It’s back to school time – get ready to learn | PostIndependent.com
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It’s back to school time – get ready to learn

Patty Schaffner
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

As a young mom, I remember having very mixed feelings about the return of our children for the beginning of yet another school year. On one hand I felt sad that summer was indeed over and winter loomed ahead. But to be honest, I dreaded the “homework scene” that would soon take over the kitchen table and much of my time as far as encouragement and motivation, not to mention assistance. I actually scheduled time in my day timer on the first day of school to fill out the stack of parent forms that my children inevitably toted home. As an empty-nester, I realize I miss those days in many ways.

I miss the time together over an afternoon snack of talking about their day. I noticed that if I asked them how school was, they said “fine” and that was the end of that. However, if I asked them, “What was the best thing that happened at school today” or the “funniest thing that happened today” or “how did your math test go,” I got a lot more information. This often led to actual discussions about friends, morals and life in general. How fun this was to watch the personalities in our children emerging! Often, after a snack and a bit of talk, the kids would pull out their homework assignments and begin their homework. Thankfully, both of the kids really enjoyed school and wanted to excel so, they were fairly self motivated about their homework. I enjoyed having them at the kitchen table as I could prepare dinner and be close at hand should they have any questions. We had set aside a drawer in the kitchen where we kept school supplies, so if they needed something for a project, it was readily available for them and we didn’t waste time searching for the red construction paper or a report folder.

I miss the fun of watching a science project take form in the garage or on the floor of the family room. I miss trying to figure out with my child how many sugar cubes they might need to build a replica of the Roman Colosseum and saving cans of various sizes so my child could build his junkman complete with balloon lungs. I miss being the “audience” for a practice reading of a book report or a prepared speech on a political issue, or a song for choir. I miss making games out of flashcards and learning some Latin in the process. I miss finding a salamander in the pond scum that was collected for biology class. I miss the look on the face of my child when they had an “Ah-ha” by understanding something that previously confused them.



What I realize now is that I learned a lot when my children went to school: most importantly, what it means to be a family – complete with all the harried and busy times. If you are reading this and are dreading another school year for what ever reason, remember there are no dress rehearsals, this is it. So make the most of this school year, enjoy the time with your children and get ready to learn!

– Patty Schaffner is Director of the Pals mentoring program at YouthZone and mom to two grown children. For information on Pals or any of the YouthZone programs, please visit http://www.youthzone.com or call 970-945-9300.


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