Home Living Extension Update from Megan Burda: Fair Reflections & Back to School Tips

Extension Update from Megan Burda: Fair Reflections & Back to School Tips

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As we clean out the buildings, sweep the barns and set our sights on state fair, I can’t help but feel grateful. 2017 marked another great year for the York County Fair! It takes dedication, drive, resilience and a love for learning to keep that county fair enthusiasm. These are the qualities that I witnessed in the numerous people who made one of the most memorable weeks of the year come to life. Fair is nothing without the people who make it happen. And in York County, we certainly were not short on “make it happen” people. I am grateful for all the superintendents who signed on early in the year to spearhead the various shows and judging events. I am grateful for 4-H Council members who offered a helping hand at a moment’s notice and made sure the 4-H Food Stand was up and running throughout the week. I am grateful for the Ag Society members who made sure we had what we needed at all times and always had encouraging words to share. I am grateful for a dynamic office team that works well together under pressure and keeps it fun! Most of all, I am grateful for all the 4-H families who came out to the fair and gave it their all. The best thing about county fair is the opportunity to see their hard work in the spotlight and meet the kids behind the projects. So, thank you York County for making my 8th career county fair a memorable one. I am looking forward to many more fairs in York County!


Back to School Tips

The busyness of afterschool activities and homework assignments is on the horizon. As families are pulled in different directions for school, work, practices and activities, time as a family comes at a premium. Making efforts to help your children build focus, could decrease the need for time spent on homework in order to free up more time for family activities. Creating a permanent, designated study space is one way to build your youth’s focus. Here are a few items to keep in mind when creating the study space:

  1. Make It Work For You – Every child is different and has different needs. Some prefer a quiet corner in their room while others may prefer to be close to a parent for help at the kitchen table. Just make sure that the traffic and noise of other family members do not become a distraction.
  2. Manage the Senses – Lighting and noise issues are very common distractions. Tired eyes have more difficulty transferring knowledge into memory. To keep sharp, make sure to provide adequate overhead lighting to limit squinting. Also, check that electronic devices like laptops and tablets are set at a comfortable level.
  3. Make It Comfortable – Temperature and seating can make a difference in a youth’s ability to concentrate. Make sure that the study space keeps the child relaxed, but alert. It is also important that he or she has adequate space to spread out books, papers and materials to make the space efficient. While a bed may make a great space for spreading out, it may prove too relaxing. Consider a cushioned chair with generous table space. Also, it is important that the chair fit the youth. Dangling legs and hunched shoulders can create distractions as well.
  4. Keep It Organized – Another way to increase the efficiency of the space is to keep all supplies and materials readily available and easy to find. Any time spent looking for the lost blue marker is time spent away from the task and an opportunity for further distraction. Organized space provides a launching pad for organized study. Keep clutter at a minimum using cubbies, canisters and boxes. A calendar, planner or to-do list can also keep homework assignments and activities prioritized and on track for on-time completion.
  5. Limit Distractions – While the computer and television can be excellent sources of educational content, they also provide limitless distraction. If the child believes they can focus better with a little background noise, try some recorded music and save the favorite show as a reward when they can spare his or her attention.
  6. Make It Your Own – If the child is expected to spend considerable time in the study space, let him or her decorate the space with posters, pictures or artwork. These items could provide creative inspiration for the child’s next essay or art project.

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