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Back to the Books: Getting the Children in School Mode

You might want to try some of these suggestions to get your children's brains working after a relaxed summer.

As a child, I always wanted to grow up. But all the adults I knew would only tell me how they wish they could be a kid again. This didn’t make sense to me. A whole new, undiscovered world was waiting for me as a grown-up, and I only felt restricted in youth.

Then I grew up. And now I wish I could be a kid again. The responsibility, the heartache, the grief, the stress — I was warned.

The point is, we all experience the same emotions. We may perceive them differently and experience them in different proportions, but we all fear and love, we get frustrated and upset, we care and regret, all and more. And all of these are relative to our situation and personal history.

Today, I feel anxiety when a bill’s due date is near and I’m not sure if I can cover it, or what my blood test results will come back with after a trip to the doctor, or whether ... well, anything bad will happen to my son.

But when I was his age, I remember the same anxiety (though I didn’t know what to call it then) when it was time to go back to school. I didn’t want to give up the idea of freedom in summer, but I was also very nervous and restless about having to deal with life inside the public school system, again and again.

With summer vacation ending in a few weeks, it’s time to get kids prepped for the school year. Here are some ideas to boost their preparedness and confidence as your little ones jump back into their busy season.

Math

I’ve suggested before, and it’s still one of my favorite ways to educate my son. He and I write each other a set of math problems on my car windows, then race to finish. Or I’ll write a series of problems on the glass storm door at the front door of the house; he is much more interested in getting his work done (and more quickly) when the novelty of writing on anything besides paper is added to the equation. ( offers a large selection of dry-erase markers and erasers of various colors and sizes.)

Reading

My son is 7, and though he is reading above my expectations, his books are still very simple, quick reads for an adult. To finish off the summer, we’re going to read the same book. It won’t take much time out of my day to keep pace with him, but it will give us something to connect on, have a conversation over dinner about. It's something that we’re both enjoying separately while promoting his reading skills, especially information extraction and retainment. And with our expanded , finding shouldn’t be too hard.

Writing

A daily journal is a great way to allow kids to be creative, practice their handwriting and get to know how their minds work and reflect on their actions and ideas. You can grab wide-ruled journals at .

Philosophy of Learning

I try my best to promote the importance of education, but I also tie that in with a heaping helping of humility. I want my son to absorb plenty of the knowledge that is out there, but I want him to see everything through a logical looking-glass. Always be willing to sing a different tune as new information becomes available; absolutes are a dangerous game.

To prove that, let your children pick a topic — something they’re interested in. And even if you know quite a bit about the topic, try going to the library and getting a book on the subject and go over it together. Show them that there is always more to learn and that even their seemingly flawless parents are always adding to their education.

There may be a whole new world that opens up to you when you grow up, but in reality, so much is the same.

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