Lots to Learn | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published September 1, 2013 at 4:00 a.m.

As kids all across the state return to their classrooms, it's an appropriate time to think about education — hence this back-to-school issue of Kids VT.

But a good education is about more than academics.

One of my favorite things about going back to school as a kid was seeing my friends again. My grade school and high school classmates have been some of the most important people in my life. In many ways, they've shaped the adult I've become.

I'm still in touch with many of them, though we live hundreds of miles apart. This summer, my family and I traveled to Detroit to spend time with my oldest friend, Celeste, who I met in preschool.

Celeste and I don't talk as much as we used to, but over the past 35 years, we've shared so much — hopes, fears, births, deaths, marriages — that it doesn't matter. When we do connect, we pick up where we left off.

That said, our lives are very different now. I doubt we'd even know each other if we hadn't shared the same classroom years ago.

I want my own kids to have friendships like that, even if it means occasionally driving them to playdates in other towns. I find myself doing that more and more as some of their friends leave Winooski for towns with "better" schools. I wrote about the exodus this month in "School Choices". It's a bummer to see those families go, but I hope we can stay in touch.

Good nutrition is another prerequisite for educational success; kids can't learn unless they're eating right. This issue of Kids VT offers some help in that department. Food writer Alice Levitt interviews the author of the blog Lunches Fit for a Kid to find out how she creates meals that are nutritious, easy to make and fun to eat.

Physical fitness is also key. After reading Sarah Tuff's "Fit Families", I'm thinking about signing my kids up for tennis. Circus camp is also an option: See Megan James' "Art Of".

Of course, homeschooling parents face the daunting prospect of having to tackle all those challenges and manage their kids' education. Writer Christy Mihaly explains how — and why — she homeschooled her daughter for a year in this month's "Use Your Words" essay.

Though education is important, so is kicking back and having a good time; lots of events and activities in these pages will help you and your family do just that. You'll find the Kids VT staff at the Kids Hop, part of Burlington's South End Art Hop, on Saturday, September 7. And we'll be at the Shelburne Farms Harvest Festival on September 21. Stop by and say hi!

Or drop us a line and let us know how you're surviving the back-to-school season. We love hearing from you.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.