Marcia SteffensIt won't be long now.

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Marcia Steffens: Let’s make this the best school year ever

Published 9:45am Friday, August 28, 2009

I was once given a school slate with the message, “School days are the best time of the year … that is if your children are old enough to go to school.”

Often your children get bored as the summer days stretch on.

They are anxious to get back to school to see their friends.

Parents, too, are usually ready for the first day of school to come.

School is the place your children receive the tools which will help them in the coming years, as they choose careers and apply for jobs.

The responsibility, though, shouldn’t just be held by the teachers.

Parents, too, have a big responsibility when it comes to their children receiving the very best education they can – no matter which school district in which they reside.

Studies have proven that when the parents show interest in their child and encourage them to do their homework, their grades are better.

Parents also have some other tasks through the school year.

They need to make sure their child gets enough sleep the night before and has a healthy breakfast, whether at home or through one of the school breakfast programs.

Then again, when it’s time to go to parent-teacher conferences, they should make it a point to not miss them.

Showing interest in their child will have great rewards.

By instilling ethics in their children now, making sure they take school seriously, will show in later years when they they go out into the world and seek a job.

If they can’t get up for school and are constantly tardy, what do you think will happen when they go to college and later on when they have real jobs?

I have known students who always missed their first class of the morning, just because they never learned to get up on their own in the morning.

It isn’t the mom’s responsibility to have to wake their older children.

Growing up is a constant process. It doesn’t start when the student graduates from high school and goes out on their own for the first time, whether to college or a first job.
Those skills needed to be a responsible adult start being learned at a very young age.
Spoiling your child because you know someday they will be leaving you isn’t a good thing.

There have been many organizations which have been collecting school supplies and distributing them to kids who need them. That has been great for parents who can’t afford any extras this year.

There is something special about a new folder, note pad or book bag. Most of us probably still remember getting that new box of crayons, where all the tips are still sharp.
I still get excited about getting a new pen.

Hopefully, even with so many parents out of work, we can send the children to school with the proper supplies to help them have a good start to the school year.

A mention, too, about when they come home from school.

I know it is hard for every child to have someone to come home to, waiting with a healthy snack ready.

But kids can learn to help themselves with training.

What is important is if they can have a few minutes to at least talk to someone about their day.

So if you are allowed at work to have a phone call, that would be a good time to not only check that they got home, but take a minute to listen if they have something to tell you.
When people tell you these years will go by so quickly – believe them. I know I made a lot of mistakes, but I also feel good about many of the things I did correctly.
These tips to help your child out right this school year don’t take a lot of money, just some time and effort on your part.

Have a great school year and here is a big thank you to all our teachers.
Their job is so important.

Marcia Steffens, editor of the Niles Daily Star, Cassopolis Vigilant and Edwardsburg Argus, can be reached at

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