As a child begins to express his or her interest, try to tailor the education around those interest by reading together about what the child is interested in. Talk about careers in their areas of interest. Take them on field trips to expose them to those occupations.
Then, begin with your middle schoolers giving them a vision for their future by exposing them to resources which will help them see what types of careers would fit their interest and personality. A couple of free resources to help determine your child’s personality, strengths and suitable careers is The Jung Typology Test http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp and the NERIS Type Explorer https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test
Another free resources is https://www.floridashines.org/ which is Florida’s Student Hub of Innovative Educational Services. It includes many resources to learn about different careers, assess your child’s strengths, interests and abilities, and learn about current and future needed occupations.
There are other personality and career assessment tools available for a fee. The most well known are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment and the Strong Interest Inventory Profile. One source for these assessments are Discovery Your Personality https://www.discoveryourpersonality.com/strong-and-mbti-career.html
Another free site to help you start a conversation about the training and skills needed for certain in-demand jobs in Florida is hosted by The Florida Chamber of Commerce at http://launchmycareerfl.org/
Florida Virtual School (FLVS.net) offers a free leadership course for Florida middle and high schoolers taught by Mawi Asgedom. Mawi came to the United States as a refugee from Ethiopia, by way of the Sudan, not speaking a word of English. His parents drilled into their children the need to get an education and to take ownership of their future. His father continued to remind him to work hard and earn a scholarship. Mawi developed a plan for his own future in high school, graduated from Harvard University and then earned a MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.
While most children are naturally motivated to learn, some face challenges which are difficult to overcome. Many young people lack vision, direction and a navigational map for their future. Mawi draws students in with his down-to-earth personal humor and his practical ways to help students focus on their own character, actions and goals. He walks his audience through daily journaling, setting goals and establishing a plan to achieve those goals. He gives students hope through his own experience and helps them develop a personal plan to rise above their own circumstances. He shows them how their choices determine their future and how to develop a roadmap for success.
The Leadership Skills Development course opens for registration June 2019 to home educated students in the 8th grade and above. This course could help shift the responsibility of education from the parent to the student as they learn to take responsibility for their own future.
Here is a link to more information about Mawi Learning. https://www.mawilearning.com/sites/default/files/Biography%20of%20Mawi%20Asgedom.pdf
Look into the courses needed to major in a certain career. If your child likes working with their hands, pushing them toward college may not be the best pathway. Looking ahead and gathering the facts about a career pathway that fits your child’s interest and talents and gives them a vision for their own future.