Tips for Career Exploration for Teens
Panic? Pressure? Dejection? Irritation?
Do you feel those when someone asks you, “What are you planning to do after high school?”
Help is here! These 10 Tips for Career Exploration for teens can help you find the answers for YOUR life!
I’ve been serving as a homeschool career advisor for almost 20 years. I’ve learned 10 important Career Exploration tips as I've worked with high schoolers that will help you as you think about your future:
1) Yes, God does have a plan for you.
2) Don’t waste your energy trying to convince yourself otherwise.
(Download the free, quick study guide: Career Exploration in the Bible for some examples of God's plans for young people.)
3) Your career plans are not supposed to be as awesome as your older brother’s or your best friend’s.
That's because you just THINK their opportunities are more awesome than yours...you are just looking at them through *darkened lenses*.
4) Your career plans are supposed to be just right for you.
5) Whatever God chooses for you is awesome, anyway:
YOUR kind of awesome.
6) God doesn’t make mistakes.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
7) There are 2 ways to come to trust these things.
One way is to know God better. (The more time you spend with Him, the more you’ll understand what He’s doing in your life.)
8) The other way is to know YOU better.
How do you do that? Career Exploration!!!
9) You need to truly invest time in understanding yourself- your talents (yes, God gave you talents), your interests, your personality, your values.
That’s what Career Exploration is all about!
10) You need to truly invest time in examining what God has already done in your life.
He’s giving you a message, He’s dropping hints.
Who are your role models?
What have you already experienced in life?
The 7 Sisters Career Exploration Bundle is a comprehensive guide for your Career Exploration process.
Download it, pray about it, and get busy exploring! God has plans!!
Tips for Career Exploration for Teens
Homeschool parents want to do an excellent job preparing their teens for life after graduation.
Many of you have asked us for help in doing that, particularly when it comes to a solid, comprehensive Career Exploration plan.
High School Career Exploration Curriculum Bundle
Introducing a NEW 10-component curriculum bundle in our ebookstore, available for immediate download for $9.85 (10% off the cost of each ebook purchased separately).
Here's what's causing all the excitement:
Career Exploration might just be the most important element of your teen's high school experience.
Instead of graduating from high school with a shrug of the shoulders and a sigh of, "Well, I guess I need to figure out what I want to do with my life now..." your teen should be intentionally exploring areas of interest, strength and talent. He or she should be seeking God, seeking wise counsel from trusted people, and trying out different types of job fields.
High school is the perfect time to go exploring! You need a comprehensive high school career exploration curriculum.
The High School Career Exploration Curriculum Bundle from 7Sisters includes TEN components for success:
- Step by Step Through Career Exploration (providing a basic checklist of steps for you to follow)
- Career Exploration Questionnaire
- Career Exploration Workbook (31 pages)
- Successful Experiential Resume Writing (to create a resume that captures worthwhile experiences BEFORE that first paying job)
- Successful Cover Letters (a first impression is SO important)
- Introductory Interview Skills for Teens (a practical and empowering 9-page resource)
- Writing Your Personal Mission Statement (14 page workbook)
- Career Exploration in the Bible (a fun look at David, Joseph, Mary...and yourself!)
- Collected Posts on Career Exploration from 7Sisters' extensive blog post archive
- Collected Posts on Financial Literacy (an important part of preparation for adulthood)
Purchased individually, these resources would be a bargain at $10.95.
(Actually, several of these are available for FREE download...you'll have to click on the links to EXPLORE and learn more!)
Buy the BUNDLE and get a 10% discount --
pay just $9.85 for a comprehensive high school career exploration curriculum!
All 10 .pdf files download immediately in a zip (compressed) file that can easily be opened using any operating system on your device.
High School Career Exploration Curriculum Bundle
High School Career Exploration
Beware of mindlessly accumulating meaningless high school credits for the homeschool transcript. Make every course count- not only for graduation but also for life preparation! Evaluate each course through the Career Exploration lens: Will this specific course help my child explore career options or prepare for career training?
Here are 3 ways to evaluate transcript courses through a Career Exploration lens:
1) Evaluate whether the LEVEL of the course helps with Career Exploration or Preparation
For example, if your child is seriously interested in the Sciences or Computers, his transcript courses for Science and Technology need to be at least at a College Prep level (click here for an explanation of levels).
If he is gifted in Writing or Arts but will have NO time for his gifted area because ALL his time will be spent trying to keep up with a high-powered Science, then an Average High School level science is a better stewardship of his time? For that writer, an Honors level Language Arts will be the wisest use of time, even if his mathematics needs to be leveled down to Average High School in order or him to have time to get that Honors level of reading and writing completed.
Put your level-power in the areas of giftedness for the best Career Exploration experience.
2) Tweak course choices to make the most of interest areas
For example: If your homeschool high schooler shows giftedness in computers, make the most of your Technology credit or Science elective with some in-depth Coding or Programming courses. Make sure his maths continue through Pre-Calculus or Calculus.
If your teen is exploring Psychology, make sure his Social Science credit IS Psychology, choose Human Development for his Health credit, and History and Philosophy of the Western World for his World History credit. These are all courses that prepare a teen for college Psychology majors.
Or if your teen shows business interests, make sure his maths include Statistics and his Consumer Math credit is in-depth with Financial Literacy.
3) Include an out-of-the-box credit each year
Choose one course each year that incorporates thoughts and experiences that are totally alien to your homeschool high schooler. This not only broadens his experience, it increases his ability to adapt to new things AND just might open doors for new hobbies or interests- or maybe just be great life preparation.
For example, Public Speaking course, Early Childhood Education, a Music Appreciation, Home Economics, Drama, and Apologetics are great examples of out-of-the-box courses that enrich the transcript, broaden the teens’ personalities, and provide good life preparation.
Of course, one of the most important out-of-the-box courses must be Career Exploration. 7 Sister's comprehensive Career Exploration Bundle is an extraordinary choice for this course.
For more information on what a transcript needs to include, click here.
High School Career Exploration
What My High Schoolers Did for Career Exploration
In my decades as a homeschool mom, my teens and I have done a LOT of high school Career Exploration! I wanted my high schoolers to be well-prepared for life after homeschooling AND I didn’t want to spend tons of money on college unless they had a pretty good idea of what they were doing.
In freshman or sophomore year, each of my high schoolers completed our Career Exploration course. Also in each year, they took courses that developed their interests and talents AND they completed contrasting courses (totally out-of-the-box courses). These courses served to enrich their transcripts, expand their interests, and broaden their personalities.
Here’s what my 5 high schoolers did for Career Exploration:
High Schooler 1:
For contrasting courses he studied philosophy, psychology, human development, and critical thinking. He also played flute in the homeschool orchestra and guitar in a local rock band.
Micah got his BA in mathematics/computer science. He went on to use those skills in earning his PhD in philosophy. He teaches philosophy at college level (and co-wrote 7 Sisters History and Philosophy of the Western World).
The 7Sisters High School Career Exploration BUNDLE is available in the ebookstore! The resources in this bundle will delight you and your teen!
High Schooler 2:
My second son was interested in history and politics. We had SO much fun with this! He enriched his basic American history with in-depth studies of the Civil War (including tons of field trips, reading real books, writing research papers, experiencing period music and watching documentaries and movies). His world history included in-depth studies of Russia (including reading real books, writing research papers, experiencing Russian music, and learning Russian). He kept abreast of current events and studied our American documents in-depth to expand his experiences in politics. We also started a homeschool Student Congress as well as a Debate and Public Speaking Team to add to his political experiences.
For contrasting courses, he studied philosophy, psychology, and human development. He played clarinet in the homeschool orchestra, sang in the homeschool choir, and studied art and sketching.
Nathan earned his BA and MA in History, taught English at a university in South Korea, and is currently working on his PhD in Comparative Literature (combines history and literature) at University of Maryland.
From a young age, my daughter was determined to be a photographer. She specialized in art theory, drawing, and photography. During her junior year, she began taking photography and graphic design courses at the local community college, along with her academics at home. When she graduated from high school, she concurrently graduated from the community college with certificates in photography and graphic design.
Her contrasting courses in high school were early childhood education, philosophy, psychology, human development, Debate and Public Speaking Team, drama, and homeschool choir.
Joanna earned a double BA in Photography and Graphic Design. She has her own photography business serving individuals and businesses.
High Schooler 4:
Son #3 loved a LOT of things: filmmaking, writing, reading, drama, music, and art. We felt no need of “narrowing down” his interests, so he earned high school credits in all the above. We started a homeschool cinematography club, he was in numerous drama productions, took art classes, sang in homeschool choir, learned several kinds of creative writing styles. In junior year, he began to take Visual Production courses at the local college.
His contrasting courses included philosophy, psychology, human development, public speaking, and critical thinking.
Ezra completed Visual Production courses at the community college then transferred to Lancaster Bible College, where he earned a double BA in Middle School Education and Religion. He teaches history to middle schoolers and produces videos on the side.
Son #4 had diffuse interests through high school. We spent the first 2 years of high school exploring broad topics- solid academics with emphasis in language arts, various languages (Spanish, Latin, Russian), drama, choir, sports. By junior year, his interests had narrowed to Music (choir, voice lessons, guitar lessons, playing on church worship team and in rock band), language arts, and drama.
His contrasting courses were psychology, philosophy, critical thinking, apologetics, human development, public speaking.
Seth has just finished his freshman year at Cecil College as a Music major.
The many rich courses all my homeschool high schoolers experienced help enrich their transcripts, broaden their personalities, and narrow their career interests. Starting off with a solid Career Exploration course and completing many different types of courses helped prepare them for wise choices in college.
What my High Schoolers Did for Career Exploration
Career Exploration Curriculum
It is vital that your homeschool high schoolers complete a comprehensive Career Exploration curriculum so that they can make wise choices about the future!
A comprehensive look at a Career Exploration will include experiences in:
- Role models: Which people have been an influence on your teens? How?
- Self-knowledge: What are your teens’ gifts, talents, and interests? What is their God-given personality? What jobs fit these gifts, interests and personality?
- Experiences: What have your high schoolers’ life experiences taught them? Do some of life's experiences point your teen toward a specific career (or away from a specific career)?
- Values: What values are important to your teen? Is is religion? family? money? adventure? climbing the ladder? predictability?
- Owning it: How do they take ownership of what God is teaching them? What is a mission statement?
- Research: What are job possibilities? The outlook for a real job in that field? Training needed? Salary expectations?
- Try it out: How can you help your teen learn to market themselves for apprenticeships so that they can try out career possibilities? How do they create resumes and cover letters?
7 Sisters Career Exploration Bundle answers these questions!
When your teens complete 7 Sisters’ Career Exploration Bundle, they will have covered in detail all 7 components of a comprehensive Career Exploration curriculum. They will be prepared to follow God’s lead for the next stage in life! Download your Career Exploration Bundle FRIDAY! And keep reading the blog every day this week for lots of great Career Exploration ideas for your homeschool.
Career Exploration Curriculum
Career Exploration is the most important high school credit for your homeschooler.
Career Exploration High School Credit
Even more important than the core courses needed for graduation?
Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and World Languages are all necessary to get your teens their diplomas. HOWEVER, a diploma doesn’t do them much good if they have NO IDEA what to do with it. That’s why Career Exploration is SO important.
Here are 3 reasons homeschooling high schoolers seriously need a solid Career Exploration experience:
1) Career Exploration is important because it helps teens steward themselves.
God created each child with unique gifts and abilities. He also gave them tasks to accomplish at each stage of life. The task of adolescence task is to discover and develop these gifts- which is sometimes rather difficult. (Human Development explains how this works.) Many teens have a hard time believing that there is anything special about them, so without a course that guides them through the process of discovery, they may get stuck doing nothing and feeling frustrated.
On the other hand, as they explore work through a comprehensive Career Exploration curriculum and look at different areas of interests and talents, they begin to get excited. They begin to understand God’s work in their lives. AND they begin to begin to find motivation to develop their God-given gifts and talents. That’s good stewardship.
2) Career Exploration is important because it helps homeschool high schoolers to know where to put their efforts: prepare for college or not?
For instance, if a teen has worked through a comprehensive Career Exploration curriculum and truly admits that he LOVES working with his hands but DESPISES textbooks with every fiber of his being, perhaps he is called to train for a trade rather than be miserable for a lifetime with a college degree that steals him away from his God-given gifts.
If a teen reports that he wants to be an engineer, but struggles with Algebra II and Geometry, perhaps God has a different vocation in mind. A solid Career Exploration course will help him explore and discover his gifts and the college major that fits those gifts.
3) Also IMPORTANT: Career Exploration helps YOU!
Why would you dump thousands of dollars into a college education for your teens if they have no idea what they really should be doing? It is a better idea to invest some solid high school time into a great high school Career Exploration course and not lose time and money on a shot in the dark.
To help your teens with their comprehensive Career Exploration course, 7 Sisters is proud to announce the release of the Career Exploration Bundle ! This program guides you and your teen step by step through the Career Exploration process. Watch for announcements and get ready to download this comprehensive, powerful resource for teens.
Career Exploration High School Credit
Theology and Philosophy
Dr. Micah Tillman teaches philosophy at the college level. (He also co-authored 7 Sisters' History and Philosophy of the Western World- a fun way to earn a high school World History credit.) He shared with me why it was important for him to read the Space Trilogy while he was a teen.
The Space Trilogy shows the philosophical and theological possibilities of fiction. They're not just good stories; they're actually enlightening. They changed how I see a lot of issues. As a philosopher, each of the three Space Trilogy books did something important and different for me.
The first book (Out of the Silent Planet) is an excellent preparation for Christians to deal with challenges from astronomy and arguments from "comparative religions." It showed me that Christian theology would have no problem dealing with the discovery of life on other planets, as well as showing how monotheism (the belief that there is only one God) could be true even though most religions believe in many gods.
The second book (Perelandra) showed me a completely new way of looking at the relationship between humans and animals, which not only changed the way I thought about people and their pets, but also prepared me for arguments in my philosophy courses about animals having minds just like humans.
The third book (That Hideous Strength) helped inoculate me against spending my entire life trying to be one of the "in" or "cool" people who are "in charge." And it helped me to understand the importance of the human body and the physical world in Christian theology (as opposed to the Platonist idea that only the mind matters) -- as well as preparing me to understand the importance of the doctrines of the Resurrection and the New Creation (as opposed to the idea that the whole point of Christianity is to "get out of here" and "make it to heaven").
In other words, I think the Space Trilogy significantly improved both my philosophy and theology.
7 Sisters Study Guides for the Space Trilogy illuminate the concepts the C.S. Lewis embedded in each of the books. These guides are excellent Literature choices for homeschool high schoolers earning their World History credit with History and Philosophy of the Western World.
Theology and Philosophy
Does reading a particular author have an impact on a teen's WRITING?
C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy
My son, Nathan (pictured above with his lovely wife), is working on his PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland. I asked him about the influence that C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy had on him when he read it when he was a homeschool middle and high schooler.
Here's what he told me:
I haven't reread most of them (beyond the 2 times I read them in middle/high school) in a long time, but as a middle schooler I wanted to write exactly like Lewis, especially mimicking his style in the Space Trilogy.
Now that I'm reading lots of classical/medieval composition textbooks for my PhD, I'm finding again that imitation of good writers is one of the central strategies of all writing instruction until the 20th century. I intuited that same move as a young'un, and it was C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy that I wanted to imitate. I reckon I was able to build on that approach, picking up styles from other good authors as I grew, and having such good reading helped me do lots of my own writing.
(Note from mom: Most kids don't read the Space Trilogy until junior or senior year. Nathan has always been a precocious reader- conquering the entire Trilogy in middle school.)
Nathan has grown up to be an excellent writer, a skill that he learned from C.S. Lewis' powerful books of the Space Trilogy:
7Sisters Study Guides for the Space Trilogy give guidelines to the way Lewis wrote these books, introducing homeschool high schoolers to steps of writing Myth-Fantasy. An excellent follow up to these study guides is 7Sisters Myth-Fantasy Short Story Writing Guide, which uses these same steps to coach teens through the creation of their own fantasy story.
C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy
WHO should read the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis?
- Homeschool high school students who are learning to be thinkers, creators and do-ers.
- Teens who are not afraid of big ideas and deep thinking.
- Young people who want to learn to be more imaginative and creative.
- AND anyone who enjoys the writings of C. S. Lewis!
Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis
These truly are must-read books for people who want to wrestle with ideas or become culture-changers.
These challenging, delightful, and sometimes terrifying stories wrestle with big theological concepts such as trusting God, challenging evil, and standing up for what is right. Teens will observe the negative effects of some modernisitic philosophies and the positive effects of good philosophic thinking. Deep thoughts set in wonderfully imaginative settings and marvelously unique stories abound!
The study guide collection for high school students to use with C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy is 81 pages (divided into 3 guides) of learning that contains NO busywork - like all of our guides it offers important take-aways from each book.
In Vicki Tillman's C. S. Lewis Space Trilogy Study Guides for high school, homeschooling teens will gain experience in inferential skills and critical thinking. They will explore deep theological concepts. They will confront philosophies that Lewis believed are destructive. AND they will discover C.S. Lewis as a character in the books!
The C. S. Lewis Space Trilogy study guides for high school are adaptable with suggested activities for various high school levels (average high school, college prep, advanced, honors).
The books of the Space Trilogy should be read in order (these must be purchased separately -- CLICK OUR AMAZON AFFILIATE LINK here to purchase online -- and audio recordings of the books are enjoyable as read-alongs):
- Out of the Silent Planet
- That Hideous Strength
The C. S. Lewis Space Trilogy collection of study guides for high school for high school comes complete with:
- explanations of the theological and philosophical concepts in the book
- a guide to Lewis' fantasy-writing format
- comprehension and inferential questions
- answer key
The Space Trilogy is a good high school choice as a stand-alone literature series. For students who are studying History and Philosophy of the Western World, this series is an excellent complementary choice because it will illustrate some of the concepts learned in the course. (We recommend it for the 4th quarter of the school year for History and Philosophy of the Western World students.)
Study guides to accompany each of the 3 books in the Space Trilogy may also be purchased for download individually for $3.99 each.
For more Lewis learning, view the product description for The Chronicles of Narnia for High School here.
To begin at the beginning with the Space Trilogy, click here for the product description for Out of the Silent Planet study guide.
Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis
Homeschool high schoolers should read more C.S. Lewis!
His books prepare teens for the thinking and creativity they will need in order to thrive in our bland, data-driven world.
C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and Space Trilogy are particularly important books for homeschooling high schoolers to experience. In order to truly understand why, let's have a little biology lesson:
Your fleshly body has organs: brain, heart, liver...
And so does your soul: reason is the organ of truth, imagination is the organ of meaning.
That's how C. S. Lewis explains it: One can't dissect an intangible soul like one can dissect a tangible body, but as Christians we understand that we do have a soul. And if a body has organs, doesn't it make sense that a soul would have organs also?
So, reason is the soul's organ of truth.
Imagination is the soul's organ of meaning.
Here's where I'm going with this:
As homeschoolers (and humans) we must take good care of our body. We must feed it well and exercise it well because each organ is important to a healthily functioning body- and train our children to do so, also.
So as homeschoolers (and humans) we must take good care of our soul. We must feed our reason with good information and feed our imagination with great literature, music, and art- and train our children to do so, also.
C. S. Lewis talked about the importance of imagination to his spiritual and intellectual health in Surprised by Joy and Selected Literary Essays.
Lewis exercised his healthy imagination by writing myth/fantasy stories. In fact, it was the work of Lewis (and his friend, J. R. R. Tolkien) that re-popularized the current myth/fantasy genre that is so prevalent in American movies and books today. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, The Space Trilogy, and other books rich in imagination.
These imaginative books have had great impact on many lives. Through Lewis' work, children and adults have come to understand God better, to understand the spirit realm, and the forces of good and evil.
His works illustrate sacrifice, love, courage, and growth.
My own kids developed their rich (and often silly) imaginations through read-alouds of great literature- especially repeated readings of Narnia. An important part of their homeschool high school curriculum was to read Lewis' Space Trilogy, which made a deep impact on their lives.
So, here are some critical homeschool questions:
Is your teen's reading list boring him to tears?
Are your high schoolers learning to write technically perfect essays and papers that are so dull that they bore even themselves?
Are their organs of imagination becoming atrophied by under-use?
If so, then some of their meaning and purpose in life is being lost.
If so, they are short-changed in the things they can accomplish for God's kingdom here in this life.
It takes a healthy imagination to dream God's dreams.
It takes a healthy imagination to serve, to lead, and to grow up well.
Time to feed and exercise your homeschoolers' imagination!
If you have a teen and feel lost, start with 7 Sisters Study Guide for The Chronicles of Narnia, finish the year with his Space Trilogy AND Short Story Writing Guide: Myth/Fantasy. These will walk you and your high schoolers through imaginative adventures full of creativity and deep thought and help prepare them to make a positive impact on their world.