Few questions can bring about more anxiety to a young person than the dreaded…”What are you going to be when you grow up?” I don’t know about you, but when I was younger there were many thoughts that swirled in my head about what I might like to do someday. The problem is, aside from what they see on television or read in books, our children usually have little experience in the fields that they have an interest in. All too often this can lead to what we see on many college campuses, or in skilled trade fields, young people who are dissatisfied with the career path they chose. This is usually because they really didn’t know what they were getting in to.
This is where prayerfulness and resourcefulness come in handy for those of us who are homeschooling high school. We can have a greater impact than we realize in helping our children make the right choice for their desired career path when we help them consider interships.
Interning, or job shadowing, has lost some of the popularity it once enjoyed. However, this is such an undervalued piece of education that we can encourage our young people to pursue. Why should your student intern or job shadow during their homeschooling years?
4 Tips for Homeschool Internship Success
It gets their hands dirty
Going on scene and really getting to the dirt of a job shows our children what they can really expect. If your child thinks they may want to go into the medical field but they don’t like needles, they will see this pretty quickly. If your child is interested in robotics, but sees that there may be some boredom in the day to day execution of the job, they will see this when observing the hands-on inter workings.
It opens their eyes
One of the best ways to do a job is to learn from different people doing the same job. If your child is interested in engineering, it is a good idea to let them shadow a number of different engineers. This way they can learn from different personalities and see the tasks through different lenses. The same goes for whatever career field they may be interested in. Often, our children think too narrowly, they can fail to realize that a title such as “lawyer” can have hundreds of different specialties.
It helps them specialize
Once your child is able to get their feet wet and see a career path from the inside it helps them decide the intricacies of a title they may one day want to assume. Rather than starting their college days with a very broad “general education” major, they have already had some time to think about what specialty best suits their interests and abilities.
It lets them test the waters
While still under the guidance of parents, your child is able to try out those wings. They can use the time during an internship to test if a chosen path is really the best fit for them, or if they should make an about face and go back to the drawing board. It is much less painful to make this decision after a month of an internship than after thousands of dollars spent on college tuition.
Now that you know a few reasons why your student should get an internship or a job shadowing position, let’s talk about how to get started. First, think about who you know and use your resources. Most professionals are eager to share their knowledge with a budding student excited to learn. Using a student who is available during school hours may be an answer to prayer if they have tasks that could be managed by an intern. It is highly unlikely that your student would be securing a paid internship, remember, this is about the experience. However, your student will learn about professionalism and workplace expectations, it is almost a job readiness program that you don’t have to purchase curriculum for.
Ask around, start by asking if your student could shadow someone you know for the day, your pediatrician, your neighbor, your pastor, whatever role your child is interested in. Once your child demonstrates the level of maturity needed to do further shadowing you can approach the idea of an internship and hopefully secure them the means to an educational relationship.
One last thought, an internship looks fantastic on your homeschool transcripts. You are able to show the naysayers that homeschoolers not only are capable, dependable, and intelligent, but they are resourceful and are sure about the path of study they are seeking.
As you plan out your homeschool year, consider how an internship can greatly benefit not only your student’s current state, but also their future college and career choices. Help them secure the peace that comes from having made the right choice.
What types of internships might your high schooler be interested in?