Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ready, Set......GO!!!!!!

Here we are folks, a week away from the beginning of school. The chill is definitely in the air, a few leaves are even changing and high school football has begun. If you haven't already gotten your children on their school bedtime schedule NOW is the time. It is also a great time to have the kids get their bookbags in order, set up a study area and discuss your expectations for this school year.
One of our favorite ideas is "Work Hard...Play Hard". This simply means that your family has clearly defined goals and plans for the school year. If you begin the year with clear cut goals and clearly stated consequences things will be so much nicer for you and your student. We must model good examples for our children...being consistent with our love and discipline shows them how much they are cherished.
The great way to begin the year is with a new planner...and a class showing them how to use it!! Call us and schedule a workshop; we would love to be a part of your best school year ever!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

New friends, opening doors and SCHOOL SUPPLIES!!!

How many of you have seen the commercial with the dad gleefully running down the aisles of an office supply store while his kids drag behind him woefully because school is soon starting?? I LOVE that commercial...I love new supplies...nothing better than a new fresh glue stick, a fresh box of crayons or a new notebook. How can you not get excited?? Now is a perfect time to take the ads and sit down with your children and do some comparison shopping and coupon clipping. Will they know they are doing math? Maybe/maybe not... Make a game of it...give each child a dollar and see how much they can get for it. Start the year out with a smile and a great attitude..
We met some terrific new friends this weekend in Royal Oak. We had a study skills workshop with a wonderful group and really look forward to returning soon. Thanks Carole and kids!
I am a real believer in doors opening constantly to offer new opportunities...we all need to open ourselves to possibility and go through those doors. Look at this new school year as a terrific opportunity...for your children and for you. Give your children the opportunity to shine.
We have a workshop on Thursday in Milford. A few spots are still open so call us...
Also we are now on Twitter...become one of our followers and we'll follow you!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

August musings...

Well, here it is August and I am sitting in sweats wishing I had a pair of socks to put on as well. What a wacky weather summer we have had...only a smattering of days have even hit the high 80s much less the 90s...not that I am complaining ;-) August always makes me a bit giddy. You may not know it but I LOVE school supplies...I love the bargain on school supplies and I love the cool new little gadgets that will supposedly make you love school. I know they really won't make it easier but I do love the idea of it being easier. One thing I do believe every student should go out and buy is a planner for themselves. The planner can be a literal lifeline to all things in your student's life. Let them take part in the buying decision...we want them to want to use it!!
We have a few more classes scheduled before school begins. We will also begin a full schedule in the Fall sometime after the 3rd week of school...our coupon special continues. Gather together 10 students for a workshop and your child will attend free of charge.
Now during these last waning days of summer go out and pick some blueberries with your children, make a bonfire, camp under the stars...Enjoy this time of quiet...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


We celebrated our daughter's 19th birthday yesterday. As the celebration continued at the dinner table I found myself going back to her 3rd birthday. We had a house and yard full of friends and the mood was jubilant. Suddenly Emily came into the yard, placed her hands on her hips and announced in a loud voice "This is the BEST birthday I have ever had!!". Of course I laughed through my tears, my husband hugged her and she got a huge round of applause. Now back to yesterday; she got the cell phone she has wanted for the past year, clothes, lots of makeup and a special gift from Daddy...and she brightly proclaimed "This is the BEST birthday ever!!". Now you are wondering..."where are you going with this walk down memory lane??" Well, I'll tell you.
I am learning each and every day how very precious memories are...unlike financial and material possessions they won't be foreclosed on or repossessed. They are ours...and we must treat them as precious. Today I am suggesting we all begin a family journal...that we write these treasures down for our families to cherish. We don't need to spend tons of money on scrapbooking goodies...we can use a simple notebook. By doing this we can make a history lesson...
Writing is sometimes a chore...and sometimes a blessing.
We are continuing to work towards bringing our workshops to you. Please don't forget our special offer: Gather together a group of 10 or more students and your child will attend for free! We offer a variety of workshops...and look forward to meeting you soon! In the meantime...notebooks are 5 cents at Wal-Mart, go grab a few and let the whole family begin writing their memories!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The 21 Day Habit...using it!

One of the first things we discuss in a SchoolTools workshop is utilizing your time well and creating good habits. As we were teaching a workshop this past week I was struck by the fact that I need to use the "21 Day" plan myself. I love writing the blog...but I admit I haven't been consistent about doing this...SO, as we do in all of our workshops I challenged myself to make a blog habit. For the blog to be timely and I hope interesting I should be posting at least twice a week. I have written "BLOG" in my planner and will be crossing it off as I stretch my blogging muscles ;-)
So, let's talk about the 21 day habit...studies have shown that if a person truly wants to create a new habit or change an old one they need 21 days. I have personally found this really works, much to my surprise ;-) At our workshops we challenge the students to write down a habit they wish to adopt. They have been fun...a few examples were: eat breakfast, make my bed, write in my journal, not drink pop...the list goes on and on. We try to "make a habit" of contacting the students to see how they are doing. Their successes have been terrific. To make it more fun for them I always join in the challenge...generally the kids do a much better job!!
I challenge our readers to pick a habit you would like to create or break and take the challenge with us; you will be amazed.
May I also suggest you make the habit of checking our blog keep me on my toes and to also read of new workshops, success stories and to post to us.
We welcome the feedback and the comments. It keeps us on our toes!!!
Our special continues...invite 10 or more students to a workshop and you will receive a workshop free!!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So...Summer is finally here. The sun is hot, the breeze is warm and my petunias are drooping. I was thinking to myself how much I miss the days of planning activities with my children to keep boredom at bay during these glorious days. One of our favorites was going to Cranbrook for a fun class on solving a murder. We had a great time. What do you do to keep the kids off the couch, the computer and to keep their minds active? Studies show that students lose so much during the summer months...this is why the first six weeks of school are spent in review!
Why not check out our schedule of workshops and give your kids a step up for the new school year. What a terrific idea to have them ready to use those planners the day they get them!!!
Also, don't forget our offer of a free workshop...invite 10 or more kids over and we will come to you to present a workshop!! Your child's workshop will be free! I would invite the moms too and have a nice visit while the kids are occupied and learning..but that is just me!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Digging into my own tool box

I was reminded this week that we are all life long learners...or we should be anyway!
I love to write...I love the idea of painting a word picture, of expressing my ideas and sharing them with other people. I also know that I don't work well under pressure! Earlier this week I found out a few things about myself (the hard way) regarding writing and pressure. I need to take my time when I write...I do a horrible job when I am faced with a short deadline. I make foolish errors, my proofreading stinks and the quality of my "product" suffers. So...I dusted off my tool box and pulled out two tools...the tool of "adequate time" i.e.; giving myself enough time to do a good job. The other tool was the "knowing my limitations" tool. This tool is the one that lets me say..."I need to use my time wisely and not be rushed"...or the consequence will be sloppy copy.
SchoolTools101 teaches both of these skills...I teach both these skills!! This week I didn't use my own lessons and I suffered.
What did I learn this week, you may ask? I learned to allow sufficient time for my work to shine and not to be afraid to say "I need more time to do a great job".
Allow your children to acquire these tools...sign them up for a workshop (we have some great ones coming up in the next few weeks!!)and then allow them to assemble their own toolboxes. By giving your children the correct tools, the room to goof, the comfort of your understanding and encouragement they will all become master craftspeople.
A side note...I was supposed to write this last night...I did and it wasn't very good. So...I took a deep breath, put it aside and got up early this morning ready to write. Proving that if you give yourself enough time to do a great job you also give yourself time to "take your time". Now this "assignment" is crossed off my planner and I can go to the Farmer's Market with a clear head!!
Summer is a wonderful time to reinforce skills...sign up today for a workshop!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Well, here it is June 3rd and I am already in a summer frame of mind ;-) It is a little bit harder to get going and get things done and a whole lot easier to linger on the front porch with a book and my lemonade! Summer is a great time to have fun learning new things. Take the time to check out your local library...the libraries always have wonderful summer reading programs along with activities. Our local library has a teen and adult summer program as cool is that??? I already have my reading log and plan on getting a few prizes. Both of my kids are going to take the henna tatoo class, for example. Summer time is also travel time...why don't you check and see if your family has a trip planned this summer; if you do gather some information ahead of time so you can suggest some cool sightseeing trips! Keep a trip journal as well. The zoo has super programs, many of them are free!!
Have a great summer but fill it with will give you lots of things to write about when your teacher asks you to do the annual "What did you do this summer?" report come September!!!
If you have any good ideas for summer fun let us know...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Teachable Moments....

I was sitting on my front porch last evening...enjoying the frog songs, the rustling of critters in the woods and the multitude of stars painting the night sky. At times like this I often think of nights from my childhood spent on the grass looking up at the sky and talking with my mom. She has been gone for a long time now but I thought of her last night and how she would always call this, the unoffical start of summer "Decoration Day". My dad would make a great ceremony out of hanging the flag from the front porch, we would open the pool, and go to the parade in downtown Rochester. We would also go to the cemetery and place flags on the graves of veterans of war.
I wonder...when did it become Memorial Day? When did it become a weekend of sales, parties and not a day for remembering? Don't get me wrong...I love the time to relax, to start planting flowers and grill burgers. I was just wondering if perhaps we shouldn't take a moment and teach our children about those men and women that served our country, that died for our country and that are still serving our country.
I want to go back to Decoration Day and remember...
Take a minute with your children and talk about what Memorial Day really is all about...then go outside and be thankful for our freedom!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A workshop working....

The other day I had the opportunity to sit down with one of our students and give her some help on a big school project. She is a 4th grader and had a HUGE project due on the snowy eared owl. She needed to write a feature article including a position statement, graphic illustrations, historical information, a personal position and bibliography!! I must admit that 4th grade is a lot harder than it was when I went to school ;-)
What really struck me was that our student was prepared and ready to put her paper together. She readily admitted that the skills she learned in the workshop made the whole process a lot less daunting for her. While she thought she needed me to help her, in actuality I just encouraged her on to the finish!!
The best part of our time together came at the end when she told me "This is so cool...this is the first report my mom didn't have to help me write!! I think I'll get an "A"." This is pretty cool...seeing first hand that our workshops are valuable tools for all students!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thanks to Phil at The Milford Times!!

We are so excited about the terrific article that was in this week's Milford Times. We had spent an hour or so with Phil Allemon, the editor, a few weeks back telling him about our vision, our passion and everything in between regarding SchoolTools 101. He totally got us!!! He was able to convey our excitement and our passion into a wonderful article. We also have to thank Miss Courtney Bujaki, a SchoolTools student who graciously agreed to be in the accompanying photo...Courtney you are gorgeous!
This is an interesting process...the various aspects of fulfilling our dream. We both have our strengths and weaknesses; fortunately my strengths are Michelle's weaknesses and vice versa (though I think I have more weaknesses!)!! The thing we do share equally is a passion for children and teaching.
We have an upcoming class on June 2nd...ideal for all of our Kurtz kids who will be on break and also homeschoolers!! Give either of us a call and sign is truly time well spent!
I have a challenge for our readers...spend some time this week and identify a passion of your can you fulfill your dream???

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thanks, Laura!

We want to thank our friend and fellow blogger Laura Webber for her lovely mention of us on her blog . Laura is a couponing whiz and offers great classes on how to save oodles of money using coupons wisely. She has a great offer on her blog...look for it and get back to us!
We have a workshop coming up on May 16th; "How to Write an "A" Paper"...we have a few spots available so give us a call and get on the list!
Our tip for today is to make sure your Mom knows how very wonderful she is...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"I got an A !!!!!!"

The other day one of our more serious students was absolutely giddy with excitement about his math test. Yep....giddy about a math test...he shared with us how he has been using his "toolbox" of study helpers and on his own had studied for a big math test. He was feeling pretty confident but it was evident he surprised even himself when he got his paper back with an "A". The smile on his face and the thrill in his voice reminded me why we are so passionate about what we do...we are giving these students freedom to pursue their dreams. They gain that freedom when they know they are capable of preparing for a quiz, a test or even a homework assignment without help. They have learned how to "do it themselves" which is what we as parents, educators and mentors are really supposed to be giving them. I get giddy myself when I hear these success stories.
Look at our schedule for upcoming classes...we have lots to choose from and as always are happy to travel with our own "toolboxes"!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

another success story brings tears

Today we had the opportunity to chat with one of our students. She is a lovely young preteen who has had real struggles with her school work. She participated in our last Study Skills workshop and was a stellar student! She took copious notes and listened intently. She joined in the conversations and offered up great suggestions. It was fun to watch her come out of her usual shy shell.
The next week she came and showed us her planner...WOW, I wish my planner looked that neat! Her confidence was evident, she was walking tall and feeling good about herself.
Then yesterday afternoon she came in and had the best news of all...she had gotten an A- on a religion class!!!!!!! Her face was glowing and she was literally walking on the clouds. She had tears in her eyes as she thanked me...and me being a big ol' mush had tears in mine!! Hearing her thanks and getting her hugs made me realize once again how blessed we are to following our passion and making these workshops a reality. As I drove home in the pounding rain I was thinking that I was seeing the future...a student finally grasping the concept of "Doing it Myself" ...not a bad day even though it was dark and grey!
We welcome your comments and questions...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So many fun things to tell everyone!!!

WOW..what a fabulous few days we have had here at SchoolTools 101. It began with a great interview and photo session with Phil and Hal from the Milford Times...we couldn't have done a great photo session without one of our star students, Courtney Bujaki!!
Later that afternoon we found out we have gotten our "non profit status"!!!!! This is huge...we will now be able to fund raise and accept donations so that we can offer our workshops to all children!! We have plans to be able to provide "School Tool kits" for children in Michigan who have had to face the beginning of school without the basics i.e. pencils, crayons, scissors, ruler, and all the other essentials every child deserves. To say we are feeling excited is an understatement!!
We were also thrilled to be a part of the Highland Business Association's Enrichment Day on Saturday. We provided items for the gift bags and were tickled to provide a door prize! We want to become a part of this fine organization in the near future.
So...while we were dealing with wild winds, no power, and no computer we were also counting our blessings to be a part of SchoolTools 101!!!
Please join us for one of our workshops...your child will thank you and you will see huge growth in them!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

School Tools Workshops- Questions about age range

We have had many parents ask us what is the appropriate age for the workshops, I am happy to answer that question, please e-mail or call if you have any questions.

Study Skills Workshop: is geared for 2nd - 8th grade. During the workshop the students will learn techniques that will last them a lifetime. For example, learning how to use a planner and staying organized is important for every age student, however a 2nd graders planner will be more simplistic than an 8th graders. The 8th grader will have much more information to write in their planner. During the workshop each student independent of their grade will learn the "how-to" and then they can apply it to their needs at this time in their life. Remember, they will have a skill to use forever.

How to Write an "A" Paper: Is geared for 4th - 8th grade.

How to Count Money: Is geared for elementary school children, 2nd - 5th grade.

Story Problem Survival Skills: 2nd - 5th grade.

Coping Skills: 3rd - 7th grade.

Pre-High School Boot Camp: 8th grade.

Empowerment and The "Can-Do" Attitude: 4th - 7th grade.

All our workshops are "hands-on", educational and fun!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What a turnout!!!

Even though Saturday was a spectacular sunny day we had a fabulous turnout for 2 workshops!!
Our morning began with "Study Skills 101" and the afternoon ended with "Writing an "A" Paper". We had a lively group of students for both classes. What I love about our workkshops is that we also learn along with the kids. Each time we get together we learn a new technique that we can share. I think the amount of fun equalled the amount of learning!
Another thing that really struck a note with me was that our Study Skills class had such a wide range of ages. A 2nd grader all the way up to a few 8th graders and everyone learned skills they will be able to use! WOW...wish we were around when my kids were this age !!
Please look at our schedule and sign up for a workshop...also ask about our new coupon program!!! Financial stimulus at its best!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Study Skills Student Earns An "A" on Science Test

A student who attended our Study Skills Workshop earns an "A" on his science test after using his new study skill techniques he learned at the workshop. We were so happy for him and he was so proud of himself.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Adventures with a bag of coins!!

I was at Wal-Mart yesterday buying Easter basket goodies. While near the toy aisle I saw an interesting sight. A child, probably about 7~9 and his mother were engaged in a heated debate. The boy had a plastic bag filled with assorted coins. He had an action hero clutched in his hand and was wailing "I NEED to buy this!!! How much money do I have??" His mother (bless her heart) was obviously on her last thread of patience and tersely responded "Don't they teach you how to count at school?". Then the tears came for both of them and mom put the bag of coins in her purse and pulled out her debit card.
I saw a lost opportunity here...the opportunity for the boy to make his own purchase and most probably making that toy even more special. There was also the opportunity for mom to see independence in her child.
We are having a workshop on counting money and we will be having lots of fun while lots of learning takes place! Each child should have an understanding of money, its worth and its uses. Check our claendar below for dates and times. As always we would love to come to you and teach a class...send us an email to find out how!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Making writing fun for the whole family

As we sit here during Spring Break with 9 inches of snow and the wind blowing it is inevitable to hear a parent's least favorite words "I'm bored!!". I have a great idea that will end up becoming a cherished and treasured family legacy. Why not begin a family journal? It is simple and fun. Choose a topic and let each family member write their thoughts in it. Even the littlest members can draw a picture or add a scribble.
Some fun topics to begin with:
What is your favorite family memory?
If Mom went on strike and didn't cook for a month who would be the best cook? Why?
If there were an alligator in the bathtub what would you do?
Things to remember are to keep your critiques light...nothing quells the creative spirit faster than criticism! Keep it in the family...not everyone likes to have their thoughts shared.
We have a fun workshop coming up on the 18th..."How to Write an "A" Paper". We plan on making the writing process much less daunting and scary...sign your student up and have them bring a friend!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Getting ready for our writing workshop

We are looking forward to our writing workshop on
Saturday, April 18 1:00pm-3:00pm. The students are
going to learn techniques to writing a winning paper.
The class will be hands-on and the students will be
participating in activities during the workshop. Looking
forward to a big success. Can't wait!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Yeah! We Welcome Feedback

One of our, School Tools 101: Study Skills, students used a new tool that he learned in our workshop to help him land an "A" on his spelling test. Learning how to make and use flashcards is a great tool that will last you a lifetime!

Friday, March 27, 2009

It was a great workshop!

Our School Tools 101: Study Skills workshop this past Wedneday was so much fun!
The students were so attentive and everyone participated in our discussions. I can't wait to hear about all their progress. We spent a great deal of time teaching the children how to use a planner and be organized. The kids also are working on short and long term goals. I can't wait to hear how everyone is doing. I love teaching our workshops, there is nothing better than to teach children skills to make them more productive and less stressed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We Welcome Home Schoolers!!

We are happy to have homeschoolers join in our workshops. As a homeschool mom I know the unique needs and challenges that we all face! Any of our workshops can be a wonderful addition to your co-op or your own individual lesson plan.
Please let us know if you would like to host a group or sign your child up for one of our many workshops. As a host we offer you a discount on the class!!! We ask for a minimum of 10 students to have a class.

Study Skills 101: Coping Skills

Being a tween / preteen has never been harder. This workshop will address the issues facing students today. Peer pressure, divorce, parent's job loss and more are subjects we will discuss. More importantly we will equip the students with tools to deal with these stresses. This class will empower your student to face life positively.

Monday, March 23, 2009

School Tools 101: How to Write an "A" Paper

Does your student struggle with the basics of writing?
Are you helping more than you should?

This workshop will start with a topic sentence and go all the way through the writing process. Dictionary and thesaurus skills, first draft, final copy and everything in between! This workshop will give your student the confidence to face any writing assignment.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

School Tools 101: How To Count Money

Let's face it; so many children (believe it or not) and young adults do not know how to count money. How many times do you go to the store and the cashier needs to use a calculator or rely on the cash register to give you change? I see it all the time!

School Tools 101: "How To Count Money", is an interactive class to teach the students in a fun atmosphere how to count money on their own, yes, in their head.
We will first start by teaching the kids all the different ways to make a dollar using change. Then we will set up a store and the kids will be able to learn how to count money to buy something and how to be a cashier and give change back. Then they will be ready to shop in the real world!

What we teach in our School Tools 101: Study Skills Workshop

All our workshops are hands-on and interactive. This insures that the students are engaged and actively learning. To quote one of our students, "This was so much fun and I learned so much".

In School Tools 101: Study Skills, we teach the children how to gain confidence and become independent learners. We spend time on how to focus and set short and long term goals. We discuss how to organize and use a planner and the importance of a well organized planner. The students learn how to take quality notes and make flashcards. We teach study skills and preparing for tests. We also spend time teaching the kids how to set up a study area at home with all the important tools needed to do homework.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Who Teaches School Tools 101

School Tools 101 is taught by two dedicated educators. We have years of experience with all ages and abilities of children. We believe that with the right tools each and every child can succeed.

We are passionate about what we do and give 100% of our energy in teaching children how to believe in themselves. If we can help children help themselves the world will be a much more productive place.

We are happy to travel anywhere at anytime to teach our workshops. We like to limit our workshops to 20 students per class so we can devote the time and attention to each child's individual needs.

Our classes are perfect for school groups, church youth groups, and Scout troops.

We are more than happy to answer any questions you have, so please blog or e-mail us.
If your child has already attended a School Tools 101 workshop and you or your child have any questions, please blog us. We will be a happy to respond.

About School Tools 101

School Tools 101's mission is to teach children the "Can-Do" attitude. The "Can-Do" attitude is to empower children to have the confidence over their school work and for children to have the ability to work on their own and feel good about it. We teach children how to study, prepare for tests, take notes, make flashcards and construct an outline. School Tools 101 is a two-hour hands-on class that teaches skills that will last a lifetime.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Questions to ask yourself

Do you sit with your child and help them with their homework?
Do your children rely on you to help them study?
Do you and your child argue while you help them with homework?
Do you enjoy helping your child with their homework?
Do you wish your child was more independent with their school work?
If you answered YES to any of the above questions, sign your child up for a workshop with:
School Tools 101
We believe:
Children need to learn how to work independently.
Parents need to set reasonable expectations for their child.
Children need to meet expectations on their own.
Children need to learn how to be responsible and take ownership for their work.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Welcome to School Tools 101 blog we are so excited about our venture.