High School Career Exploration

June 26th, 2018

high-school-career-exploration

I wish I had acquired this high school Career Exploration curriculum sooner, since my oldest son is going to college in the fall and isn’t sure what career he wants to pursue. We have been talking about what he wants to do with his life for quite a while, but it wasn’t until we came across this curriculum that we narrowed it down. Since this is the exact curriculum I wanted (yay!), I received the bundle from 7 Sisters Homeschool at no cost, became an affiliate, and agreed to do a review for compensation.

I recommend using this curriculum way earlier in your teen’s schooling so that you have plenty of time to fully explore careers. My 13-year-old and 15-year-old will be able to think about apprenticeships and interviewing adults in different careers to figure out what they truly would be good at. By the time they graduate high school, they will be in a better position than my oldest son.

My second son, who is currently 16, has always wanted to be a microbiologist. He knew when he was 10 years old, and he is now off to college, too. It’s great when kids know exactly what they want to be. But even then, it would be nice to take a field trip to a lab where he can see microbiologists at work, if possible. Interviewing scientists who are doing what he loves will give him the understanding of whether he will have to work long hours, or if there are any other interesting facts about the job.

exploring-careers-for-teens

My own personal career journey

When I was in college, I wanted to become a teacher, so I took a job as a teacher’s assistant while I was still in college to see if I really liked it. It seemed like disciplinary issues were a constant part of each day, so I had to re-assess whether I truly wanted to be a teacher. It seemed like I would have to be a militant leader in order to cope as a teacher and not get run over by the back-talk of the middle school students I was teaching. I would not have known what the job was really like had I not taken a peek at the inside of the career.

There is nothing worse than preparing for a career that you later find out you hate. This is especially true if you spent tens of thousands of dollars earning that degree at a university. Way better would be to know a variety of jobs that you would be good at, and figure out what kind of training you need to become certified for those jobs. Many trade schools are shorter than a 4-year college and pay just as much (or more) than a career that requires a degree. All you need to do is investigate, and this {aff} Career Exploration high school curriculum was just the thing to help us do that.

Career Exploration: What is Included in the Curriculum

The Career Exploration curriculum includes ten packets: Step by Step Through Career Exploration, Career Exploration Questionnaire, Career Exploration Workbook, Successful Experiential Resume Writing, Successful Cover Letters, Introductory Interview Skills for Teens, Writing Your Own Personal Mission Statement, Career Exploration in the Bible, Collected Posts on Career Exploration, and Collected Posts on Financial Literacy.

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I’ve read through the entire ten packets, and I was impressed at the amount of useful information this bundle contained for teens to explore what careers might be of interest to them. I will highlight a few of the packets:

Career Exploration Workbook

This workbook contains seven chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of finding a career. The students can fill in the workbook, answering each question to know themselves better. The checklists are especially helpful in finding out broad areas of interest. The teen can circle occupations that seem interesting and cross out other careers.

Interviewing people who know the teen well can help to uncover more strengths that maybe your teen was unaware of until now. Apprenticeship opportunities can emerge as your teen talks to people from different occupations. I personally love to do this by inviting families from church over for dinner. Your teen can ask the occupation of the guests, and whether they love what they do.

list-of-careers

Career Exploration in the Bible

I’m intrigued by the idea that God designs each of our children with the experiences they need to become the person they were meant to be. This short packet highlights three characters from Scripture, showing how their childhood and teen years prepared them for their future career. This packet spurred some interesting conversations with my teens, and I wondered in my heart what fun things God has done in the upbringing of my children to make them who they are today.

For example, my oldest son has always had a philosophical mind, asking spiritual questions even as a preschooler. The depth of knowledge he has of God’s Word is perfect to prepare him to be a pastor, if he chooses that occupation. He has also enjoyed drawing, especially symmetrical drawings on graph paper. The fact that he is a natural artist could indicate that he would be a good architect. As his mom, I pondered what other experiences he has had that has made him the man he is today.

Introductory Interview Skills for Teens

Both my older teens have been in a process of interviewing for jobs this summer, so this packet was particularly useful. When my teens prepared for the most commonly asked questions, they felt more at ease in their interviews. My kids made up a fun skit for what NOT to do in an interview:

A Personal Word about the 7 Sisters

I’ve met several of the women from 7 Sisters Homeschool in person at a blogging conference a couple of years ago, and they are the real deal. I love them! Their homeschool high school curriculum is no busywork – no overkill. Your teens can build character and critical thinking skills while learning. And the women who wrote this curriculum are veteran homeschool moms who know what they are doing. Here are their links, if you would like to follow their blog and social media, especially if you have teens:

For what’s included in this Career Exploration bundle, the price seems unbelievably low. If you have teens, I encourage you to click over there and grab this bundle to direct your teens to a career that they will actually enjoy. If you yourself or your spouse is in a career that you hate, you know how important it is to explore careers before deciding what you want to do with the rest of your life. And yes, you as a parent can fill in your own workbook if you yourself would like a change in careers!

How to Make an Ice-Cream Cone Cake

June 4th, 2018

ice-cream-cone-cake

My daughter wanted an ice-cream cone cake for her picnic-themed birthday party. To make an ice-cream cone cake is quite simple. First you bake two cakes. The first one will be divided into two circle tins. These will be the ice-cream scoops. The other cake will be baked in a rectangular tin. You will cut that second cake into a triangle the shape of an ice-cream cone.

Make sure that after you bake the cakes, you cover them with plastic wrap and put them in your refrigerator. It’s much easier to cut and shape cold cake. Grab a piece of cardboard and cover it in foil. You may need to tape together (with packing tape or duct tape) two pieces of cardboard to make it long enough for the ice-cream cone.

After placing the cakes on the foil, make sure that the scoops look like the picture above. You will have to carve an arc in the top circle before placing it on the foil, and cut a straight section off the bottom scoop.

Frost the “cone” part of the cake with chocolate frosting. Divide a bucket of vanilla frosting into two bowls. Tint one of them pink for the top ice-cream scoop. The bottom one will be vanilla, so leave it white. Shake sprinkles over top of the ice-cream scoops.

ice-cream-cone-pinata

If you have an ice-cream themed birthday, you can buy a piñata in the shape of an ice-cream cone. My daughter was overjoyed to find this at a party supply store. Hobby Lobby and Walmart also have piñatas, if you don’t have a party store in your town.

picnic-themed-tea-party

My daughter wanted a craft for her picnic-themed birthday party, so we decorated straw hats by hot gluing silk flowers to them. We set out a tea party in the backyard, and the girls enjoyed their scones and other treats after their craft and piñata.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial on how to make an ice cream cone cake for a picnic-themed birthday party!

How to Decorate a Hat

May 14th, 2018

how-to-decorate-a-hat

My daughter Rachel decorated some hats with her friends. An assortment of craft supplies were at the center of the table, including various silk flowers and greenery to choose from.

To host a hat-decorating party, you will first want to find some plain straw hats at yard sales and resale shops. The ones I found were one or two dollars each. Next you will need to collect silk flowers of various colors. These don’t have to be expensive either, as people often have a free box at their yard sales, and I’ve seen silk flowers thrown in there because the owner saw no craft value in them.

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You will want to use some wire cutters or kitchen shears (scissors) to cut off all the flowers and little greenery from each bunch of silk flowers. Color-coordinate the flowers in bowls: red roses in one bowl, light pink in another, white in another, etc. This will make it easier to construct your hat masterpiece, and it will help you see how much of one color flower is left. It also looks visually appealing as the center of the table has bowls with different colors in each bowl.

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Different shades or sizes of flowers can also be separated out, as well as greenery. You can also have feathers, buttons, glass beads, or any other fun crafting materials that you think would look good on a straw hat.

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Now you are ready to decorate a hat with these items. Arrange the flowers on the hat, and then hot glue them into place. If the child is young, an adult will need to do the hot gluing.

Now your unique decorated straw hat is ready to wear for the beach, a picnic, or a tea party!

A Great Day to be Alive

April 16th, 2018

great-day-to-be-alive

When you’re living a life of suffering with no end in sight, it’s hard to feel alive. The suffering sucks the life out of you so that you have to rely on God to get through your daily tasks. Strangely, during the past three years of non-stop suffering, I have accomplished more for God’s kingdom than all the rest of my life combined. Maybe it’s because God’s power is perfected in weakness, and the only way to be filled with His power is to surrender when we have nothing left.

This is one reason why suffering is something to rejoice in the midst of, not for the pain itself, but for the results it brings. Endurance and the power of God are only doled out to those who tenaciously cling to God to the death. Or to the living death, which is worse than death because in heaven at least Christ would wipe away every tear from our eyes and there would be no more suffering.

Job felt that way. He sat in the ashes, wailing in horror and sadness, wondering why God had seemingly abandoned him. Why was he born just to suffer?

“It is one thing to bear a sudden tragedy. It is quite another to suffer its pain for weeks and months and even years afterward.” – John Piper

God is full of endless delights, either as we worship Him through song in the midst of suffering to feel His tangible presence, or in His turning events around suddenly in a single day. With Job, God showed up and not only healed him but gave him back twice as much as he had before. He lived the rest of his life in peace and joy, having experienced God in a way few have.

And God was vindicated. Satan lost. God showed Satan that there are some of us—including me—that love God not for what He can give to us but for who He is. He will make all things right in the end and not a single tear goes unnoticed by God. All of our days are written in a book (Psalm 139:16), and if we suffer well, the book that has our name on it in the library of heaven will forever be a slap in Satan’s face that God was worthy to serve even when circumstances appeared to be dark with no way out.

cupcake-stand

So when my daughter walked across a parking lot the other day, she exclaimed with arms extended in the sunshine, “Look, Mom! It’s a great day to be alive!” I stopped and looked at her.

“I guess it is!” I laughed. I remembered a cupcake stand I saw at the mall that my daughter had never seen. I knew she would love the cupcake display, so I asked her, “Do you want to get a cupcake?”

“Sure, Mom!” she said as she rolled down the windows in the car, her hair flying in all directions. I rolled down my own window and shouted, “It’s great to be alive. Woohoo! We’re really living it up today!”

car-wash

After choosing a cupcake and eating it, we drove to the car wash. My daughter wanted to snap selfies during the car wash and told me what a great day she had when we got home.

I guess my point is that you can still feel alive even in a seemingly hopeless situation. With God all things are possible. Even though we might suffer longer than we would prefer, God is bringing about something beautiful out of our tragedy that will be read by generations to come. Don’t lose hope.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV

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