Bloggernacle Back Bench: Back-to-school blogs

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 28 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

'Tis the season for sharpened pencils, freshly pressed pleats, empty notebooks and ringing bells. And the blogs are also preparing to head back to school with lists and even some academically minded musings.

Today is the first day of the school year. My kids dressed in new clothes and haircuts are now at school and ready to be molded and learn all sorts of new stuff. Today is also a new beginning for me. I only have one child at home and should be ecstatic at the prospect of having so much time to write and work on my books. Wrong.” Author C. Michelle Jefferies, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, writes about how she hopes to get in more writing time as well as likens going back-to-school with writing awesome story, "Beginnings." Click in.

Hoping to be thrifty in compiling new school wardrobes for kids? Perhaps let go of the “new” qualifier. This blogger advises provides “Back-to-School Clothing Shopping Tips” on her blog. “Find thrift stores. Do a Google search for thrift stores in your area. In a 10-mile radius I have two Deseret Industries, two Kid-to-Kid stores, one Savers, two Platos Closet (teens), and one Once Upon a Child. Your area may have The Salvation Army or The Goodwill.” She continued, “Add prices. Include the estimated retail price, sales price and thrift/clearance price to your list. These details will keep things under control. Do you really know what it costs to clothe a child? I assumed 50 percent off the retail for a good sales price, 80 percent off the retail price for a stupendous thrift/clearance price. You can look up retail prices online at your favorite stores. Use a spreadsheet to make it easy to figure out the total cost of items. But notepaper works just as well.”

These four “School Traditions” are fantastic and creative. Surprise your kids with a little something from the “back-to-school fairy” or make a chalkboard-inspired treat. Plus, do your “back-to-school” father’s priesthood blessings. Check out why this blogger says they are an important tradition in their family.

Or consider making your kids lunchboxes a bit more fun. This blogger explains that “Kindergarten Lunchboxes Need Kid Jokes.” Why? “If your kindergartner isn't reading yet, it will be fun for the children to try and figure out the joke — maybe a cafeteria worker will help. Print the words big and draw some clues for words. Telling and remembering jokes is good for children. It helps them sequence, relate to others, and stimulates their thinking. Laughter releases stress and connects people. Usually, a letter a week is studied in kindergarten.” Check out her whole list of jokes, one for each letter of the alphabet.

Jumping from kindergarten to junior high, this blogger has some “Random Thoughts after Spending the Week with 8th Graders.” Some thoughts include: “You have to be specific with adolescents. Adults talk about concepts like ‘kindness’ and ‘leadership’ and ‘responsibility’ and kids nod and we think we've connected. A very few kids will hear that and translate those concepts into specifics. Most, however, won't. I've learned, and am re-learning, how important it is to give concrete details and examples.” The blogger explains that sometimes there are communication barriers when adults speak. “‘Kindness means more than just not being actively unkind. It means when you see someone sitting alone you invite them to join you. It means that when you see someone who needs help you help them. If someone is sad, you ask them what's wrong and offer to help.’ Etc. Generalities that make sense to adults often don't really translate well to kids. I am convinced that this is a huge source of adult/adolescent misunderstanding.” Brilliant insight. Click in for more.

Now let’s see what else we can learn from the Bloggernacle:

Power pick: And now it’s time for all of us to learn something new, courtesy of these bloggers serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission: “We're taking pictures of all the diverse buildings that we go to for church, interviews, conferences, etc. There are so many that we'll never get to all of them in Kinshasa. We can't even find all of them on our own. They range from really nice, church-built buildings to small, rented, insufficient ones where the members have to sit outside the chapel because there isn't room for them all in the building. But the lessons, the music and the spirit are the same in all of them, sometimes it's even sweeter in the poor, run-down little ‘salles’ or with just a few members in a home.” Enjoy going on a virtual tour of some “(LDS) Church Buildings of the Kinshasa Mission.”

Techie tip: I love these “Infographics: What Life Was Like in 1940” produced by Ancestry.com and in perfect timing with the completion of the indexing project, you can peruse through these 50-plus infographics that “creatively display each state and what life was like in 1940. See all the image below, and feel free to download, save, repost and share any of these images for your friends, family or just your own collection.” Awesome!

Emily Warburton Jensen loves searching through the LDS blog world for developments and testimonies that best capture the ever-evolving LDS online experience. Email: ejensen@desnews.com

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