How parents can best help their children with subject choices

15 July 2020

How parents can best help their children with subject choices

Having to choose the subjects you are going to take from Grade 10 onwards when you are in your Grade 9 year is a very big decision. There are few Grade 9 learners that know which career they want to follow or, even more important, will be able to pursue.

As a parent you have a very big influence, if not the biggest influence, on your teenager’s subject choices.

Here is how you can help:

  1. Start thinking – and talking – about it, sooner rather than later

    It is vital that you – and your teenager – have enough time to think their potential subject choices over thoroughly. It is also vital that enough time is at your – theirs and your own – disposal to investigate different options and to do research on different career paths.

  2. The ABC of choosing subjects

    The requirements for the National Senior Certificate are 7 subjects:

    * 4 subjects are compulsory: 2 South African languages (the 1st is as Home Language and the 2nd is a First Additional Language), Mathematics OR Mathematical Literacy, and Life Orientation.

    * 3 subjects have to be chosen from the approved subject list as supplied by the Department of Basic Education, provided the school the learner attends offers the subject(s).

    Mathematics is a requirement for many university courses and career paths. Thus you have to keep this in mind when opting for one or the other.

    If the 3 optional subjects are chosen correctly and carefully, with all possible factors taken into account, your teenager will have many career opportunities ahead of them.

    More information on subject choices is supplied by the Department of Basic Education if you click here.

  3. Let them talk, make sure you listen and offer support

    Encourage your teenager to talk about what they would like to do one day. The career that they choose should be something they are passionate about or something that they are really interested in. Being financially stable is a factor that is important too though this should not be the main deciding factor.

    Assist your teenager with internet research but let them to most of it themselves. If necessary, channel the research that is done to involve various careers and options.

    Depending on the interests and abilities of your child you should look at different training and studying options. Studying options include colleges, universities of technology and universities. Different courses – and different requirements for these courses – at different institutions and/or training possibilities in the work place should also be investigated.

    Be supportive at all times and guide them to make sensible decisions and choices.

  4. Smart people ask for help

    Find out about different careers by asking people (family, friends and strangers) who are already working in that field. Speak to teachers, especially those who teach the subjects your teenager is considering, and career counsellors. Attend career evenings or events and open days at institutions. Organise work shadow days or work experience weeks. Book an aptitude test if you feel that more information is needed to make the right decision.

  5. Don’t underestimate how important subject choices are

    Your teenager’s subject choices will determine which career they will be able to follow once they have finished Matric.

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