Archive for July, 2015

2015 Summer Jobs

Summer Job Collage with text

This is the second summer that John and Brock have had summer jobs.  John took a different job this year as a “sandwich artist” at Subway, and Brock returned to Arby’s.

John’s job has been quite a change for him from working at Dillons last summer.  The Subway where he works is located at a truck stop and is steadily busy 24/7.  It really focuses on serving truckers and I-70 travelers.  The store has been short-staffed this summer, so John has been getting lots of experience in many different areas and has been getting full-time hours most weeks.  He has said that one of the most important things he has learned from working at Subway is how fortunate he is to be going to college.  Some of his co-workers have commented that he is living their dreams, and he doesn’t want to waste that opportunity.  A friend of mine advised John to make the most of every class, every lecture–glean all that he can.  God has given him a wide-open door, and it is exciting to see how He will continue to lead.  John enjoys his job and has grown a lot through it.  He says that he has a good day if he can help others to have a good day.  That’s a pretty good outlook!

Brock returned for the second summer to Arby’s.  This year he is old enough to run the fryer, so that has been new for him.  He does different jobs–sometimes he cashiers, sometimes he does drive-through, and sometimes he does the fryer.  I can always tell when he has been doing the fryer because his apron will be really greasy when he comes home!  🙂  I have to say that Arby’s has been really good to Brock.  They are very organized and thorough in their training, and that has been wonderful.  Working in a fast-food place right off of the Interstate is no small thing, and I am proud of him for the job he is doing.

I have always believed that there are life-lessons to be learned that can only be learned by having a job, and I still believe that.  Working gives the boys responsibility and maturity that nothing else does.  We’ll have to see about next summer–maybe Cosette will be ready to give it a try too!

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After this sweet little piano student of mine finished her piano lesson, she and Cosette were enjoying making up songs using Tune Train on my iPad.  They were just so cute sitting there having fun that I just had to grab my camera and get a picture.  It came out pretty cute, but it doesn’t capture the laughter and love that these two girls were sharing.  They are definitely two peas in a pod–a big pea and a little pea!  🙂

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IMG_1056[1] With TextThis was the Prairie Family’s third year of writing the Readers’ Theater script for the summer library program.  This year was a little different from the previous two, however.  For the first two years we took mystery parties and adapted them for this format.  This year we started with nothing–nada–completely from scratch.

This year’s summer reading theme was “Every Hero Has a Story.”  We met with the children’s librarian in the late summer of 2014 to brainstorm ideas on possible scripts, and that was where this script had its beginnings.  We tossed around several ideas, but finally settled on some type of talent show or contest for superheroes.

The original writing group started out as John, Brock, and myself.  We spent time discussing possible scenarios and characters and eventually the basic structure of our story began to come together.  We decided that it would indeed be a “talent show,” the winners of which would be the stars of a new, amazing comic book series.  We developed some outrageous characters to audition for the roles of superhero and supervillain, and we were well on our way to having a script.  As we went along, a theme fell into place that ended up being pretty cool:  true heroes are found among common, ordinary people.

As the writing continued, John’s senior year of high school progressed and became busier and busier.  We both reached the conclusion that he would have to step back a little from the script to get his schoolwork done on time.  So, Cosette graciously took a couple of the characters that he had started and really did a great job working on her first script.  Her characters were definitely memorable and interesting–I guess she’s a natural writer!  John kept his other character and finished everything on time.  Brock wrote for three characters, and I wrote for the remaining three characters.

The library likes to have middle-schoolers do the program, so Kara and Luke were able to be involved in the actual production.  Luke played the part of Crash Cranium, a retired superhero who served on the panel to select the winners of the contest.  Kara played the famous opera singer, High N. Mighty, whose singing abilities could bring any evil villain to his/her knees! It was pretty fun watching the performance of the show.  It’s definitely interesting to see how the actors’ interpretations of the script add to the story.  Here is a picture of the authors enjoying the show: IMG_1061[1] with text

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Drama Collage

This summer I tried something new:  leading drama classes for a local church’s summer youth activity program.  After all was said and done, I don’t know who had more fun–the kids or me!  🙂

I had become familiar with mystery parties through our involvement in adapting scripts for readers’ theater programs.  We had never used one in the party format, but I always thought that it would be fun to try.  So, when this opportunity came up to do a fun drama activity with kids, I decided to give the whole mystery party thing a try.

I had two groups:  one for elementary-school-aged kids, and one for middle-schoolers.  (My “middle school” group ended up incorporating most of the kids from my elementary class because they had so much fun the first week that they wanted to come back for a second week!)

For the younger class, we used A Medieval Mystery from Dramatic Fanatic.  This party’s format was perfect for my younger students because it pretty clearly laid out who was supposed to say what through scripted cards.  We followed the cards pretty closely, but added some impromptu questions and games that allowed the kids to put their best acting skills to use!

The older class did Mancy Crew and the Case of the Diamond Heist from My Mystery Party.  The kids really got into character for this activity!  This game was well-suited for the older kids in that it had specific information for each character to share, but it was left up to the kids to determine how they would share their clues and what their characters’ personalities would be like.  Needless to say, it was pretty interesting to watch!  The mystery was fairly complicated to solve, but I actually had a couple of kids that had it pretty much figured out by the time we revealed the ending of the mystery.

I’ve already had several kids ask if we can do this again next year.  My answer to that is that a lot can happen in the course of a year, but at this point I would certainly be willing to offer it again.  It was good for the kids to experience a drama activity without the pressure of a performance.  This was truly a fun time of make-believe, and isn’t that what acting is?!

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Sunday School Collage with Text

We are part of a fantastic small country church, and we are blessed with a wonderful group of kids that make up our Sunday School classes.  I teach the “Junior” class, which, in our case, includes kids from 3rd grade through 7th.  I love my little class–they don’t even realize what a blessing they are!  They are so sharp on Biblical truths that they really keep me on my toes!

This spring, I gave my class a challenge.  I told them that if the class met certain goals relating to attendance, Scripture memory, and weekly Bible study completion, we would have a class party in the early summer that would probably include swimming.  Well, they more than met the challenge! So we set a date and had our party.  Our pastor and his wife provided pizza.  Then we watched the movie Babe at the church, and then, as promised, we ended our day at our local water park for a great time of swimming and fellowship.

I was so pleased with how the kids all participated in this challenge, so we decided to try it again for the summer quarter.  If they continue to meet the goals, we will have a water-balloon launch/water-balloon game day right before school starts again.  Should be a good time!

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To celebrate his graduation, John requested that we not have a formal ceremony or reception, but rather that we would find a special musical event to attend together as a family.  So, I set him to work to find what he’d like to see.  After a lot of research, John decided to go to the Empire Lyric Players’ presentation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera, The Mikado.

To be honest, none of us knew quite what to expect from this show.  We had gone to musicals, but never an “opera,” so I told the kids that even if the music isn’t what we are used to, we can always appreciate good acting, staging, etc.  Little did I know that my preconceived worries were unwarranted!  🙂  The show was a big hit with everyone!  It was entertaining and funny, and the music was superb.  The kids were all quite impressed that even though there seemed to be no amplification, every line and every note came through with great clarity.  By the time we left the show, the kids were convinced that the college should do a Gilbert and Sullivan show this year!  LOL!

We’re planning to keep track of what this group is performing in the future.  They are well worth traveling to see!  Here is a video of some of the highlights of The Mikado made by the theater company:


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Final Grade Collage with Text

Yes, it is official!  John officially completed all of his required coursework for A Beka Academy and graduated in May.  His senior year was pretty hectic, but he was very diligent to get all of his work finished on time.  He has been an excellent student, and we are all excited to see him go forward as the Lord leads him.

People often ask what John is planning to do next.  He will be attending Kansas State University beginning in August.  He is currently pursuing a math major with a music (piano) minor and is really looking forward to studying both areas.  He is exploring career options, and there is plenty of time for that.  As part of his math program, he will be taking a class this fall that discusses possible careers in math, and that will be helpful.  He’s actually going to have a pretty hefty first semester–he’s signed up for calculus, chemistry (with lab), expository writing, economics, choir, and piano.  He really wanted to take music theory, but they told him that class is reserved for music majors in the fall semester, so he’ll do that next spring.  His roommate is a Christian homeschool graduate, and they will be living in Goodnow Hall.

So, this is a summer of transition for John.  He has kept working away at the piano and has a job at Subway (where he is putting in a LOT of hours).  Many people have said that they sympathize with me–having my oldest son leave home soon and all.  But I don’t need sympathy!  🙂  I can honestly say that I am thrilled to see God leading John and know that He will care for him every step of the way.  Our whole purpose in being Christian parents is to raise these kids to follow God’s leading and then to rejoice as we see God fulfill HIS purpose in their lives.  We are blessed–truly blessed–and we are thankful!

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