Editor’s note: While a well-chosen gift will not necessarily lead a child to a career choice, it’s the method the author uses to encourage their God-given talents!
What Christmas gifts do you give a homeschooled child? How do you know if the gift you give them will make a real impact on their life?
This was a question I, a homeschool graduate, asked myself some years ago when I was trying to decide what to buy my youngest sister for Christmas.
I came up with a solution that satisfied both my questions and made an impact in her own preparation for the bigger world–preparation I wished I would have done better in my own teenage days.
The result of my gift proved to me that choosing gifts for homeschoolers is a wonderful way to encourage their God-given talents.
The job market and economy is terrible currently, especially among brick-and-mortar businesses. This means that finding ways to succeed in today’s economy is even more important.
Furthermore, many of the skills needed in today’s job market, especially for young people, are ones that do not always follow naturally from school subjects to the job market and so for children to develop and direct their talents requires extra trial-and-error experience in particular areas to help develop that ability.
So how does this affect gift-giving to the younger generation, especially for homeschoolers? It’s simple really.
One should keep in mind that the gifts given should help them refine and direct their talents and skills.
The children will have been given a gift which will keep on giving and which will hopefully make a big impact on their life and the lives of others.
So how does one choose a gift which will give the same spark of development to the children? To get the answer before making this choice, I suggest asking these five simple questions:
1. What are their favorite school subjects?
Favorite school subjects can translate into the careers of the children when they become adults.
For example, math lovers can translate their skills into computer programming, finance or engineering. History lovers can become writers, record-keepers, or teachers. Science lovers can become astronomers, physicists, or medical doctors.
Start by identifying the favorite school subjects of the child to whom the gift will be given. From this starting point, you can begin the process of narrowing your gift search based on those subjects.
For the younger children you might only need to find out favorite school subjects in order to find a good gift, but for older children more questions need to be answered.
2. What careers are they interested in pursuing?
For children in Junior High and High School, many of them already have ideas of what they want to do with their lives. It is usually not hard to get children to talk about careers which have their interest. Once you have this information, then you should compare it with the school subjects they are interested in and find out which ones are compatible.
At this point the gift search is starting to take a similar form to that of a Venn diagram with overlapping circles. You are identifying several different circles and finding where they all overlap together.
Once you find where the most answers overlap, then you will be able to narrow your gift search to a small list of items.
3. Can any of their extracurricular activities translate into careers?
Some children are engaged in extracurricular activities which can translate into careers and this is something that should be observed when buying a gift for them. Extracurricular activities like sports, painting, blogging, video recording and editing, even karaoke singing can translate into careers.
This is especially likely if the child is very passionate about these activities. If this is so, then perhaps gifts which will help them make their passion a career would be a wise approach.
4. Will the child enjoy the gift or will it seem too much like school?
Obviously a gift makes no impact if the child does not enjoy it. Therefore it is a wise choice to ask the child for ideas about what kind of gifts they would be looking for in the realm of their interests in the course of your gift search.
If you are the parents of the child in question you will be able to use your parental wisdom to make your child’s input compatible with what they truly need. If you are buying for other children, then you should always run your gift idea by the child’s parents to determine if it is a good choice.
5. Will my gift make an impact in the long run?
So you finally find that gift which you think would be great for the child in mind for Christmas. Carefully evaluate that gift you have in mind and ask yourself this question: Will my gift help them prepare for a career?
If you can answer this question with a confident “yes”, then congratulations, you may have found the perfect gift for them this Christmas.
So now you will have some simple questions to ask to ensure your children will have gifts that will help them later in life. Homeschooled children typically are very smart and have a great work approach.
This already gives them an advantage in the job market. However preparation for a specific job through practice and experience will give them even more of an advantage when they enter the job market.
About Grant Dahl
Grant M. Dahl is a graduate of Seton Home Study School and Christendom College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, heavily influenced by Political Science and Philosophy. He is an aspiring author and homeschooling adviser who currently works in the education field. He lives in North Dakota.