Saturday, September 15, 2012


As a follow up to the last post which was written by my father in law. From the Teachable Moment October 1997

"The sleepy dog looked up at the veterinarian-her vision becoming blurred by the anesthetic. Wait, was there two of the veterinarian? No, just the kindly doctor and her shadow- a homeschool kid checking out her work.

My topic for this month is shadowing. One of the suggestions from a seminar I attended on homeschooling older kids was that it's best to get them out of the house on a regular basis. Late middle school and early high school is a great time for them to start checking out careers. Shadowing differs from apprenticing in that in the former, the student will follow someone around and observe the work involved. This is usually done on a short term basis, maybe for a few hours a week for a month. In apprenticing, the student would actually work with the selected person and learn skills on a long term basis.

Since Jared is interested in becoming a veterinarian, we felt it was important that he obtain an accurate picture of what the job entails. Also, Shelley thinks she might have an interest in dentistry, so again, we wanted her to get in there and observe.

It's always easier to set this type of project up with someone you know. However, depending on what your child is interested in, you might have to use contacts around you to put you in touch with the right people or even approach someone cold turkey. Be prepared to do a little bit of education on homeschooling and let the person know your student has expressed an interest in their career. It should go without saying that if your child doesn't have an interest in doing something like this, you shouldn't force them. You would not want to take up someone's valuable time with a teenager's bad attitude.

It's a good idea to check on the appropriate clothing to be worn. Also, review manners and as many situations as you can think of so your homeschooler will be able to handle himself with ease and confidence.

Expressions of appreciation to all involved will probably go a long way towards making it easier for a future homeschooler to get her foot in the door. There's also the possibility that shadowing might turn into an apprenticing avenue for the student.!


  1. I appreciate your information about shadowing and apprenticeships. My daughter is in 7th grade now, but I've already begun the process of researching how we will homeschool high school. In the process I came across your great suggestion! I thought I would also share a site I found that has some other information about homeschooling high school both from a parent's point of view and the students called I intend to collect all the info I can before my daughter gets to high school. Be assured your idea of shadowing and apprenticing is now on my list. Thanks again for a great idea.

  2. Linda, thank you for posting and sharing another site. I will definitely check that out and pass on the recommendation. And I commend you for getting ready for high school early! That is the most effective way to do it. I had way too many people over the years calling me after the child was already in high school or even close to graduation. Informing yourself of all options enables you to be able to pick and choose options. A number of homeschoolers in FL missed out on Bright Futures for the first few years because they weren't seeking the information early. Best wishes!