If you’ve been homeschooling for any length of time, you’ve probably discovered that being a home educator means more than simply being a homeschool teacher!
A traditional school setting hosts a variety of “offices” beyond just the teacher. One of these offices is that of the guidance counselor. When students walk into a guidance counselor’s office asking, “What do I do with my life?” they hope to be well-directed toward educational and career options that match their personalities, aptitudes, interests, and abilities.
So, where do homeschool students find this guidance? From you!
Your Role As Guidance Counselor
When it comes to the “What do I do with my life?” question, many homeschool teachers find that they are, in some ways, the best-equipped people on the planet to help their students. They also discover challenges, though, that put them at a disadvantage.
It’s probably safe to say that you know your student better than anyone else in the world. Having watched their talents and interests grow and develop from infancy onward, you know their strengths and weaknesses, how they learn, what makes them tick, and what sparks their enthusiasm. This deep knowledge give you an insight into your student’s potential that no one else will ever have.
Additionally, you are the one with access to every corner of the life of your student. You can coordinate curriculum, extracurricular activities, and even high school jobs or volunteer opportunities to strengthen your student’s interests.
All of this put together makes you the best person on earth to guide your student into future possibilities.
There’s a big catch to this, though: your grasp of the available options is probably rather limited. For instance, are you familiar with the wide range of existing college majors? How much do you know about what’s available through the military or on-the-job training for licensed occupations? Even with what you’re aware of, do you know how to get your student headed in the right direction to access these options?
Unlike a traditional guidance counselor, you not only have gaps in awareness of options, you also lack many of the connections that help pair students with relevant schools, training programs, scholarship and grant opportunities, and more.
What Do You Do About It?
It’s easy to see that your number one need as a homeschool guidance counselor is information. Here are some tips to help you start building your guidance counselor information toolbox.
- Start early. As you contemplate your student’s high school courses based on interests, also start a working list of careers related to your student’s interests, schools and programs connected to those careers, and contacts who can help you along the way.
- Connect with people. Build relationships with people who share your student’s interests. They will know more about the options available and can often help your student process which interests should stay more recreational and which ones truly have career potential.
- Seek out opportunities. High school is a great opportunity for students to look at short-term internships and volunteer or shadowing opportunities within their fields of interest. Ask your new contacts to connect your student to hands-on engagement that gives them a feel for what their interests look like in the work force.
- Avoid extremism. You’ll hear a lot of polarized advice that is either be completely for or against college, trade school, entrepreneurship, etc. All of these are viable options, and there is great advice in each avenue — as well as along other avenues. Your job is to keep the advice balanced so you and your student can process through it all and find out what, ultimately, is best for your student.
Help on the Journey
Hands down, the best help for a homeschool parent is found in resources that have already done a good deal of legwork for you. That’s where 100% SUCCESS WITHOUT COLLEGE: How Your Kids Can Be Financially Independent by Age 22 excels!
100% Success Without College is a guidance counselor training manual for parents and students alike. Within these pages, you’ll find information about a wide range of options available to your student, no matter their interests or aptitude. You’ll find advice about making good educational decisions that combine affordable training and education with solid income potential — while also staying compatible with your student’s true interests.