Back to School

By John Focht

The changing of the calendar from August to September also means it’s time to shift from the summer season to the new school year. There is plenty to do this time of year as you and the kids gear up for another year of school. Getting into a routine and eating healthy after a summer of BBQ’s, campouts, and late nights is hard, but start adjusting now so the whole family is ready to get back into gear when that school bell sounds for another school year.

Getting Back into a Routine

One of the most important things for kids during the school year, particularly the younger kids, is a set routine. Sometimes with after school activities, or games, or practices, that’s not possible, but having a set routine with dinner, bed time, and waking up is helpful in getting the kids adjusted and easing them back into the daily routine.

Another helpful tip, particularly in the early part of the school season when the weather is still nice and it is still light outside for a few hours after dinner, is trying to set a routine for homework. Whether it is having your kids to do their homework immediately after they get home from school, or finishing it up after dinner, try to create a set time for homework. The routine of doing homework at the same time daily will help your child immensely as the school year kicks off.

Healthy Breakfast

It’s called the most important meal of the day for a reason. Getting the kids off to a good start in the morning starts with a healthy breakfast. A bowl of cereal, a piece of fruit, or a yogurt will go great with a glass or two of orange or apple juice. Provide plenty of nutrition for the kids in the morning to help carry them throughout the morning; don’t just send them off with a pop-tart or granola bar.

A healthy breakfast each morning will take your kids further each day and will provide them the energy they need.

Balanced Meals

Ok, so this one is a bit tough. Just how are you supposed to create balanced meals when the kids are going in separate directions each day between sports, after school activities, and just getting outside and being a kid?

Be sure your child is getting plenty of nutrition with each meal. A piece of fruit in the morning and in their lunches will help provide them energy throughout the day. At dinner, steer clear of fast-food or eating out every night. Make a strong healthy meal with a hearty mix of vegetables.

If your kids are eating at different times due to after school sports and activities, be sure they are still getting a good healthy dinner and not just a frozen dinner every night. Plan out the meals for the week to help ensure you, the kids, and the entire family are getting that well balanced meal. Planning your meals in advance will also help you steer clear of the frozen dinners and fast-food night nights out too.

Also, make Sunday night family dinner night. Get back to your family roots by planning a nice family Sunday meal in the dining room. Having quality family time is just as important to the overall health of your children as a plate full of green beans.


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Working Adults Going Back to School

By John Focht

Adults going back to school is not a recent phenomenon.  Working adults have returned to school for decades in the hopes of either finishing a degree they started decades earlier, or to further their education in the hopes of advancing their careers or starting new careers.

Today, nearly 4 million adults over the age of 35 are enrolled in a degree-granting institution, according to CNBC citing the National Center for Education Statistics.  

The large number of adults back in school after a substantial time away may have to do with the fact that nearly 89% of adults feel there is still room to grow in their current careers, according to Market Watch citing a 2012 poll conducted by the University of Phoenix.

In recent years, beginning with the University of Phoenix online availability, online courses have made it relatively less complicated for working adults to go back to school.  Data provided by Market Watch supports online courses are more advantageous for adults as 74% of adults between the ages of 25-34 are either currently enrolled in online courses, or plan to enroll in online courses, according to Market Watch.

Colleges and universities have made online courses readily available to students for all types of degrees, certifications, and general courses.  A student today can earn a master’s degree without ever stepping foot into the classroom.

Many online courses are designed in a manner that allow students to complete assignments on their own time.  Classroom participation is also required in some online classes through technology like Blackboard.  Blackboard is a software technology that enables professors and students to interact online.  In some ways Blackboard can be compared to a classroom chat room.

Whether taking courses online or in the traditional classroom setting, going back to school for many adults is a fact of life they face in order to keep up in their current job, or simply to hold their jobs.

Adults who have been in their career for 15-20 years have seen their salary rise through promotions or year-end salary adjustments.  In some cases, younger employees are able to come in and potentially do the same job for a much lower pay.  The older workforce, who are 15-20 years into their career, are faced with the potential of losing their job for younger and less-expensive workers.

Furthering an education is a way for adults to continue on their career path and not get stagnant in a specific role with a larger salary.  And of course furthering education is a way to make yourself more marketable in the job market overall, not just with your current employer.

The challenges some adults face in going back to school though is time and commitment.  After all, unlike the days of being 18, 19, 20 years-old, there is quite a bit more responsibility on your shoulder.  Juggling classes while working full-time and supporting your family can be quite challenging.

The fear factor of going back to school as an adult is a real factor too.  Whether going back to school in the traditional classroom setting or taking courses online, there can be an anxiety in going to class with students half your age.  From an online class perspective, the fear can be learning and understanding new technology on top of taking the actual class.  And of course, traditional classroom settings of sitting with and interacting with students who may not have even been alive the last time you were in a classroom.

Further education still remains one of the best options for adults who have been in the work force for 15-20 years. Whether it is to continue advancement in your career, or simply keeping yourself aware of recent technologies and ways of doing business.  It is also the best option if you are in a situation where you are considering changing careers.

Sources:

Epperson, Sharron. Adult education: Is it worth going back to school? CNBC. Web. 25 September 2013. www.cnbc.com/id/101059776

More than Half of Working Adults Plan to go Back to School and the Majority will Take an Online Course, reveals University of Phoenix Survey. Market Watch. Web. 19 December 2012. www.marketwatch.com/story/more-than-half-of-working-adults-plan-to-go-back-to-school-and-the-majority-will-take-an-online-course-reveals-university-of-phoenix-survey-2012-12-19

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