The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) is a publication of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Are you wondering how in the world a boring statistical book made it onto a homeschool review site? Keep reading.
The OOH is not boring, and it’s very helpful for middle school and high school homeschool students and their parents. My daughter is only ten but I’ve already bought a copy (from Amazon for $10) for our home library. Actually, you can access the OOH without spending a dime. For younger children, visit this version.
The primary use of the OOH is to guide students as they consider future career paths. It’s called an outlook because the BLS projects which jobs will be in greater or lesser demand in the next ten years. But besides looking at employment growth, the OOH is an incomparable reference on careers.
What other volume could answer all of these questions:
- How much education do I need to be a court reporter?
- Where do most psychologists work?
- Does a loan officer need a license or certificate?
- What job opportunities are available to chemists?
- Can you learn to be a computer software engineer solely through on the job training?
- Where can I write for more information about being an aircraft mechanic?
- What exactly does a mathematician do?
- Will the next ten years see an increase in the need for building inspectors?
- How many hours a week does a power plant operator typically work?
- What’s the average salary of a graphic designer?
The OOH can answer these types of questions because it’s amazingly comprehensive. And thankfully, the 890 page book has a detailed index to make research easier.
So the burning question is really how can the OOH be used in homeschool?
1. A Reference About Jobs
Teens and tweens will enjoy browsing the OOH to learn about potential job fields. I promise you that your child will find jobs he didn’t even know existed! Jobs are organized by type, and each job features a list of related occupations. This is really helpful for the child who is interested in a general field but knows little about the specific jobs within that field. There’s more to education than being a school teacher and more to medicine that being a doctor or nurse. The OOH will show all the facets of a field.
Some of your child’s more romantic notions of a particular job may be dashed as she reads about the long years of education or long working hours. But that realism is needed when preparing for a future career.
2. Research Projects
Because of the depth of information available, the OOH can serve as the basis of a challenging research project. A student will have to read carefully to identify key facts and then summarize them in her own words. (Or if your child is like mine, she simply enjoys browsing the OOH and making notes just for fun!)
Look at this lesson for a printable notetaking page (DOC) especially for the OOH.
3. A Guide for Mom
If your child is leaning towards a specific field, you can use the OOH to learn which academic subjects are emphasized in training for that career. Then you can design your high school curriculum accordingly.
4. Academic Tie-ins
To expose your child to various careers, consult the OOH as it is relevant.
Here are some examples:
- You are studying a famous Greek mathematician. Look up what a modern mathematician does.
- You are studying chemistry. Research a chemist’s job.
- You just learned about the respiratory system. Find out the differences between a respiratory therapist and a respiratory nurse.
- You are working on American geography. Read what a cartographer does.
This looks really neat. I had never heard of this. It would have been really handy a couple of weeks ago. My kids are presenting on careers next Tuesday.
.-= Kristen´s last blog ..Busy = Efficient =-.
Nice article! It’s exhilarating to see how you utilize this OOH as part of your homeschooling material. I am a mother of two boys in Spore. Planning to homeschool my boys. Came across your blog by chance while researching on homeschooling on the net. Your blog is neat and captivating! Keep it up!
Awesome! Thanks for sharing this! I am going to pass this info on to my local support group.
.-= Marsha´s last blog ..WW – When boys decorate cookies =-.
@Marsha, You’re so welcome. We’re big fans of the OOH.
@Rachel, Nice to meet you! So glad that this blog and my own personal blog is an encouragement to you.
Thanks, again, Jimmie! You’re so creative with materials and resources!
I will definitely pass this on to our groups here, as I am positive many will find this very useful. I know my own boys, (oddly enough) mostly my youngest, will find it very interesting.