The Way I See it: Learning is not just for kids

Michele Blais remembers the school days of her sons and urges parents to be involved

As a parent sending my children off to school I had mixed feelings, as I knew life would never be the same as we hand our kids over to a large system. I wanted my kids to have a great teacher who was interesting and kind. I was less concerned about their great French accent as I was their personality. My boys went to Beairsto, one left at Grade 6 and the other went all the way through the French program.

I wanted kids to be nice to them, that they would make friends and for the boys to want to be at school. I wanted them to have a great education.

I believe for the most part we had all of that and more. The boys had some outstanding teachers and made some great friends. As a parent reflecting back there are some things I would have done differently.

I have two boys with very different personalities and learning styles, and it is important to understand this and I wish I had paid more attention to this.

Making a connection with the teachers and meeting with them when you have concerns is really key, as well if you can bring in some extra resources like a tutor this can be really helpful.

At the same time, just being present with your kids while they are doing their homework so you are the resource can make a positive difference. Other parents are tremendous resources from everything from learning techniques to social behavior, nutrition, etc. and for support.

In hindsight it feels like they whipped through school in a couple of years, being the wonder children and all. Sometimes daily living bogs us down with work, housework, laundry, our responsibilities to other family, community, etc. Time with the kids for school is very important. The early years make a big difference, especially with the fundamentals.

I was very fortunate to have employers that allowed me to volunteer with the school activities and this was so wonderful. Getting to share the learning experience, and to see your kids interacting with their peers and teacher is a great opportunity.

Now with the fall upon us I want to buy school supplies and am looking at college calendars for one of the lads. What a great selection there is out there for us, from the arts and sciences to the very practical courses that are employment-driven — very smart.

We have signed up for Spanish classes and am very excited about this now that we are visiting Spanish- speaking countries on a regular basis. Hopefully I won’t butcher the Spanish language like I do the French. I have found that people are just glad that you try to speak their language. Both of my sons speak French and have travelled to France where they used it as well as in Quebec. They were able to have some additional great experiences because of their languages.

Fall is a great time to learn something new as there are many courses within our community listed in the College and the Parks and Recreation calendars. We often set goals at this time and review that bucket list again and this is the time to try to put something into action.

On a recent trip to Vancouver I was bombarded with the arts world, with so many great shows, galleries, and art on the streets, from buskers to paintings being sold in front of the gallery, the architecture, etc. I was so enjoying how all of these fill up our world with colour, and feed our souls. Express yourself!

The beauty of growing older is we are less self conscious of our attempts and more willing to just try.

Learning is not just for the young, be a life-long learner.

A longtime columnist, Michele Blais writes about a variety of issues for The Morning Star, appearing every other Sunday.