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.!