Introducing the Soft Skill of Time & Distraction Management

This episode of Soft Skills 101 is going to introduce the Soft Skill of Time and Distraction Management. This is an important Soft Skill to teach our kids!This episode of Soft Skills 101 is going to introduce the Soft Skill of Time and Distraction Management. This is such an important Soft Skill to learn well and to teach our kids! Each of us is entrusted with a specific amount of time on this earth and learning to steward it well allows us to fulfill the good work the Lord has for us to do!

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Podcast Sponsor

True North Homeschool Academy; education that takes you in the right direction! As homeschoolers we often feel like we have to DIY everything. Outsourcing and making use of the resources at hand is one of the best way to maximize your limited time and provide exceptional academics as you homeschool and manage your many responsibilities! Check out our live on-line and self-paced classes and clubs, taught by exceptional teachers who love their subject matter!

Please share this episode with a friend and like Soft Skills 101:Life Skills for a Digital Age podcast on iTunes.

Time & Distraction Management

This episode is going to be a quick over view of two great time management systems: Stephen Covey and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and David Allen and Getting Things Done. Covey starts with the big picture of vision, which he then breaks down into Mission and Goals, Allen starts with the details, inventorying all of the pieces and builds from there. Both offer value as we learn to manage our time and resources effectively!

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

  1. Be Proactive.
  2. Begin With the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First.
  4. Think Win-Win.
  5. Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood.
  6. Synergy
  7. Sharpen the Saw

A vision statement focuses on tomorrow and what an organization or family or person wants to ultimately become.

A mission statement focuses on today and what an organization does to achieve it the BIG picture

Goals-are the small, incremental steps to achieve the mission and should be SMART

5 Key Aspects of Getting things done

  1. Capture – what has your attention. Your brain is for having ideas, not storing them. You must “capture” what has your attention and store it somewhere besides your mind.
  2. Clarify – process what it means.
  3. Organize – identify what everything is, and put it in the appropriate container.
      • Trash
      • The 2 Minute Rule
      • File it
  4. Reflect – Review and asses regularly
  5. Engage – IF you’ve set up your system correctly pull up your list and execute the plan.

“Anxiety,” claims David Allen in Getting Things Done, “is caused by a lack of control, organization, preparation, and action.”

On the next show we’ll talk about how to manage distractions!

Click here to visit the Soft Skills 101 Podcast page for more episodes.

Thank you to our Sponsor – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie!

Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.

Nurturing Creativity

This week I am excited to introduce to you Katie Hornor. Listen in as Katie shares how to  nurture and teach creativity!This week I am excited to introduce you to Katie Hornor. Katie lives with her husband and 5 children in Mexico, developing curriculum, encouraging business owners, running a local coffee shop, and homeschooling.

In addition, they started the first on-line Summit for homeschooling Spanish speakers in 2018 which reached over 5000 people in 2019!

Listen in as Katie shares how to  nurture and teach creativity!

“What do you have in your hand?” Exodus 4:2

24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” 1 Thesselonians 5:24

“The Lord always provides for what He calls you to do!” Katie Hornor

How to Nurture Creativity:

  1. Schedule time to do creative endeavors- schedule a creativity date on your calendar
  2. Find a place for you that is peaceful and restful where you can contemplate God’s creativity
  3. Be a consumer of good information
  4. Take time to process information. Take time to just “Be.”
  5. Use positive words with your kids and each other. Re-frame situations to encourage your kids to be creative and utilize their own imaginations for good.



2019 on-line Spanish Homeschool Conference!

Melk the Christmas Monkey 

Nurture Your Kids Career Dreams with our Young Professionals Series of e-pamphlets, designed to nurture and inspire!

Survive Homeschooling High School! 

Need help planning High School or with Career Counseling? Put our years of experience to work for you with our Academic Advising program! 

Art Club– live on-line bi-monthly instruction and inspiration!

Writing Club – live on-line bi-monthly instruction and inspiration!

Ownership & the 10 Commandments

In this episode, I am joined by my husband, Dr. David Nehring as we discuss the importance of ownership- what is God’s responsibility, what is mine, what is not mine.In this episode, I am joined by my husband, Dr. David Nehring as we discuss the importance of ownership – what is God’s responsibility, what is mine, what is not mine. Understanding boundaries is integral to understanding Soft Skills and how we interact and think about ourselves, God and others!

We’ll use the 10 Commandments as a guide so get ready to dig into Exodus 20!

Ten Commandments

  • You shall have no other Gods but me.
  • You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.
  • You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
  • You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
  • Respect your father and mother.
  • You must not commit murder.
  • You must not commit adultery.
  • You must not steal.
  • You must not give false evidence against your neighbor.
  • You must not be envious of your neighbor’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbor.


Related On-line Classes

Old Testament Survey

World Religions

Related Blog Articles and Podcasts about Ownership

Integrity with a Family Part I with Dr. David Nehring

Integrity Within a Family Part II with Dr. David Nehring

3 Reasons to Homeschool 

Screens and Teens Book Review

Planning for the Future by Building Integrity

Related Products 

Young Professionals Series

Survive Homeschooling High School 

Encouraging Creativity in Your Home!

This week I am interviewing Bj Pramman about encouraging creativity in the Home!  Get tips on how to encourage your creative kid!“Creativity takes courage.” ~ Henri Matisse

Welcome to another episode! We are going to continue our discussion on Creativity. Be sure to catch last week’s show where I listed 50 ways to nurture your creativity! And be sure to check out previous podcasts on Critical Thinking, as the two often go  hand-in-hand!

This week I am interviewing Bj Pramman, True North Homeschool Academy’s Art Club Teacher.  Bj is not only a Homeschool graduate, a homeschooling Mom, an on-line teacher, but she is also a speed painter who works with Life light ministries. Bj shares how to encourage your creative kid even if you’re not creative yourself!

Art in Evangelism by Bj Pramman

Life Light Ministries

True North Homeschool Academy Art Club

True North Homeschool Academy Writing Club

The Ultimate Field Trip

Postcard image with a traveling family on an ocean tripThe Ultimate Field Trip – Traveling!

Travel is the ultimate field trip! It is so educational. Traveling exposes you to new people, places, language, food, culture, and ideas. It pushes you out of your comfort zone. Travel helps us see the long view instead of our shorter, “close-to-home” view. It promotes wonder, curiosity, research and exploration if you let it!

This past week, my husband traveled to Nashville for a professional conference and our youngest and I went along for the ride. We worked and studied for part of each day and then went adventuring. One day we went to Andrew Jackson’s estate, The Hermitage. The next, the Botanical Gardens and Cheekwood Estate. The last day we met family members at the Grand Old Opry and roamed around the amazing gardens. It gave us a lot to think about.

Have Family – Will Travel

Over the past two years, we’ve had the opportunity to visit three presidential residences: Monticello, home to Thomas Jefferson; Mt. Vernon, home to George Washington; and now The Hermitage, home to Andrew Jackson.

Visiting all three presidential estates has given us the opportunity to compare and contrast Presidents; the impact each has had on the country, their attitudes towards the Union, slavery, and marriage. These inexplicably different presidents, each charted the course of this great nation.  Even affecting the way Americans live today. It’s a great history lesson! Our academic lessons are made all the more powerful by seeing where and how they each lived, ran their personal lives and interacted with others.

The Gift of Travel

Having the opportunity to travel has been a gift and one we don’t take lightly! We’ve worked to maximize travelling opportunities as they’ve come up. In the past year, we’ve taken field trips to the Black Hills in SD, St. Louis MO, South Carolina, San Antonio TX, Washington DC, Gettysburg, VA and Nashville, TN. Some of that travel was for our kids’ activities (Bible Bee participation, graduation from Army Basic) and some for work. We’ve visited Monticello, Mt. Vernon, Gettysburg, Mission Conception, State and National sea-side parks, Botanical Gardens in TX and TN, the Arch in St. Louis, Mansions and Colonial homes, the Museum of the Bible (read my review here), Lincoln Memorial and a host of other D.C. Memorials, and the Grand Old Opry. We’ve eaten the best shrimp and grits in TX, fries smothered in gouda cheese in D.C. and superb hamburgers in TN. We’ve been on the look-out for amazing opportunities and experiences and found them!

Of course, that list also represents admissions fees, gas, and other costs. We are fortunate that we are able to write off some expenses for our work. We have also traded admissions fees for blog reviews and asked for the homeschool discounts whenever appropriate. Planning ahead and discovering off-season discounts can also make family travel more affordable. We count these fees as part of our homeschool expenses because they add so much to our children’s education.

Travel is the ultimate field trip...It promotes wonder, curiosity, research and exploration if you let it! Lisa Nehring, author, and administrator at True North Homeschool Academy and Softskills 101 Podcast Show Host. Click To Tweet

Tips for Planning Amazing Family Field Trips

  • Facebook groups provide great opportunities to connect with natives who know their area. I am in a couple of homeschool travel groups and there are always a few people who just got back from where we’re going or someone who lives where we are going in the group. It’s a great way to get a current perspective and get reasonably priced ideas on amazing places to eat!
  • Google – search “Best Sightseeing” in whatever place you plan to visit. I just searched Tampa and came up with various categories: parks, sight-seeing, air-helicopter-balloon rides, shopping, eating, museums, sights, and landmarks, etc.
  • Pick up brochures at area restaurants or cruise through the Airbnb/Vrbo binder wherever you are staying.
  • Ask the locals – whenever we land in a new location, we ask waitresses and other service professionals what the “must-see” and “must-do” opportunities are in any location.

Wherever we go, we do a bit of research and gather everyone’s ideas ahead of time. Because we are all readers, we might have ideas in mind already- historical places we want to visit, or places my husband and I visited as children. We decide how much time and money we have to spend and make a tentative plan for what we want to get done. In the last several years we have often traveled for work and my husband and I have taken turns going places with the children while the other does the work-related stuff.

The World Is Our Classroom

Finding great field trips while traveling, in many ways, gets back to having a sense of what you believe about education. Do you believe that the world is your classroom? If so, you’ll make a point of being curious about the world and want to explore the nooks and crannies. Your preferences and those of your family will differ from mine. Perhaps you are real foodies and are willing to wait in line to experience the most amazing Hunan food in San Francisco, while I am more interested in the Missions along the coast. Of course, one would expect nothing less!

And when I meet you in an on-line group, or at a conference, and we compare notes, we might both broaden our horizons by doing what the other experienced and found fascinating, further enriching our lives through travel!

About the Author: Lisa Nehring hosts the podcast Soft Skills 101: Life Skills for a Digital Age, along with her husband Dr. David Nehring. She is the Director of  True North Homeschool Academy and she and her husband have homeschooled their five kids for the past 27 years. Lisa is passionately committed to resourcing and connecting fellow homeschoolers and Christians with the tools and resources necessary to navigate a complex world in need of a Savior. You can connect with her at the True North Homeschool Tribe on Facebook

Introducing the Soft Skill of Creativity!

Introducing the Soft Skill of Creativity on the Soft Skills 101 Podcast!This week on the podcast I’ll introduce the Soft Skill of Creativity. Creativity is going to be more important than ever in the fluid and radically changing job market of the 2020’s. I’ll share some interesting info on what’s coming and then 50 ways to develop your creativity!

Isaiah 64:8  But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people” – Leo Burnett

Resources for Developing Creativity:

True North Homeschool Academy Resources, Clubs and Classes!

Active Listening Skills and Critical Thinking

Today I am joined by Dr. David Nehring to talk about Active Listening Skills. This is a simple formula that will build Critical Thinking Skills.Today I am joined by Dr. David Nehring to talk about Active Listening Skills. This is a simple formula that will build Critical Thinking Skills, as it requires attention to detail, empathy and understanding feelings, as well as empathy and compassion.

As you sit with someone to really listen to them by using Active Listening Skills:

  1. Be aware of yourself
  2. Clarify the goal of the conversation in your own head:
    • Are you wanting to just hear the person?
    • Gain mutual understanding?
    • Negotiate shared action?
    • Understand how much pain the other person is in?

Given what I am feeling and wanting, can I set that aside long enough to hear the other person?

  1. Gauge what the other person is wanting
  2. Clarify to the other person that what you are doing right now is “just listening”
  3. Say back some of what the person is saying
    1. The words they are saying
    2. The emotions behind what they are saying
    3. If all is going well, ask about the meaning of what they are saying
    4. Offer your understanding of what is being said as a question.
  4. Continue listening stance until either they say they’ve feel heard or you are saturated and need to pause the conversations in order to absorb what they are saying. Ask for a break as needed but commit to re-engage later.
  5. Continue the above until the person feels listened to and understood.
  6. After thinking about what is said, ask to reverse roles when the other person is ready.

Both sides probably need to go back and forth a few times before everyone is sufficiently heard.

The Goal is for the other person to hear you hearing them, see you seeing them, experience you experiencing them.

Recommended Reading:

Crucial Conversations 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey 

Communication Challenges for Struggling Learners

5 Communication Strategies for Struggling Learners 

Celebrate Sukkot! ebook

Career Exploration Courses

As always we appreciate your listening, sharing and downloading this podcast!

Teaching Critical Thinking Skills through Literature

In this episode of Soft Skills 101, we interview Adam Pruzan, teacher extraordinaire at True North Homeschool Acaedemy, who shares with us how to use literature to teach Critical Thinking Skills.In this episode of Soft Skills 101, we interview Adam Pruzan, teacher extraordinaire at True North Homeschool Acaedemy, who shares with us how to use literature to teach Critical Thinking Skills.

Proverbs 4:6-7 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

“Literature is the thought of thinking souls.” Thomas Carlyle

Classes taught by Adam Pruzan

World Religions, taught by Adam Pruzan

World History, taught by Adam Pruzan

Links to articles, podcasts, blogposts and places mentioned

Saint John’s College in NM

Founders Academy of Las Vegas



Clouds by Aristophanes

What is classical Christian Education 

Integration: The Benefits are Enormous blog post by Martin Detweiler, founder of Veritas Press.

Humor and Homeschooling

Wholesome Humor and Homeschooling

Special Needs & Critical Thinking Skills

In this Podcast, we’ll continue our discussion of Critical Thinking Skills as I interview Amy Vickrey, Director of Special Needs Department at True North Homeschool Academy. We’ll be talking about how to help kids develop time and self-management techniques, talk about Meta-Cognition and so much more!In this Podcast, we’ll continue our discussion of Critical Thinking Skills as I interview Amy Vickrey, Director of Special Needs Department at True North Homeschool Academy. We’ll be talking about how to help kids develop time and self-management techniques, talk about Meta-Cognition and so much more!

Critical Thinking Skills are important for success, and might be of especial importance to those whose kids struggle with special needs, processing disorders, ADD or ADHD.

We’d love to hear your feed back, and of course, please listen, download, share and subscribe to this Podcast!


Live on-line courses, Academic Advising and Testing for Struggling Learners and Special Needs

TNHA Special Needs/ Struggling Learners Program

Informal Logic 



SPED Homeschool 

Diane Craft  

Articles, Book Reviews & Ted Talk

ADHA as a Difference in Cognition, Not a Disorder: Stephen Tonit  a TED Talk

Meta Cognition article explaining what it is

Career Readiness article and the importance of Critical Thinking Skills

Employability Skills article and the importance of Critical Thinking Skills

The Jr. High Brain article on developing brains and Critical Thinking Skills

Smart But Scattered Book Review

Dyslexia Outside the Box Book Review

Special Needs or Struggling Learner- What’s the Difference ? article explaining the difference between the Struggling Learner and the Special Needs Student

Tips for Creating Routines and Teaching Independence  help your kids learn to help themselves!

Creative Methods to Helping Special Needs Children Achieve their Goals Special Needs Kids can meet their goals!

Find more episodes from Soft Skills 101 Podcast here!

Critical Thinking with Lisa Nehring

In this episode we’ll define Critical Thinking skills, examine why they are necessary and begin to talk about how to teach them.Critical Thinking skills are “An ability to use reason to move beyond the acquisition of facts to uncover deep meaning,” according to Robert Weissberg.


In this episode we’ll define Critical Thinking skills, examine why they are necessary and begin to talk about how to teach them.


Word Study: Critical Thinking Skills come from the Greek word “Kriticos” (meaning discerning judgement) and “criterion” (meaning standards). Critical Thinking Skills mean the word implies the development of “discerning judgment based on standards.”


A critical thinker can deduce as well as infer- they are both an information gathering and a problem solver.

Someone with critical thinking skills is able to do the following:

  • Solve problems systematically and sequentially with the ability to communicate them clearly
  • Understand and identify important ideas and to whom they are relevant
  • Make logical connections between ideas, across subject matter and time
  • Create, organize, deliver and evaluate arguments
  • Identify inconsistencies, errors and fallacies in reasoning
  • Reflect on, identify and offer an apologetic for one’s own core beliefs and values

Critical thinkers are constantly building upon their knowledge and experience. They are able to integrate how data and information can be used to develop, recognize and predict patterns of knowledge and behavior.

How do we teach Critical Thinking?


“Critical thinking skills are far more predictive of making positive life decisions than raw intelligence.” ~ Heather Butler

Resources for Teaching Critical Thinking

Fall Freebie- Bucket List! 

Perpeloxors (deductive reasoning puzzles) 

Tropes –figures of speech, such as simile, metaphor, alliteration, etc.

Logic- formal and informal

Scientific Method 


Using Propoganda to teach critical thinking skills 

Laughter and Critical Thinking