Chapter 9: Exploring other options

Table of contents

9.1 Introduction

A farmer with a pitchfork moving hay. He is surrounded by sheep.

In this resource so far, we’ve explored a wide array of options for life after homeschool: from entering the workforce to an array of post-secondary educational options. We want to spend this final short chapter discussing options beyond the more conventional career and education paths. As you will learn, you won’t even have to wait to graduate to pursue some of these options!

9.2 Volunteer in your community

Your local community most likely has ample opportunities to get involved by doing volunteer work. Volunteering allows you to engage with your local community,  participate in interesting work and make a difference in the lives of others. Depending on your interests, you can engage in a variety of services from helping out at your local animal shelter, canvassing for local political campaigns, giving time to homeless shelters, and environmental causes. To find local volunteer opportunities near you,  we recommend utilizing websites like, or your city’s website.

9.3 Service organizations

If there is a cause you are particularly passionate about, you might be a great candidate for a service organization. Service organizations are volunteer organizations centered around a specific cause. Unlike general volunteering, service organizations typically require greater time commitments and training. Some service organizations like Habitat for Humanity, and the PeaceCorps, include opportunities to travel with members of the organization in order to volunteer in locations that are not local to you. VolunteerMatch provides a helpful list of top service organizations in the United States that can aid you in your search, while WWOOF lists  an array of international opportunities.

9.4 Start a small business

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you could start a small business. While being your own boss is hard work, there are many advantages. It can be a perfect fit for some people. You set your schedule, make your own decisions, get to express yourself creatively and acquire diverse skills that will help you in whatever you pursue in the future.

If you’re considering starting a small business, think of people in your community who have the kind of business you would find interesting and fulfilling. Some people truly enjoy physical work. If that’s you, landscaping, moving, washing windows, cleaning and painting are examples of businesses that are always in demand and require skills that can be learned on the job. You could start by working with a company and when you’re ready, start your own business.

Local, state and federal governments in the United States provide support to small businesses. Once you have a business in mind, an invaluable resource for starting up is your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). You will receive free personal coaching from experienced volunteers who can help you develop your idea and get you started. SBDCs offer free classes on registering your business with local and state government, accounting, marketing and everything else a small business owner needs to know. You can find SBDCs near you using the U.S. Small Business Administration’s online locator.

Nerdwallet offers a list of 28 small business ideas that are ideal for many teens:

Academic tutor
Washing cars
Child care
Pet sitter or dog walker
Lawn care
House sitting
Errand running
Social media influencer
Live-streaming gamer

Seasonal chores (hanging Christmas lights, decorating for Halloween, etc)
Selling handmade crafts
Making greeting cards
Art teacher
Music lessons
Photographer or videographer

Farmer’s market vendor
Candle maker
Reselling items online
Graphic design
Technology tutor
Website developer
Data entry
App developer

These small business ideas could be side jobs while you’re still studying, and when you graduate high school you could develop them into full-time jobs and possibly expand by hiring people. 

Watch out for MLMs ​
Multi-level marketing companies, better known as MLMs or “pyramid schemes,” sell products through a non-salaried workforce who earn money both by selling products and recruiting other people to sell. As we warned in Chapter 3, these small businesses can sound like a great way to make a lot of money with a flexible schedule and a ton of independence, but they’re also notoriously exploitative and can end up losing you money.

9.5 Homesteading

A homestead can mean different things to different people. But in a broad sense, homesteading is about living a self-sufficient lifestyle, living off the land. Homesteaders practice subsistence agriculture and often preserve their own food that they harvest to last them through the winter. They may even produce their own clothing, textiles and other crafts, either to use within their own home or to sell to generate a little bit of extra income.

Homesteaders tend to live a more independent life, and may only venture into town once a week or less for supplies or to see friends.This is particularly true for homesteaders who choose not to have a job and get all the income needed to pay for taxes and other expenses from work done on their own land.



  • Tax exemptions
  • Security
  • Pride
  • Less urban stress
  • Environmental consciousness, especially if you are looking into permaculture homesteading
  • Physical health
  • Self confidence
  • Family bonding
  • Potential to live “off-grid”
  • High up-front costs
  • Potential for financial losses
  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Limited access to public services
  • Steep learning curve

9.5.1 What might I do as a homesteader?

Common homesteading practices include: 

  • Sustainable energy generation (e.g. solar, wind, or geothermal power)
  • Keeping livestock (e.g. chickens, goats, pigs, cows, bees, etc.)
  • Preserving and canning
  • Fishing and hunting
  • Maintaining tractors and other equipment
  • Chopping firewood and forestry
  • Producing dairy products like cheese and butter

9.6 Conclusion

This guide is dedicated to college and career preparedness, and this chapter shows that there are opportunities available beyond the more conventional paths we have discussed. As you can see, there are  activities that you can do right now, or that can go hand-in-hand with the other paths we have discussed previously.

We hope you have gained:

  • Insight into the many options available to you beyond further  education or the workforce.
  • Inspiration for enriching activities that you can do before finishing homeschool, or that you can do while working a job or being in school.
  • A sense of appreciation for lesser known options, like homesteading.

And now onto the conclusion!

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