Are you looking for career exploration resources for your teens and tweens? The TruSpark Curriculum and Assessment might be just what you need!
During my childhood years, I was asked over and over, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For a short time during my preschool years, I wanted to be a taxi driver. In second grade, I wanted to become a geologist. But for most of my life — and I don’t think this will surprise anyone — I wanted to become a teacher.
I loved school, and my teachers were warm and caring people who nurtured my love of books and learning. My high school offered a series of child development classes for upperclassmen, and one of the perks was getting to volunteer in a local elementary school classroom a couple afternoons each week. I absolutely loved helping the teacher and working with the kids, which is why I went on to major in elementary education the next year in college.
During my middle school and high school years, there was no such thing as “the Internet.” In fact, I didn’t even get online for the first time until my senior year, just a few months before I started college. Had I been a couple years younger, I might have chosen a career in technology instead of education. (Now I have the privilege of connecting with homeschooling families all over the globe — something I wouldn’t have even considered when I was 13 years old.)
My oldest daughter is 13 herself, and we are starting to talk about all of her options for high school next year. As we consider classes and curriculum to prepare her for life after graduation, I want her to realize that this journey is about more than whatever career interests her at this point in time. How many of us are actually doing the job we wanted when we were teenagers?
I received access to TruSpark’s career exploration curriculum and motivational assessments. I was compensated for my time writing the review, but all opinions are my own! You can see our full disclosure policy here.
When I first heard about the TruSpark Curriculum and Assessment a couple months ago, I knew immediately it was something my teenager would want to try. She and I both love personality tests and self-awareness tools, so we were eager to take the motivational assessment and work through the curriculum together over the winter break.
Our TruSpark Experience
The online TruSpark Curriculum is fun and easy to navigate. While a teen could easily work through the program in one afternoon, we chose to take it piece by piece over a couple of weeks. Together, we learned about core motivations in the first lesson — our enduring traits that drive our decisions and motivate us when things get hard.
We both took the TruSpark Assessment on day two, each focusing on two specific times in our life that left us feeling fulfilled and proud of ourselves. By focusing on those two moments in time, we were able to narrow down our core motivations from TruSpark’s list of 19 choices down to three, using a series of thoughtful questions and exercises.
At the end of the assessment, we learned that my top 3 motivations are: The Helper, The Teacher, and The Team Player. According to TruSpark, I love learning, supporting people who need it, and helping others improve and succeed. (Spot on, I would say!)
Addie’s top 3 core motivations: The Expert, The Overcomer, and The Standout. According to her results, she is driven to succeed and bring awareness to a purpose or cause. She is hard-working, continuously practicing, and driven by deadlines. Like me, she enjoys working in community and bringing others together.
Addie’s favorite part of the TruSpark Assessment is that each of her three core motivations came with a short list of related occupations that interest her: photographer, artist, singer, business leader, actor, producer/director
There are links for her to click through to learn about each of these career options, featuring required education and training, job outlook and salary information, and even personality traits beneficial to the career! Best of all — the TruSpark Assessment results are linked to O*Net, an interactive tool for students and job seekers. Addie spent hours poring over the site, bookmarking job ideas and taking notes using the Potential Career Worksheet included in the TruSpark curriculum.
I have a strong feeling that we will be coming back to these career exploration tools again and again over the next couple years.
“TruSpark is a fun and educational program that I really liked. My favorite part was seeing my Core Motivations and all of my job suggestions. Now I have some ideas about what careers I might choose in the future.”
— Addie, age 13
If you have a tween or teen looking for career guidance, TruSpark might be right for you!
TruSpark Curriculum Review
The TruSpark Curriculum is an easy-to-use online program for early- to mid-teens interested in career exploration. The curriculum can be done independently or worked through with a parent, over a total time of 3-4 hours (not including additional research time on O*Net, if desired). You can even try a sample lesson on the TruSpark website!
While I think it’s a wonderful unit study for homeschoolers with young teens, I think TruSpark has wonderful value for families with children attending public or private school, too. I know I certainly would have enjoyed working through the program when I was a high school student!
TruSpark Motivational Assessment
Addie and I both loved the online assessment tool. As I mentioned earlier, we both enjoy taking personality tests, but this was something more. By focusing on two specific moments in our past, we were able to pinpoint our unique core motivations.
While our results highlighted our similarities (perfectionism, a strong desire to do/be our best), it also reminded me that we have our differences, too. Addie is an extrovert who enjoys fine arts and longs for opportunities to perform — both as a singer and an actor. This greater understanding of who she is can only strengthen our parent-child relationship in the future.
Here at Rolling Prairie Readers, we believe strongly in the power of personalized learning, which aligns perfectly with the science and research behind TruSpark. The truth is, we are all unique, and understanding our core motivations can give us greater self-awareness and help us contribute to the community around us.