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The Back to School Challenge

New Sneakers

It’s that time of the year again…New outfits being purchased.  Stockpiling of supplies.  Sleep schedules re-adjusted.  Summer days drifting away.  And that’s just for me.  I won’t even mention the list for the kids.  Yep, it’s time for back to school!

I can always remember that first day of school because my feet would hurt from the new sneakers and I felt awkward in those new pants and shirt.  Much like a dog after his bath, I couldn’t wait to roll around in the grass or dirt to break everything in.  Ah, the memories.

Back to school also brings lots of emotions to the surface for most parents.  It’s that time of the year when we ask ourselves if our kids are on the right track or whether we’re doing everything we can to ensure a bright future.  Inevitably, the answer is yes but it’s difficult to trust ourselves when the answers lie so far away.

Since both of our children will be in school this year, I’m assuming said emotions (and activities) will most like double or triple.  And since Jolt Cola filed for bankruptcy protection, where will we find the energy to keep up with it all?

And then it hit me.

While in the midst of a recent run, I recalled the Law of Simplicity* (or perhaps I made it up along the way).  And I asked myself, “what is one thing I can focus on during this school year that will accelerate their growth the most?”

*there’s a certain beauty about keeping things simple in life

And the answer was really quite easy.  I’ll challenge them in a subject they already seem to enjoy.  For Owen, he’s been asking to work on his math workbook – one that he picked out by himself at the book store – after we put him in bed for the night.  As for Malia, she’s shown an interest in reading, so I’ll put a little extra oomph into helping her make it happen.  Of course, we’ll still need to do all the other homework and fun stuff…but this is something I can do to help make a difference in their learning.

Which brings me back to the challenge:

What is the one thing you can do this school year to most effectively help your child?

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Although my kids are all grown up now, as a fifth grade teacher, I share your “going back to school” thoughts. The one thing that I wish every family could give to their child this year, to most help with learning and love of school, is to find fun times to just read together. Read magazines and share, read newspapers and show them to the kids, read books out loud just for the pure fun of it. Same for math! Cook together and double the recipe, do Sudoku or other puzzles for fun. I worry a bit that “fun” is more and more left out of our classrooms……

    August 26, 2012
    • Brilliant advice! Thanks for stopping by. I know if our kids are having fun they’re so much more engaged and their attention span almost seems to double.

      August 26, 2012
  2. M. Nieboer #

    Greetings Shafer Power. Good luck from Holland with all your back to school activities!

    August 27, 2012
    • Thank you very much. I’d be curious to hear about the landscape in Holland as it pertains to education and entrepreneurism…if you get the chance.

      August 29, 2012
  3. Tam #

    Summer days drifting away? Isn’t that a song from Grease? I feel bad for today’s students as there is so much pressure to be the best. I hope you are able to keep it fun for your kids.

    August 28, 2012
    • Come to think of it, that IS a song from Grease. Great catch! As my wife says, “If the children are having fun, they’re much more likely to learn.”

      August 29, 2012
  4. Penny #

    My biggest challenge is not crying so much. It’s tough for me when the kids go back to school. Sniff. Sniff.

    August 28, 2012

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