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Festive Friday goes back to school

Festive Friday participants learn how to help children and grandchildren succeed in school.
Retired teacher Thelma Livingston talks about how to help your children succeed in school.


Festive Friday was held at the county building recently. The topic was Back to School. Many helpful hints and tips were given to parents and grandparents to help children succeed in school. Barbra Jones from the Extension Office said it's important to take time when it comes to homework and breakfast. If we can find time for a lot of extracurricular activities, then it's important to take time to make sure homework is completed each night. Students will perform significantly better in school if each morning begins with breakfast.

Jones prepared sack lunches for each of the attendees at Festive Friday. The sacks were colorful and filled with articles to read and puzzles and games for the children. The meal inside cost less than $1.50 and included a sandwich of chicken salad, fruit cup, cookie and carrots.

The parents were encouraged to plan and eat dinner together with their families. Children who eat with their families have a larger vocabulary and are less likely to become involved in drugs and alcohol abuse. Christine Jensen said in a week's time 30 percent of families do not eat even one meal together.

Thelma Livingston is a retired teacher who also has a degree in psychology. She spoke to those present, "We all want to have our children succeed and be on top. We want them to be the best."

Livingston encouraged parents to make sure children have activities that keep them active physically. Too much time is spent in inactivity in front of video games or the TV. "Their minds can't work without exercise. It doesn't matter what. They can walk, run, ride a bike, climb a hill, whatever. Just get them moving.

"For children to succeed in school, you must teach them to be responsible. What good does it do for them to do assignments, if they don't hand them in on time. You're never too young to be taught responsibility. Everyone needs a responsibility. When they are young, then let them set the table or something simple. Children should have a good feeling when they do something right and parents can help teach that.

"To do a good job in school, you must do your homework. This too, needs to start early when they come home in kindergarten with reading to do. Kids need to buy into getting homework done. They need to figure out it can be a fun thing to do. Parents need to prepare and plan ahead. They should have homework supplies ready and accessible. There should be a convenient place in the home to do homework," said Livingston.

She encouraged parents to celebrate homework. Bake a cake, and write something special on the cake pertaining to homework and helping the child succeed. Reading is one of the best activities for families to do together and Livingston recommended books for families to read together.

Supplies you should have on hand include: paper, sticky notes, highlighters, writing paper, books, tape and a stapler, these items should be kept together.

"Let children know that homework is not optional, let them choose the time they do their homework, but not if they will do it or not. Include the whole family during this learning time. Everyone in the family can work on something that makes their brain work and they learn something. Everyone participates and children will learn to look forward to this time together and learning," said Livingston.

Livingston encouraged parents to check the backpacks occasionally. Backpacks should have two pockets. One where they only put completed work that's ready to turn in and the other pocket for their books. She suggested decorating a planner for them and then teaching them to plan each days work and activities.

Some of the books Livingston encouraged the families to read together included: A Long Way From Chicago, Danny, Champion of the World and There's An Enemy Sub In Potter's Pond which is about children in World War II.

"If you don't have time to read, then you're saying to your kids that it's not important," said Livingston.

To complete Festive Friday the door prizes were given away and they were all items related to school and learning.

Recipes were handed out for quick breakfast, lunches and dinners as well as school tips.

Hash Brown Casserole

1 pound bulk sausage browned

1 pound shredded frozen hash browns

mild salsa


Mix browned sausage, salsa and potatoes and place in a 9x13" pan. Make 12 wells spaced evenly, in the pan. Break one egg into each well. Sprinkle cheese over all. Bake at 350 degrees 20-30 minutes until eggs are set and casserole is warmed.

Surprise French Toast

French bread slices cut 1.5 inches thick

Thin sliced ham or crumbled, cooked bulk sausage

Shredded cheddar or swiss cheese

Cut a pocket into each slice of French bread. Butter inside the pocket. Stuff each pocket with sliced ham and 1 Tbs. cheese or with sausage and cheese. Dip the stuffed pockets in eggs mixed with a little milk to make French toast. Fry until golden brown. These can be made ahead and frozen. Kids and adults can grab one, heat it and eat on the way to school or work.

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