Career Exploration & College Prep Course Review

Career Exploration & College Prep Course Review

One of the services that we provide through True North Academic Advising is career and life coaching. Kids often have a big idea of what they want in life but don’t have the experience get them there in an expedient and cost-effective way.

In addition to our Academic Advising, you might want to check out our Orienteering course. We use Cheri Frame’s Career Exploration Guide as the spine for this dynamic, interactive live on-line course!

Why does Career Exploration matter to high school students?

Career Exploration, as Cheri explains:

  • Increases students awareness of career options
  • Helps students see how they fit into the working world
  • Encourages students to plan high school courses based on their future goals
  • Improves academic performances
  • Saves time and money by pursuing a defined goal
  • Introduces students to employment skills valued by all employers

The Career Exploration and preparation course guide consists of 2 parts.

Career Exploration & Prep Course Part 1:

This section is designed to allow the student to get to know themselves better and gain a clearer understanding of their vocational interests. This section also helps the student confirm their interests through various activities.

Part 1 Overview – Career Exploration: Choosing a Best Fit

  • Keys to your future
  • Your Vocational Profiles
  • Occupational Profiles
  • Informational Interviews
  • Final Review

Part 1 is designed to be used in homeschools or co-op settings. Cheri includes many web-links and resources right at the beginning of the guide to get you started on the road to understanding your student. Some examples include Learning Styles, Motivation Triggers, Grit Scales, Business Essentials, to name a few.

Career Exploration & Prep Course Part 2:

In part 2, students are guided through a capstone project in their career area of interest. This section will allow students to define and hone skills relevant to the career areas that they have selected in Section 1.

Part 2 Overview – Career Preparation: Skill Smart

  • Capstone Projects
  • Skill Smart
  • Professional Portfolio

Students are also encouraged to read a biography of their choice as well as “Start Here” and “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

The Guide consists of reading, assignments, and projects. Students should plan on 3-4 hours per week to complete the lessons, reading, and longer-term projects. Students should prepare to partner with their parents or a cohort, such as our Orienteering course will provide,  to make the most of this course.

So what do I love about this program?

I love how this program starts off right by encouraging students to seek and find a team of mature mentors that they can learn and grow from. It is an excellent exercise in seeking out Godly leaders who can speak into their lives.

Additionally, there is a fantastic Bible Study right out of the shoot that sets up the Biblical basis for work. Conscientious, hard workers are in high demand these days. Cheri guides the kids through a Bible study on this and lays such an excellent foundation for the joy, responsibility, and God-given inspiration for work. Directly following, there is a study on family and cultural expectations. This facet is an oft-overlooked section of most career exploration programs. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I love the fact that students look at the careers and vocations that are part of their family. We are often more influenced by family members and legacies than we realize.

A Cost of Living Project is also included. An excellent project that every high schooler should complete before their graduation from high school!

All of this before the student begins a Vocational Profile, which includes Personality Inventories, Occupational Profiles and Evaluation, Credentialing Evaluation, and Job Shadowing. This Vocational Profile is a thorough and detailed overview of career exploration for each student based on their personality and interests.

Part II will focus on students building their skills and showcasing them in a way that will take them into the beginning stages of developing their professionalism.

The Capstone project includes critical thinking, public speaking, research skills, self-sufficiency, team-work, planning, media literacy, planning, and goal setting. Students will learn and understand the difference between hard and soft skills. As a podcast host, focusing on Soft Skills, this makes me happy. The Capstone project asks the student to create a quality program or experience for themselves that will develop their professional self and ability. SMART Goals, resumes, and interviewing skills are covered.

Career Exploration and Prep is an excellent course for young adults of all ages. The target ages are 16 and up, but the resource is acceptable for motivated younger students as well.  I would recommend this Guide for families and co-op situation.

A great addition to our Academic Advising Program, and integral to our Orienteering Course offered this fall and taught by Lisa Nehring.

Are you interested in Cheri Frame's Career Exploration & Prep Course? Check out this thorough review from True North Homeschool Aademy! See why we think this course will benefit your homeschool student. #homeschooling #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #careerplanning

Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to our first ever Holiday Gift Guide

(Discount Coupons throughout the guide and awesome Give -Aways- scroll to the end of the post to enter!)

gift guide

Part of what inspired this Gift Guide was my search for the perfect handbag that fit my world. It had to be roomy enough to hold books and possibly even a tablet or laptop, structured enough that I could find what I was looking for and built to last my non-stop homeschooling, working world life. I don’t mind spending money on a quality bag that looks good and lasts, but it has to be just that- something that is beautiful and hard-working.

I have found just the thing. Below you’ll find details about Phil Teakell’s gorgeous, handcrafted leather bag. This one is heirloom quality, an investment that will last for years.

Next up, is Rebecca Scott Designs. We’ve owned a few RDS Bags, different style, different colors. I have a personal fav, but I don’t want to unduly influence you. They are all amazing!

Lastly, I’ve included 31 Bags, because in a poll on our Facebook Group, Help Homeschooling High School, it seemed to be a definite staple in the Mom bag life. My only complaint about 31 Bags is that they say, ‘will withstand 80 lbs”  -I take them at their word and fill to capacity, but then I have to actually pick it up! Time to grab some smaller ones!

And then, Bling. Because let’s face it, the homeschool Mom life can be a lot of things but is rarely glamorous. We’ve used Lila Rose clips for a long while. Perfect for thick, heavy hair and thin, wispy hair as well! We love the style and versatility of Lila Rose. Practical and beautiful!

And finally, Magpie Madness Jewelry You need many of these gorgeous jewelry pieces! Gorgeous and affordable


Rebecca Scott Design

All of our products have been designed by Rebekah Scott, who works out of her home studio near Valley Springs, South Dakota. She employs work from home moms who want to use their talents to provide an income for their families, all while staying home to raise their families.
Rebekah Scott Designs products are handmade, machine washable, made with vegan leather, and come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee! You can purchase items from their Ready to Ship collection where items are already made and will be sent to you with 5-7 business days OR if you want to design your own products, you get to pick all of the details (right down to the colored zippers!) and the finished products are sent to you within 4-5 weeks of being ordered! 
The Phoebe bag is perfect for work, baby or travel. The largest purse style in the RSD line up, Phoebe can fit everything from your laptop, tablet, accessories to diapers and toys for your little one! She has three outside pockets, a crossbody strap, shoulder straps, and pockets that line the inside of the bag to keep your items tidy and organized. This purse style comes with optional add ons like a concealed pocket and top zipper (coming soon!) to keep your items secure! If you carry your laptop, pair the Phoebe with the Jovie laptop sleeve to make her even more versatile! 
To follow RSD, sign up for their email list where you get discounts and product information before the general public! Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram too where they do tons of fun giveaways!

Magpie Madness Jewelery

Gift Guide

Gift Guide Magpie Madness

Rustic & Vintage Style Gemstone & Pearl Jewelry

Handmade Rustic Jewelry with a Boho Chic Flare ** Pearls ** Vintage Metals ** Wire Wrapping ** Sterling ** Gemstones **Turquoise ** Crystals ** Earrings ** Bracelets ** Chains ** Necklaces **Weddings

I find great pleasure in creating beautiful wire wrapped and strung beaded jewelry in a range of styles and connecting each piece to a satisfied customer. Right now I’m really into the Rustic/Woodland/Boho Chic vintage feel and you’ll see its influence in my work–turquoise, pearls, crystals, & gemstones with vintage bronze, copper, & silver. I’ve even merged into antiquing sterling and brass to capture this feeling. Better yet, I try to keep my Magpies within pocketbook range!

As I create I pray. I pray for each woman who will be wearing my pieces–pray that she knows how much she is loved by the Savior and that she will feel absolutely beautiful while wearing her Magpies. It is my sincere desire that Magpie will bless women and somehow be impactful in each woman knowing how much she is loved.

Use coupon BAGSNBLING for 20% off on any Magpie Madness products. Good until December 31st, exclusively for True North Homeschool Academy readers!

31 Bags

Check out the the zip-top utility tote and the double duty caddy. The zip top is great for traveling with the 7 exterior pockets for markers, water bottle etc. Pair this with a fold n file and it becomes a great mobile file cabinet. The double duty caddy is great for kids to organize their subjects or to create a mobile classroom with storage for art supplies on one side and paper or folders on the other side. The item I am giving away is a medium utility tote. All info for my products can be seen on my website at and I can be contacted via email or text at  or 651-491-2625.

Teakell Design

Gift Guide

Gift Guide Leather Tote


In a market full of  mass produced goods, craftsmanship is becoming a rarity.  Welcome to Teakell Designs, where every product is custom hand-crafted.

The Large 2 Ring Tote brings a durable sophistication to the daily necessities.  It is a heavy duty, oil-tanned leather that will continue to develop its unique signature as it ages.  This tote will become the go-to bag for everything from the laptop and books to the fresh market veggies and jams.  The size accommodates innumerable combinations at 13” tall and 13” x 6” base, but style will be the only thing that is seen. Craftsmanship is becoming a rarity in this market of mass production.  Welcome to the Rare.  Pat Teakell began his creative pursuits as soon as he was able to hold tools.  Among his many developing skills was leatherworking.  Many years and many creative developments later, Teakell Design is focusing again on leatherwork.  Each item is meticulously crafted in Wichita, Kansas with Pat’s individual touches that ensure every piece is made to last.

Lilla Rose hair accessories, with Independent Stylist Kristi Bothur

Gift Guide

Gift Guide Lila Rose

Lilla Rose hair accessories are for every woman who has been frustrated with the time it takes to style her hair, or with uncomfortable accessories that damage her hair rather than protect it. The Flexi Clip is designed in seven sizes to hold any kind of hair, from very fine to extremely textured, and to do it with beauty, ease, and comfort – from a simple half-up or ponytail to a more elaborate holiday updo. Sizing information is available online, or you can contact Kristi  for personalized assistance, especially if you are choosing a gift. (With Lilla Rose’s 90-day exchange policy and oa ne-year warranty, you can’t lose!)
What’s more, Flexis can double as scarf clips! Other Lilla Rose hair accessories include decorative u-pins for painless updos, headache-free adjustable hairbands (that double as necklaces) and lightweight Leather 8/hair stick mix-and-match combinations. And for a gift that anyone can use, try their new organic rose water (rose hydrosol) for skin and hair!
Looking for a family business, or one that you can share with your teenager and then pass the baton to her when she graduates?
Lilla Rose, a direct sales company with a small-family feel, is ideal. Until November 20, shipping is FREE and joining  costs only $99 (for which you receive $300 in product and supplies), and there are no hidden costs for further training, website maintenance, or monthly sales quotas. High school students can work alongside a responsible adult to learn business and entrepreneurial skills while selling this unique, patented hair jewelry, and if life happens and you need to take a break, you won’t lose your business. Read here[ for more information or contact Kristi with your questions!

Teaching Effective Online Communication – For Tweens and Teens

Teaching Effective Online Communication – For Tweens and Teens

Hey There Busy Homeschooling Friend,
Just writing to remind you to teach your kids about effective online communication. It’s called Netiquette. I know, it’s just one more thing to think about amidst the math, science and writing curriculum, laundry, meals, and dirty dishes, but srsly. Take a minute and listen up.

In this amazing, fast tech digital age of quick txts and micro-communication, it’s easy to overlook that our kids might need some good training in effective written online communication. ‘Cause most of them aren’t writing much anymore- they are texting and typing. And w/that comes its own set of shorthand misinformation. Jk. Challenges-kwim?

Here’s a brief list of things to go over with your young ones for great online communication.

  • Write in complete sentences and use proper English.
  • Check for grammar and spelling mistakes.
  • Don’t be overly familiar and make assumptions in your address or response.
  • Don’t assume that you understand internet slang unless it’s a well-established group with well-established understandings.
  • Be concise.
  • Cite your sources.
  • Sarcasm does not translate well online. Be upfront and clear.
  • Important information does not translate well via FB private messages or texts. Pick up the phone and call or send an email.
  • CAPS, just like getting yelled at, are often not appreciated.
  • Have integrity- who you are online should be who you are. You are a person, not an avatar.
  • Protect your online reputation. People will be checking your online presence and what’s online stays online. Potential employers, friends, and in-laws can get a good idea of who you are (and aren’t) by your online presence.
  • Negative images live on forever, guard what you are sending to whom and be careful about what you post online.
  • Relationship and personal drama should be kept private.
  • The Golden Rule still applies- treat others the way you want to be treated. This is not rocket science, it’s just common decency and courtesy.
  • First impressions are true for digital interactions as well. The more positive and helpful you appear, the better others take-away of you will be.

Teach your kids to interact with integrity no matter where they are at online. And, given the fact that most 12 to 20-year-olds are spending around 7.5 hours online each DAY, get a filter for your devices, check where your kids are going and have open, honest discussions with them about netiquette, as well as internet safety, dangers and privacy. Lastly, for their sake, and yours, consider implementing a Screen-Free day once a week. No screens. Just good clean face2face interaction. Hth, Peeps. Gtg!

Should I participate in NaNoWriMo?

Should I participate in NaNoWriMo?

(This post is a two-part series on NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.  Be sure to check out the first part of the series, What in the World is NaNoWriMo. For more information, check out the NaNoWriMo website.)

Should I participate in NaNoWriMo?

Before we begin, we have to establish a few ground rules. You have to want something specific.  It may be to get to a goal of finishing a writing project.  Perhaps you crave the specific experience of telling life to take ten and diving in head first to the creative genius experience. You won’t finish if you don’t want one of those two in some variation.

Should you participate in NaNoWriMo? See what we have to say about that at True North Homeschool Academy! #homeschool #writing #Nanowrimo

Next, creation has to be a passion. Reading, writing, telling a funny story, the literary muse has to be a thing for you. Without that passion, yeah you might finish, but probably not because you really loved it and the end result is likely to be stiff and formulaic.

We aren’t writing a mechanical engineering report, we’re setting out to create a story. Which is a dynamic, multifaceted thing that’s almost a living organism in its own right. And you have to take all these different pieces and stitch them together like doctor Frankenstein and zap it with the energy of creative frenzy, and then sit back in horror as it takes on a life of its own and quite possibly tries to eat you. (For those of you who’ve ever created a project bigger and more convoluted than a doctoral theses, you know exactly what I am saying here)

So how do we tame the beast?

How do we realize this mad passion without it being a suppressed lifelong obsession or a mad hobby that monopolizes all our time and makes us lose our job, girlfriend and get kicked out of school?

The answer is structured pursuit. Great novelists will tell you that consistency, dedication, and hard work are the key. Writing is a strange art in that you can’t just ‘make’ yourself feel creative. You have to have that muse.

But you can’t just wait around for your muse, we haven’t the time. Creativity is a tardy muse, and if you wait on his schedule then he’s going to arrive late, lush, and probably empty-handed. You have to go hunt him down with a butterfly net and a whiffle bat, stalk him up dark alleys and club him from behind, and hope you don’t catch his evil twin cynicism.

Writing is hard work. And it’s time-consuming. You have to do it every day to build the habits necessary to be successful. Creative genius best flows when you have a habit of writing and keep it on a schedule. An hour every morning. Thirty-minute word sprints after working out at night. A corner cafe where you always sit down with your back to the street twice a week. Consistency and dedication are what make the wheels spin.

But hard work takes energy. Emotional, mental and physical. So make sure, 1) you don’t forget to eat, or you’ll crash 2)+3) you have moral support and inspiration.

Here is where community comes in.

We are social creatures, and even when we are drained, praise from our fellows can give us a second wind, and commiserating with fellows who understand your struggle makes even the biggest challenges durable.

NaNo offers a clear goal with a finite timeline that is still large enough to work with. It offers you a way to track your progress and share with other like-minded people, which is accountability and encouragement, 2 things most novelists are lacking in their private lives. There are forums for brainstorming, sharing ideas that you love but don’t actually want to flesh out, or for you to pick up on other peoples ideas. There’s even a facet that lets you share a project with a friend so you don’t have to go it alone.

The NaNoWriMo community offers the structure, support and clear goal structure needed to succeed. It does a lot of the footwork so you can focus on the heavy lifting, and yes, the burden is still on you. You have to apply yourself, you have to challenge yourself, you have to make the commitment of time and energy to succeed.

So why NaNo? Is it a must. It’s not. But it is an invaluable asset and makes the noveling process a lot lighter, more fun, and not nearly so daunting.

Derek Nehring bio picture


Derek Nehring was homeschooled through High School, is in his Senior year of college majoring in Economics and Math, serves in the Nat Guard and enjoys reading, outdoor activities, coffee, and his sarcastic (very funny) family. 

Humor and Homeschooling

“Humor is something that thrives between man’s aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because you see, humor is truth.” ~ Victor Borge


Can humor and homeschooling mix? Of course the can! Check out this post on using humor in your homeschool. #homeschooltips #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademyI like to think that I have a killer sense of humor.

My kids are very funny too (I’ve trained them well).

My husband still makes me laugh after 33 years of marriage by singing 70’s songs at appropriately funny times, verbatim and on-tune. We laugh a lot. And that is by design.

Life is hard, it’s difficult, it’s full of tragedy. When we run after God we get to share in His glory and His Majesty, and we also draw closer to the things that grieve Him and break His heart.

We do our fair share of crying around here, too. Life and intentionally raising our kids is serious business and sometimes cry worthy.
And while laughter and humor is not exactly joy, it is the cousin of joy and refreshes our spirits and perspective.

With that in mind, we have been very intentional about laughter, sharing jokes and funnies and cuteness that causes us to smile. We look for humor and share it as often as possible!

Why is humor important in your homeschool?  

(I have been blessed with a guest posting opportunity over at With The Huddlestons.  To finish reading humor and homeschooling please visit the full post here.)

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and check out my podcast over at Cultivating Grace on Wholesome Humor and Homeschool

Back to school for you Homeschooler

Back to school for you Homeschooler


This post may contain affiliate links

It’s Back to School for You, Homeschooler!

It’s back to school for you, Homeschooler, along with most everyone else. Unless, of course, you never quit, school year-round or ease into it. Either way, ti’s fun to work in an end of summer/ early fall tradition or two. At least to celebrate the change of weather, new books, or a new season of homeschooling.

What are your back to school traditions?

Morning Basket Homeschool

It’s Back to School for you, homeschooler!

We have really taken the summer off from schooling and will hit the books hard beginning next Tuesday. We are gong to start our week with strong coffee, blueberries, topping gf pancakes, and some rocking good books, such as Say it Like Obama, Here Comes Everybody and Principals of War.  We’ve re-stocked our Morning Basket and besides good books, it’s full o  the Hebrew alphabet and Latin vocab cards and form charts. Throw in some memory work from Philippians and the year is shaping up pretty well. Morning Baskets for Teens. You bet!

We plan on taking a long Labor Day week-end just before our first week of school and will fill it with good reading and an end of summer cook-out/ bonfire, complete with chocolate zucchini cake, some mango salsa and meatballs, swimming and the infamous “bomb.” My 15 yo has been taking our Culinary Arts Class and got her hands on a copy of The Joy of Cooking and the yummy summer fruits and veggies have been transformed into more than just salads.

Back to School for You, Homeschooler!

End of Summer Bonfire!

Back to School Bonfire!

Our back to school tradition always includes an end of summer teen night with good friends, lots of food, a roaring bonfire, delicious hot S’moe’s (they’re called ‘S’mores, Buzz!”) sometimes singing, sometimes poetry reading or recitation, lots of laughing and talking and good memories. If it’s warm enough we’ll throw in swimming, and always include lots of bug spray, and walks through the fields, where the kids have mowed trails through the groves and long grasses.  Lots of watermelon will get eaten as we welcome the next seaon. Good, good times.

Lest We Forget, Planners

As part of our back to school tradition, we re-supply planners. Ds 18 likes a basic school planner, ds 15 likes one with a little more umph. Personally, I am a moleskin BuJu girl.

Throw in some washi tape and some fun stickers (’cause I’m also an old time scrapbooker) and I am a happy planner! Part of our back to School Tradition is outlining our big picture plan, which includes who needs to be where when, whose driving which car and which computer is in use at what times. Just to make sure we have a good overview and the car and computer bases are well-covered.

How do you get ready for the new school year? We’d love to hear from you?

You might also like to read Blended Learning, It Just Makes Sense!