all they can about possible career choices that interest them? They may even find out that college will not be a necessary path!
Early career exploration can help you creatively plan their academic path.
I have to agree with Pat in her notion that career exploration is one of those “in the box” kind of things. Typically we would tell our kids they can be anything they want to be. However, we can all agree that each child was created unique and built with their own purpose, passions, and mission. It is these latter three characteristics that if cultivated early enough, will blossom and bloom with little to no detours. As homeschoolers, we have the unique opportunity to adjust our children’s academic path according to their interests, desires, and gifts.
Middle schoolers can be equipped with skills that positively impact their future.
Back to the wasting time (and money) point… one of the most recent studies reveal that 44% of undergraduates are unable to define the industry that they would like to work in once they graduate. In addition, over 37,000 undergraduates and 1500 school and college students were asked about their career aspirations and 52% of school students agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I have no idea what I want to do with my career”. Talk about the possibilities of negative impacts!!! By teaching middle schoolers the beginning of decision-making skills, research, and the benefits of exploration, they can dodge a lot of what adults are still battling with right now today.
Exploring different careers can help middle schoolers see what’s available.
Pat said it best, “What you don’t know, you don’t know.” And when it comes to careers, this couldn’t be more true. We’re used to hearing about the popular career and job fields. But there are thousands of career opportunities out there. While it may be nearly impossible to research them all, there are great starting points for narrowing down some options based on your child’s interests, gifts, and natural abilities. In the meantime, you may also find that you child is interested in more than one thing. It’s certainly okay to have multiple passions and pursue them!
Resources to Help Your Middle Schooler Explore Careers
Access a list of careers grouped by similar occupations. It also includes educational requirements, job outlook, salary ranges, work environment etc. This is a very comprehensive tool. Plus it’s free.
An exhausted resources that helps your student learn all about careers. They’ll be able to take career tests, understand self-reflection, explore courses, learn how to write cover letters, apply for scholarships, and more!
Orienteering is a Vocational and Career Exploration class that will help students understand their strengths, challenges and more as they prepare to launch as adults in a complex, digital, and fast-changing world!
This resource was made by yours truly with her own soon-to-be high schooler in mind. Skip taking unnecessary classes and dodge changing majors at college and help your student be prepared to pursue the career of their dreams. This journal isn’t like any other career journal as it takes your student’s on an in-depth adventure. The mini version of the My Career Exploration Journal is available now, and comes with all the bells and whistles. The full digital and paperback copies will be available July 23rd and 30th!
Check out my chat with Pat Fenner about how to help your middle schooler explore careers!
I’d love to hear from you!
Are you currently homeschooling an middle and/or high school student? Have you actively started pursuing their possibly career interests? Let me know in the comments below!