I was with my nephew this past weekend; I haven’t seen him in ages! He just graduated from high school and will be attending college in the fall. He doesn’t know what he wants to study, or what he wants to major in. Some people think these are the same thing. It got me thinking about how we can encourage our high school students to know what to aim for after high school. Very few people that I know, or have run into, actually know at a very young age what they want to do when they grow up. I asked my nephew what his interests were and what subjects he did well in in high school, he replied he liked history. How do I encourage him in that field of study? He could be a teacher, or employed in a museum or maybe eventually the director of a museum…? I don’t know about you, but I changed my major several times while in undergraduate school. One semester I changed it 3 times! But, it was always in the sciences. My husband started his undergrad in petroleum engineering, then went to economics and now works in the world of main-frame computers.
Is a college degree the “be all and end all”? No. But more and more employers are requiring a college degree on their applications. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other professions do not require a college degree … it is a profession where one can make a good living. Many people I know are not working in the field of their major. Nurses, doctors, accountants, teachers, the majority of them, yes. Musicians, historians, sciences, not very many. My son-in-law has masters in music/percussion and he works in IT and web design. My son has a degree in philosophy of religion, and he works in IT. Another son has a degree in history and works in the accounting department of a business. I have two daughters with a degree in sociology, and they are working for a coffee company. I think we all know people like my kids!
So, how do we encourage our students in high school? It would be a good idea to give your student a lot of diversity in subjects, along with the core, to see where their interests and abilities lie. In the 11th and 12th grade years, you can hone in on their areas of interest where they will be motivated and can dig into the subject matter and be self-motivated to study on their own. The ACT helped me see that I was good in science (I scored really high in science and lower in the other subjects, abysmally low in the sociologies!) It might help to have your student take the ACT to see where his strengths are, as well.
We have the unique opportunity as home school parents, to be purposeful in the training of our children to help them develop character, learn to discern truth, as well as how to be a productive member of society and to be successful in life. There is a joy to the parent that sees their adult child as independent, self-supporting and enjoying what he/she does.