Aug 24, 2007

That Time of Year

Valerie J. Steimle

It’s getting to be that time of the year again. Public school is starting up and families are getting ready to go back to school. For some, the thought of going back to school conjures up all sorts of insecurities and bad memories. For others the thought of going back to school gives warm fuzzy feelings of learning and happiness.

I’m more in the order of the first type. “No, you were not one of the top ten popular girls in high school and you never went to prom.” It’s funny that those feelings come out when I think of school and I judge my learning abilities on popularity. But I had feelings of inadequacy and burn out abounded. In high school, I just wasn’t motivated to do well. By the time I was a senior, I did not want to go to school anymore. I eventually graduated and then went on to college.

But what of our children going to school? How can we motivate them to want to learn and be happy at school? That is a good question. How is it that when we were young (elementary years) we were so anxious to learn? We were like sponges. But then, by the time we hit high school learning became a chore. Maybe it was the way we got our information. Maybe it was the environment we had to sit in to really remember what we needed to know.

Whatever the reason, as adults we found some way to retain what we had learned and we are continuing to learn more. Learning should be a continual thing anyway until we are taken back to where we came from. And even then we keep on learning. We never stop. I remember when I was at BYU, President Kimball’s wife Camilla, talked about how she took a night adult class every semester to keep learning. That was amazing to me.

So I keep trying to find motivations for my children to keep learning. Whatever their interests ---that’s what I focus on. Children are really learning all the time anyway so it’s not like they stop learning. They just have a hard time focusing on what the teacher wants them to know. Always reading a book, having intelligent discussions around the dinner table of current events and keeping current of what is going on in school are good ways to help your children want to learn. It helps me to want to keep learning too. And I can just forget about not ever going to the prom. I hear it’s completely over rated anyway.


  1. Oh my goodness! I have been asking some of those same questions lately. I just read Oliver Van De Mille's "A Thomas Jefferson Education." Fascinating book. It focuses on the idea that teachers teach, and students educate. Teachers mentor...and students take responsibility to study and explore and learn. The book emphasizes the importance of instilling a love of learning and teaching with the classics. I wish I would have read the book a long time ago. I admire your dedication to schooling your children at home. My daughter is now schooling her children at home and I have the feeling many of my grandchildren will be taught at home. The book also emphasizes life long learning and service. I love it!

  2. The biggest problem with agency is that we can't just pour what we know into our kids. They have to learn it themselves, and it's usually the hard way. But it sure helps to provide a good environment for learning.

    Now I always loved school. It bothered me for years that I had no college degree, but I finally got a couple or three, if you count the AA. Actually, the degrees aren't as important as the certificate and the nicer salary. I wish I could find a way to be a proessional student.

    Actually, I'm taking a class now in writing a 'strong character based novel.', or something ike that. Pamela Goodfellow is marverlous, and over half the class are from ANWA. (Since there are nine in the class and 5 are ANWAs, that makes us half a studnt more than half the class. Hmmm. Wonder which of us is the half student?


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