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...