Dan the Working Man

Today is a glorious day, and I’m not just talking about the weather (although it is in the low 70′s with clear blue skies).

My middle son, Daniel, got a job today. He’s been hired by a local small business owner to organize and clean his shop. I’ve been literally dancing and jumping with joy (sorry for that mental picture) since I got home — Kathy and I are so pleased that Dan has been afforded this opportunity.

Dan wore a tie to the interview, but brought working clothes in a knapsack.

Dan wore a tie to the interview, but brought working clothes in a knapsack.

The business owner (and presumably Daniel’s boss) is a Christian man; we couldn’t be more delighted for Daniel to have his first job working for a godly man. The job is right down Dan’s alley, requiring organization and diligence (two of Daniel’s great strengths).

This job opens up many possibilities for Daniel, since I made it a requirement before he could get his Driver’s License. Like many young men, Daniel thrives when given a challenge and he is no stranger to hard work — but he needed a chance to apply himself on a larger scale. Today God gave him that opportunity, and we are deeply thankful.

School Planning

This is my 15th or 16th year homeschooling. You would think I surely know what I’m doing by now. Ha! In some ways I do feel confident about things (I’ve settled on some curriculum choices that have fit our family well and prepared us for higher education), and in other areas I continually feel inadequate and ill-equipped to educate these precious children.

David and Sarah - the last of my homeschooling kiddos!

David and Sarah – the last of my homeschooling kiddos!

Thank goodness for the Lord’s guidance, equipping, presence and wisdom! Not to mention the amazing friends I’ve met and known over the years who gladly share their ideas and input.

Right now I’m in the midst of finishing up our school schedule for September. I’ve found a system that works for us, and I LOVE planning things out for a month at a time. I only have 2 children that I’m homeschooling this year. Gasp! Two in college and one in a full time program at the local technical school – crazy!

After much trial and effort, this is what I’ve developed for our school scheduling.

This oversize tablet is what I prefer to use:

Handwriting Chart

Handwriting Chart

Years ago I found this handwriting tablet at a school supply store. I used it for our science curriculum – I wrote notes on it and had the children copy them down in their own folders. After that it sat for a long time behind our piano (the storage place for random poster paper). When I decided to work on a large chart for the kids, this came to mind and I realized it would be perfect.

Originally I used it like this and hung it in the wall of our dining room:

Handwritten Chart

Handwritten Chart

I loved picking different colors for the kids’ school subjects and writing everything down. They liked being able to see at a glance what work they had to do each day and being able to check them off as they completed work.

At some point I realized the individual sections were exactly the size of our mailing labels from our holiday letters. A brilliant idea came to mind – I could use the template in Word to type out the kids’ schedules and then print them off. This would still allow me to color code things for each child, but would save me a huge amount of time in writing and re-writing each thing.

Copy and Paste is a wonderful thing!

Now the charts look something like this:

February's chart

February’s chart

I try to pick cute graphics for each month, and it still takes me a little time to draw the lines for the calendar, but the overall project is so worthwhile! I get to adjust our schedules easily and each child knows exactly what the month holds. Fridays we have co-op, so we don’t have much scheduled for that day.

A closer look of Sarah's chart.

A closer look of Sarah’s chart.

How do you organize your monthly school schedules?

Kathy

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Read-Alouds

When I was a child we lived far from any of our extended family members, so summers were usually spent driving to either Virginia or Minnesota (sometimes both in one summer) from our home in southeast Michigan. The trips were long and (use your imagination here, young readers) took place with NO cell phones, iPods, dvd players, or other hand-held games. Eventually we acquired Sony Walkmans and earphones and could pass the time with our favorite cassettes (and music we taped from the radio).

To pass the time, my amazing mother would read aloud to us. For Hours! She held us captive with silly stories and dramatic tales. Our most often-read and favorite books were by a Canadian author named Gordon Korman. When Tim and I got married, Tim drove all around my hometown looking for copies of old Korman books so we could have our own collection.

David LOVES a good book.

David LOVES a good book.

And so a tradition has continued. We have read and re-read these books for years. Korman wrote and published his first book in JUNIOR HIGH!!! These fun young adult books are clever, well-written and full of memorable characters.

On this rainy day, Tim picked up Son of Interflux, and started to read. Such a great story. And a joy to me that Tim has continued this tradition from my family and passed on these hilarious tales to our children.

Snuggle, reading time!

Snuggle, reading time!

I can’t speak for ALL of Gordan Kormans books, but these are some of our all time favorites:

Can one student and his disgruntled classmates thwart a giant corporation's attempt to build a new complex on school land?

Can one student and his disgruntled classmates thwart a giant corporation’s attempt to build a new complex?

Running AWAY from camp has never been so funny.

Running away from camp has never been so funny.

A hilarious story about friendship, poetry and an attempt to reverse one's bad luck.

A hilarious story about friendship, poetry and an attempt to reverse one’s bad luck.

“Whatever you do, DON’T lose my apartment.” 3 friends crazy adventures in the big city.

A drummer, a

A drummer, a “flute-guy”, one celebrity and two theives make for a hysterically funny story.

A loveable con artist?  Attack jelly, Cow Experts?  So funny!

A loveable con artist? Attack jelly, Cow Experts? So funny!

One of my all time favorites!  The story of a high school that finds some spirit!

One of my all time favorites! The story of a high school that finds some spirit!

Kathy

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com, which means that if you purchase a book through a link on this post, I will receive a small commission (4% of the purchase price) from Amazon.

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Holiday hours!

One of my favorite traditions is the beginning of a holiday weekend. Whenever I am off from work (today I was released at 3 pm, because of the Labor Day weekend) I stand near the front door and shout, “Holiday Hours!”

This means different things, to different people. In general, it means that the usual rules and restraints of everyday life (homeschooling, working, etc.) are removed, and we permit ourselves a few days of sheer festive fun.

Hopefully Joshua and Rachel (at school in Tennessee) can have their own version of Holiday Hours, even while we are apart.

Kathy's in the midst of a decluttering project, but took time to help Sarah with her baking.

Kathy’s in the midst of a decluttering project, but took time to help Sarah with her baking.

When we lived in Michigan, I worked for Ford, and they shut down for Christmas. One of my happiest memories is the beginning of a long, two-week vacation just before Christmas. I would walk in the front door, shout “Holiday Hours”, and the fun of the Christmas season would begin in earnest, not to end until after New Years’ Day.

Sarah's donut holes are sure to be a hit wherever we go, this weekend.

Sarah’s donut holes are sure to be a hit wherever we go, this weekend.

It wouldn’t be a holiday if some of the dietary restraints were also thrown off. Of course, we pay for it later …

David revels in free, un-metered computer game playing (ordinarily we use a timer and poker chips which must be earned).

David revels in free, un-metered computer game playing (ordinarily we use a timer and poker chips which must be earned).

It is supposed to rain a fair bit this weekend, but we’re not worried, as long as we still have lots of computer games to play. Daniel just finished installing Civilization V, so maybe we can get into a multi-player game this weekend.

It is possible that we 'forgot' to notify  Daniel about Holiday Hours until he finished his yard work.

It is possible that we ‘forgot’ to notify Daniel about Holiday Hours until he finished his yard work.

We are very blessed to enjoy time off from our regular routine — thank you, Lord Jesus, for holidays!

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The musings and ravings of a bloggart family