Many homeschooled teens will graduate from high school not sure what they want to do with the rest of their lives. That is okay.
Teens don't need to choose their career path or ministry call before they graduate, but they should explore options. Some will know when they graduate. Others have known for years. While still other teens will change their minds later.
The Lord has a call for each man or woman He has created. He loves us and we each have a purpose. No one will feel completely fulfilled if they are not in the center of God's will, so the most important thing you can do for your sons and daughters is to teach them to cultivate a strong relationship with Jesus so they can know His plan.
With that said, high school is a great time to explore careers. Teach your teens to show interest in the careers of all the people in their lives, asking questions and learning more about these careers. I created some simple forms for my teens to fill out on various careers by interviewing people they know whose careers interest them.
I even did some podcasts so my children could learn more about careers: Exploring Careers in Business & Rescue and Exploring Careers in Real Estate and the Pool Business. But, there's more that you can do than just listen to people talk about their careers. You can try careers out through apprentices and volunteering. You can also explore options through online surveys.
Volunteering at church and in the community is a great way to cultivate skills and to explore careers. My son joined the sound team, setting up equipment and mixing sound for the worship team. He learned about sound waves and electronics. Now, he is majoring in Electrical Engineering at college.
All of my children volunteered in various areas that allowed them to explore different things like teaching children, mentoring peers, leading Bible studies, coaching sports, singing, playing instruments, giving tours, tutoring, photography, catering, and planning large events. All of these volunteer activities developed leadership skills, as well as practical abilities useful in their chosen careers or ministries.
Apprenticeships are another option. Medical and dental offices, business offices, car mechanics' garage, classrooms, and museums are all great places for a homeschooled teen to apprentice at. So much can be learned in those situations, especially if your son or daughter is leading to more of a vocation like plumbing, business ownership, or court reporting.
One thing my younger kids loved when we explored careers was to do assessment tests online. They did a DISC Personality Inventories to discover Personality Types. Once they discovered their personality, it listed career suggestions. They jotted down anything they were interested in. We also did Skills, Interests, and Values Assessments together. These all offered career suggestions, as well as college major suggestions.
That brings me to the college question. Should your teen go to college?
When I grew up, college was not an option in our family. We were all expected to graduate from college and all my own children have gone to college.
However, today the world of academia is very anti-Christian and pro-anything that God forbids. It is a very hard environment for Christian young people to hold on to their faith.
On the other hand, many careers require a bachelors degree, or an advanced degree. In other careers, a college degree will allow for career advancement in the chosen field.
Bottom line: many homeschool grads will go to college, so be sure to prepare for that option academically and spiritually. Make sure your students can defend the faith and walk them through any doubts in high school. Give them a strong academic foundation and explore college options. Don't assume they will go to college, but be sure to leave the door open if they would like to or need to go.
Career Exploration is part of my Economics, Finances, and Business course, a one-credit high school class. If you just want to purchase the Career Exploration section, it's available for sale separately: Career Choices and The College Decision. You can click on the titles to learn more about each book. We have had great success and lots of fun exploring careers this way.
Don't worry if you homeschool graduate isn't sure what they want to do. I am happy if they've narrowed it down to 10 to 12 possibilities. Explore careers with your teen, but don't pressure them. It is fun to learn about other careers! Enjoy that exploration with your teens.