By Barbara Addison,

LEHISA de Fornoza

and David Coltrain

Finney County Extension Agents

Ready ... set ... back to school! Children in Garden City return to school next week. Our family has been busy after the county fair with enrollments, sports practice, and shopping for clothes and school supplies.

But preparing for a new school year involves more than shopping for clothes or shoes.

Children who are returning to school or moving on to a new school be it a middle or high school or a school in a new neighborhood or different town may benefit from some assurance from their parents. Here are some tips:

* Talk about the new school year, but don't dwell on it.

* Schedule a get-acquainted meeting with your child's teacher. Visit the school. Ask to see the classroom and help your child find the way to restrooms, the lunch room or cafeteria, gym, playground, etc.

* Visit the local public library. The library environment is conducive to reading and exploring new interests.

* Begin winding down the summer schedule. Strive for a more consistent schedule, including regular bed and breakfast times.

* Be positive. Let your child know that you value education.

Twelve tips for parents for the new school year:

* Make an appointment to meet your child's teacher.

* Learn school policies and follow them.

* Model respect for teachers and encourage your child to do the same.

* Create an environment that is conducive to learning at home: Establish a study area and limit diversions radio, television, telephone calls and music during study hours.

* Celebrate effort, rather than grades, and learning, rather than test scores.

* Encourage the child to pursue his or her interests. Try not to pressure your child into pursuing your interests or interests that you wish you had pursued.

* Reinforce learning out of the classroom through extracurricular activities, family activities and one-on-one time.

* Listen to what your child is saying and learn to be a good observer. Watch for signs that your child is developing new interests and then nurture them.

* Model lifelong learning. Nurture your own interests and build skills.

* Engage your child in conversation, but don't grill him or her. Children often are more likely to tell a parent about their day when they are engaged in another activity, such as setting the table or taking a walk after supper.

* Try not to make homework an issue. Allow a child to take the responsibility for what he or she does or doesn't do.

* Invoke Grandma's rule: Eat your veggies before dessert and finish your homework before moving on to the fun stuff.

Have a successful school year!

All-in-one youth activity

Do F-stops cause your brain to freeze? Join 4-H! Life's little questions aren't meant to be answered alone. Join 4-H the club of families who share in teaching kids practical things, life skills and values like responsibility.

Why should I participate in my 4-H club? Well, you're missing out if you don't. Clubs are a way to interact with other youth. You can also often find answers to project questions in your club. Clubs are a community that is there to support each other in learning, create better youth and, most importantly, have fun. They can do it without you, but it sure would be better with your participation.

Four-H is just about the fair, right? Not really ... though good things happen at the fair, 4-H can happen without the fair. I know right now you are saying "WHAT!?!?," but it's true.

How do I sign up for 4-H? You can sign up at the Finney County Extension Office. There are no enrollment fees. Families need to decide what they are willing to put into projects for themselves. Some project meetings may have fees for materials.

After I sign up as a 4-H member, then what do I do? Join a 4-H Club! We have a list of great local clubs. Four-H is best when members are active in a community club. Many life skills are learned in this setting such as leadership, citizenship and communication. They will help you get started and learning about 4-H and your projects.

I want to do a project, but there isn't a leader. What do I do? Unfortunately, some projects don't have leaders. That doesn't mean you can't learn! You can check out project books at the Extension office, or buy project books online at www.4-hmall.org, or your parents can help you, or friends that are knowledgeable about the area you are interested in. 4-H is an informal learning process that should be fun and family oriented.

How many projects should I do? In your first year, we recommend you only take on one or two projects. They can be time consuming and you want to do a good job. Then you can take more because you will have a better understanding of what you are taking on.

Where do I find information? Good question! There are lots of resources. The Extension office located at 501 S. Ninth St.; www.finney.ksu.edu; http://www.kansas4-h.org; and leaders are always a great source of information and if you don't know one, talk to the Extension office.

There are many resource materials at http://www.kansas4-h.org/ and http://pinterest.com/kansas4h/.

What is the point of the Finney County Extension Office? We are here for you! We work to help you succeed. We are here to facilitate the 4-H program events and activities. We are happy to do things if you ask, but please be respectful of our staff, as they work very hard. Let us know what we can do for you and we will do our best.

Join 4-H, the club of families that tackles life's little questions together to grow great kids.

Ag Field Day set for Aug. 29

Field tours and seminars on topics ranging from water issues to cover crops to comparisons of weed control in irrigated corn are highlights at the Kansas State Research and Extension field day planned Aug. 29 at the Southwest Research-Extension Center, 4500 E. Mary St.

The field day begins at 8 a.m., with the program starting at 9:15 a.m. The day ends with a complimentary lunch served at noon.

Field tour topics include: comparisons of weed control otions in teff, forage sorghum and sorghum-sudangrass for catch crop forage; comparisons of herbicide carryover in teff, forage sorghum and sorghum-sudangrass; comparisons of weed control in irrigated corn with 48 herbicide tank mixes; herbicide-resistant Inzen sorghum for post-emergence grass and broadleaf weed control; weed control with 32 herbicide tank mixes for irrigated sorghum; effects of AQUAmax hybrid corn on spider mite populations; and enhancing sorghum nitrogen use efficiency through fertilizer management.

Seminars include: Effects of different irrigation levels on western corn rootworm root injury to Bt and isoline plants; cover crops in western Kansas; and water issues in western Kansas: It's not just the water level.

Attendees who participate in the tour can earn 1.0 credit hour for category 1A commercial pesticide applicator recertification and 0.5 credit hour for participating in "Effects of AQUAmax Hybrid Corn on Spider Mite Populations."

New wheat publications

K-State Research and Extension has posted two new agriculture-related publications online that are available free to the public.

The "2013 Kansas Performance Tests with Winter Wheat Varieties" publication provides the results of annual comparisons of new and currently-grown winter wheat varieties in major crop-producing areas of the state. The tests generate information designed to help Kansas growers select wheat varieties suited for their area and conditions.

Another publication, "Wheat Variety Disease and Insect Rating 2013," provides information on wheat genetic resistance to diseases and insect pests, which is typically the most effective, economical and environmentally sound method of control. The ratings represent the results of multiple field and greenhouse evaluations by public and private wheat researchers. The ratings can help producers select wheat varieties to plant and minimize the potential for yield losses.

Visit the K-State Research and Extension Bookstore (http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Default.aspx) to view these new publications, as well as other fact sheets and publications on a wide variety of research-based information from K-State Research and Extension.

If you have any questions about the Field Day, wheat varieties or other concerns, contact Finney County Extension Agent David Coltrain at 272-3670, or email coltrain@ksu.edu.