“God give me work, till my life shall end / And life, till my work is done.”
~Winifred Holtby’s epitaph (in her own words)
Labor Day is right around the corner. On this special occasion, many of us are given a long weekend to celebrate. We have barbeques, picnics, parties or maybe a family vacation at the beach or some other enjoyable place. It’s the bridge between summer and the beginning of the traditional school year, which might make us, as homeschoolers think:
How can we incorporate Labor Day into our studies?
Sometimes the true meaning of a holiday gets lost in the celebrations, so maybe a review would be a good place to start.
- What is Labor Day?
- When did it begin and why?
- Who started it?
- Does it have the same meaning now as when it was first celebrated?
These questions could lead to a Labor Day journal activity, which can easily be adapted to different age groups. A Labor Day related cover can be drawn, painted, or created with other materials like felt, yarn, and pictures found on the computer or in magazines. Questions tailored to the child’s age can be answered within the pages of the journal in writing and in illustration. The holiday’s history can also be included in this section. If older relatives or friends live nearby, or are visiting, the students might interview them about what Labor Day was like when they were children. How was it different and how has it remained the same?
It is tempting to think that Labor Day is only celebrated in the United States, but is that really the case? If Labor Day is celebrated in other countries, how did it get started and when? What are their traditions? How are they similar and how do they differ from Labor Day traditions in the U.S.?
As a child, I used to confuse Labor Day and Memorial Day (the last Monday of May). I could never remember which holiday came during which month. It might be fun to brainstorm with the children to come up with some sayings to help remember the correct order. These sayings, along with Labor Day related quotes or poetry could be jotted down in the booklet.
A more personal section might also be added. Is the family going on a Labor Day related field trip? Include information and pictures in the booklet. Will there be a barbeque, pool party, vacation, or fireworks? What kinds of foods will be prepared and eaten? Why are they chosen? What recipes are old favorites? Where did they come from? Are there new additions? Write it all down.
If you and your family are interested in new recipes for the holiday, many can be found on the internet or in the local library. I found these online:
Ranch Potato Salad
(~ My Catholic Kitchen)
2 1/2 lbs red, purple and yellow potatoes
1 cup Ranch dressing
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup pimentos
2 hard boiled eggs coarsely chopped
chives for garnish
Cook potatoes in a small amount of boiling salted water for about 35 minutes or until tender. Drain and peel when cool enough to handle. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Add dressing, mustard, celery, onion, pimentos, and eggs. Toss gently to mix well.Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Sprinkle with chives right before serving.
Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
“Ice cream sandwich cake is made by layering ice cream sandwiches with hot fudge topping, caramel topping, and whipped topping for a decadent and crowd-pleasing dessert that will be requested for every gathering.”
24 vanilla ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped
2 (8 ounce) containers whipped topping (such as Cool Whip ®), thawed
1 (12 ounce) jar hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 (12 ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping
¼ cup chopped pecans
Arrange a layer of ice cream sandwiches in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch dish; top with a layer of whipped topping, hot fudge topping, and caramel topping. Repeat layering with remaining ice cream sandwiches, whipped topping, hot fudge topping, and caramel topping, ending with a top layer of whipped topping. Sprinkle with pecans. Cover dish with aluminum foil and freeze until set, at least 30 minutes.
With all the focus on food and labor, the concept of work and how it relates to our faith might get lost in the shuffle. What did the saints and the Bible have to say about work? Consider ending the journal with a quote or saying by a saint, or a Biblical verse relating to work and/or rest, such as:
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
God bless and Happy Labor Day.Do you scrapbook or create notebook journals with your child?