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Best Homeschool Resources for Planning a College and Career

Mom and homeschooled teen

Currently, two of my kids are in high school. One is taking dual-enrollment courses through a local Christian university. The other is not. One has college aspirations after graduating high school. The other has his sights set on the military. One entered her teen years not knowing exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up. The other decided his long term goal before turning four. (No joke.)

They are very different teens with very different personalities. Consequently, their career paths will be quite different.

When creating each of their 4-year high school plans, I could not cookie-cutter my way through. I had to design a unique educational experience for both of them. I had to create plans that would not only ensure they met our state's high school graduation requirements but that would prepare them for their post-secondary years.
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With the exception of general courses like Algebra and Grammar & Composition, I wanted to help them select electives and extracurriculars that would not only produce a quality high school transcript, but ones that would better prepare them for whatever God had for their lives in the future.

Best Homeschool Resources for Planning a College and Career #homeschool #highschool #collegeprep

Admittedly, it was easier creating a 4-year plan for my son who knew exactly what path he intended to take upon graduating. After doing some basic research online and crowdsourcing from his current CAP commanders, I came up with a list of classes that would be beneficial for a soon-to-be-soldier and that would help him step into the military at a higher tier.

It was a tad bit more difficult to create a plan for my daughter. Obviously, since she was my first teen to enter the high school years, I experienced a slight learning curve. Couple that with the fact that she, like most teens her age, had not yet decided which college to go to or what to study when she got there. Much of my initial planning efforts were spent helping her match her passions and gifts with career possibilities.

My two teens exemplify both ends of the college and career spectrum. Those who have a well-developed vocational plan and those who do not. To be clear, having a plan is not right or better. Actually, it's quite natural for teens to not know exactly what they want to do in life. And what's more, statistics show that 80% of college students change their major at least once before graduating; and only 27% of graduates end up actually working in their chosen field of study.

Teen reading on living room floor

A high schooler does not have to have a ten-year-plan. (Golly, I'm 40-years-old and I barely have a one-year-plan.) But it's helpful for them to have a little bit of direction. And that's where we come in, Homeschool Moms. We can help our indecisive ones figure out the college or career path that is right for them. 

Here is a list of my favorite homeschool resources for planning a college and career.

Print Resources


Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling High School- From the author of my most favorite homeschooling book, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, this high school edition is a reference style guide that tackles all the unique struggles of homeschooling high schoolers, from preparing your middle schooler for more independent learning to applying for college scholarships. This is the book I keep coming back to for practical tips and step-by-step instruction. 



Brave High School Record-Keeping for Homeschoolers- In this 22-page digital pack, you'll have everything you'll need to keep a 4-year record of grades for your homeschooling high schooler in order that you can curate a paper trail, tabulate grades, award credit, and create a fail-proof transcript that can be submitted to any post-high school admissions office.


Blog Posts and Articles


HSLDA Homeschooling Through High School- Homeschool Legal Defense Association has compiled a list of helpful articles and links for navigating the high school years. Some are free to view, others require HSLDA membership to access. 

The Complete List of High School Classes- Struggling to know what courses to include in your child's 4-year high school plan? Prepscholar has compiled a large list of traditional high school courses to help you brainstorm. 

The Ultimate List of High School Credit Courses- This is a similar course list put together by a homeschool mom. As an added bonus, the compiler has included suggested credit hours for each class based on the time commitment required to complete the course and its difficulty level. 

Homeschool for High School Pinterest Board- Feel free to browse my high school Pinterest board where I've curated a collection of high school-related blog posts and articles.  

Helpful Assessments


The following are online assessments to help your teen discover their natural aptitudes, strengths and struggles, and personal experiences in order to determine potential career paths that might be a good fit for their unique personality. Please remember that these assessments are only guides--tools to assist a student who hasn't quite figured out what they'd like to do with their life after high school. Tests should never have the final say. There are often many other untestable factors that should also be taken into consideration when determining a person's career path.

Aptitude Tests

Career Aptitude Test

123 Test- This test is picture-oriented.

Career Direct- Unlike the other assessments listed, this test from Crown Financial Ministries is not free. But also unlike the others, it takes a person's spiritual gifts into account when determining their possible career choices. 

Personality Tests

Myers-Briggs 16 Personalities

Strength Finders- This is not a free assessment. When taken through the website, the test is $49.99. However, if you purchase the book StengthsFinder 2.0, which is considerably cheaper than the test, you'll be given a one-time redeemable code to access the test for free. 

Spiritual/Ministry Tests

SHAPE Test- Like its name suggests, this test combines your Spiritual gifts, Heart (passions), Abilities, Personality, and Experiences in order to help a person determine God's purposes for his/her life.

Spiritual Gifts Survey- This test helps a person determine which of the spiritual gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 28-30, and Ephesians 4:11 are his/her most dominant. 

Teen doing homework for homeschool

Other Helpful Resources


College Search- The College Board has put together a special search tool to help a student find the right college for him/her based on the following categories: test scores and selectivity, type of school, location, campus/housing opportunities, majors/programs offered, sports and activities, academic credit, tuition and fees, support availability, and campus diversity. 
 
Occupational Outlook Handbook- This is an excellent resource from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It provides a summary of thousands of potential careers including the average salary, work hours, employment rate, and entry-level educational requirements to help a person determine if a degree and/or job is a good fit, will have longevity, and produce a competitive salary. 

Career Profiles- This is a similar website that provides a summary of thousands of potential careers including the average salary, work hours, employment rate, and entry-level educational requirements. Additionally, it also gives a detailed description of the job responsibilities of each and provides a shortlist of related career fields. 

What can I do with my degree?- Some degrees can be applied to multiple careers. For instance, a B.A. in English could be used in a number of different job fields: from journalism to public relations, creative writing to web content managing. This site pairs common degrees with careers that require those degrees.  

Dual Enrollment- Nearly every state offers some form of dual enrollment, allowing students to earn both high school and college credits at the same time. Regulations vary from state to state, however. A couple of states, like mine, actually offer free college tuition for high schoolers. This site details the dual enrollment policies and requirements for all fifty states.

A Final Word

Planning a college or career path is a big undertaking. It's made especially difficult when a teen feels the pressure to decide right now! By identifying your child's unique skills and passions and by doing just a little bit of research, you can create a basic post-high school framework that will help reduce the struggle. 

3 comments:

  1. This is wonderful and very timely. Just had conversations today with our 14 year old, trying to plan his next 4 years. And a 21 year old who has decided to change direction. Thank you so much!

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  2. Thank you for this! My oldest is entering 6th grade and homeschooling high school really makes me nervous. We appreciate all the help and advice!

    ReplyDelete