by Dick Buckingham
I know we would all agree that education is one of the most important elements of our lives. From the time we are born until the day we leave this earth, we are continually learning from a variety of sources. One source of education, which I will call formal, is highly valued and we strive for the best possible formal education for ourselves as well as our children. Therefore, decisions about where I place my child to receive this education and by whom are some of the most critically important decisions I make as a parent.
Education is designed to influence children’s minds and hearts. We take our children and put them under the care and protection of adults who are called upon to impart the truth and knowledge they believe is important. We place them in a room of peers who exert a great deal of influence to conform to the thinking and mind set of the whole. All of these things place a significant amount of pressure upon our children to agree with and accept everything they are told without question. Therefore we shouldn’t be surprised, as alluded by Voddie Baucham, that when we send our children to be trained by Caesar, they come out acting like Romans.* That is the purpose and design of education.
by Jennie Smith
Secondary Principal and Mom to a 7th Grader
In one week, my oldest child will be a junior higher. I spent this past weekend getting him ready. We had long talks about what he might encounter. We bought school supplies. We packed things away and I tried to cram every bit of wisdom I have into two days. How does a secondary principal get her child ready to enter the land of the secondary student? Here are some of the ideas I felt it was important to cover with my son this weekend.
Being organized is a key to success in junior high and high school. The best way to organize is with a three ring binder, but with the limited time to put things away at the end of class, a child needs a stuffing place. There are binders now with a built in pocket where a student can stuff papers quickly. In the first few weeks, sit with your child each night and show him/her where to put the papers. He will quickly pick up on the concept and hopefully continue on his own.
Learning to live out of a locker and backpack rather than a desk can be a big transition. On the first day, access to the locker may be limited (due to time) and slow (due to the learning curve). Send your child to school with his/her binder, a few notebooks, and some writing utensils. Pack the rest of the
supplies in a bag that can be brought before school the next day. Then, your child can leisurely set up his locker without the pressure of getting to class.
Without a desk, the supplies a student needs can weigh down a backpack. Have your child store extra pens and pencils in pencil box and keep it in his locker. Extra paper and notebooks can be kept there as well. That way, when they are in need, they can make a quick stop and be refueled for their next class.
Where to Go
Moving from class to class can be intimidating. Be sure to attend any open house available and allow your child to take his/her schedule and move from class to class. Having the path already in mind can assist in alleviating a child’s first day jitters.
The topic of conversations begin to change as children enter junior high. The topics and temptations become more serious and sometimes life-changing. My husband, son, and I enjoyed breakfast and a “date” to discuss these topics. We encouraged him to honor God above everything – in conversation and action. It was important to us to equip him with the tools he needed to grow up from boy to young man. What topics do you need to cover with your adolescent that will ready him or her to stand firm in the faith?
I thought sending him to Kindergarten was tough, but here we stand, at the brink of manhood. There is only so much preparing we can do. Commit in these days to fervently pray for your son or daughter. Pray that God will strengthen them, encourage them, provide for them, and meet them in the time of need. I’m excited to watch what God will do as Levi enters the new world of junior high.
by Dick Buckingham
Correct summer habits. During the summer time, children often stay up late, sleep in and generally keep whatever schedule they want. A wise parent is one who begins to bring back a schedule for his or her children a week or two prior to the beginning of the school year. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made, but aren’t able to correct several months of a lack of schedule overnight. I know it is difficult to communicate to children that it is time to start going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting up earlier to get ready to arrive at school timely, but you will save yourself and your child much difficulty in the first few weeks of school if you prepare them before hand. Make it fun! Plan some early morning activities that they can look forward to!
Activate their bodies. While children are generally busy and active during the summer, it is helpful to get them moving a little more, getting their bodies awake and ready for a more active routine. Try to schedule some exercise each day. In fact, you could combine this one with the first suggestion and plan to go a couple of mornings a week to a neighborhood park when they can play and exercise to get their brains going and fresh. It will be much cooler then as well.
Feed their brains. Let’s face it; we all let nutrition go out the window a little during the summer time. Who doesn’t enjoy the dish of ice cream before bed or the bag of popcorn while watching a movie on TV? But we also know that what we feed our bodies is what fuels our bodies and our minds. Start getting your child back in the habit of making good food choices and tone up their eating habits. The side benefit is that you can get back on the wagon again yourself!
Get their number. Try to find ways to get them to brush up on their math skills. For the younger ones, have them count forwards and backwards, add and subtract. For those a little older, review the multiplication tables. You can make this fun by doing it with things you are already doing. Have them add fractions as you are using a recipe to put dinner together. Have them count the number of steps it takes to make one lap around the playground and figure out how many steps they ran in 8 laps. For the older students, ask them to differentiate the coefficient of the tangent as x approaches 0. Well, ok, that may be a bit much, but you get the idea.