Friday, February 3, 2012

Planning for High School: Part 1 Aptitude Tests

I would love to think that the subject of planning for high school is a ways down the road for me.  In reality, time is speeding by.  I know that even a little knowledge now will help me down the road for when the planning really counts.

So, for my own reference when I need it, and for anyone else who may benefit, here are some sites that will help with planning for high school.


Disclaimers
Please note that while I understand that not everyone intends or is suited to go on to higher learning or earn a degree, the information I am sharing is intended for those whose children are on track to attend college after high school.

I am in no way an expert in the way of planning out high school for homeschool.  These are my mental notes in blog form.  Feel free to swim around in my mental-ness.

Please note that these companies and websites have not asked nor compensated me in return for this post.  I cannot and will not personally vouch for the information found on other websites nor should the links I include be interpreted as any sort of personal endorsement of websites or products.

There, now that that's out of the way...

First, its helpful before you even begin to have your child take some sort of aptitude test.  This will help identify strengths, weaknesses, and skills at which your child is likely to succeed.  Some children are like my husband who knew what he wanted to do from the time he was 8.  And, little Jimmy's mother down the street knows her child so well she can accurately guess what general career field he will enter.  Meanwhile, my 10 year-old's plans for the future rarely go beyond when he's allowed to play Wii or his curiosity of what's for dinner that night, and his strengths and interests change from week to week.  If your child has no idea what he or she would like to do as a profession, an aptitude test can help identify fields of study and careers which would fit their talents and personality. 

The information gained from an aptitude test can be helpful in planning out the course for study through high school whether you want to build upon the strengths and interests discovered, or if you want to help shore up the weak spots.  An aptitude test can be taken in the middle school years to help plan out high school classes.  Or, it can be done in high school to help with planning for college.  Either way, it can be a valuable tool.

Keep in mind that tests like these should be used as a tool and not the law - give them some attention, but don't place too much weight on their interpretation.  A test result shouldn't trump our children's desires when it comes to pursuing an interest or a career.  And, be aware that some of these tests are intended only to point one in a general direction, not as a sure indication that the test taker should pursue a course of study or even that he or she would succeed in it.

Here is a list of various aptitude tests and articles.
  
Keirsey.com offers a free personality test to take and a free temperament report.  The results are only as accurate as you are honest in answering the questions.  How might this help?  Well, say you score high in an area that reveals you are very social and gain a lot from personal interactions.  A conclusion might be then drawn that you shouldn't pursue a career that will involve lots of time working at a desk by yourself.  Its also just kind of a fun test to take.

The Keirsey Campbell site offers both the Keirsey II and the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey for a fee of $29.95.  I understand the CISS is used by career counselors to help point people toward a career choice that fits their interests and talents.

Fun Education.com has a free career test online to take.  I was 100 questions in before I noticed it had almost 500 questions to answer!  Still don't know what my perfect career would be....(other than being home with my kids :)

Career Key.org has a career test to take that costs about $10.

Colorwize free online career test.  Your test results are assigned a color which you can then match up to careers that somewhat fit your personality.

Career test US.com looked promising.  For $25 you can take a 30 minute test and then receive a "full-color" career report.  The career report looks a lot like the report I got back x years ago when I took an aptitude test in Jr. High (yup...way back when it was Jr. High, not middle school).

Holland Codes.com has an extensive list of tests to take and a great breakdown of what the different tests include.  I found this site very helpful, but it took a little digging to find exactly what I was looking for.  This link on the site was specifically for homeschools.    Do a little digging on this site and I think you'll find some great resources for aptitude and career testing.

Follow Your Calling - Endorsed by Focus on the Family this is an assessment to measure your gifts and help direct you in making choices about your education, career, and life purpose.

Career Direct Online - An assessment that combines Biblical principals with career guidance.  $80.  Presented by Crown Financial Ministries.  Also available through BJUP testing and evaluation.

BJUP Interest Explorer testing - administered in conjunction with the Iowa Test of Educational Development.
That seems a decent list to start with.  But, even if your student takes an aptitude test and continues to have no clue as to what career to pursue, no worries.  People's interests change so who's to say that the career that interests your 6th grader today will be his same interest when he's in 10th grade?  The hope is that the aptitude tests will at least point you in a general direction of concentration - sciences, arts, mechanical, inter-personal, etc.  Then, you can build a high school plan around a certain cluster or subject of classes concentrating on their interests and those needed for college preparation.

Part 2:  What classes?  coming soon...

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