Back to school week is here at last. It’s an exciting time for both children and their parents, and most adults will never forget the fresh feeling of a new year with new clothes, new supplies, and hopefully some new friends. Retailers across the United States are ramping up sales in hopes of getting a good start in preparation for the coming holiday season, and this is traditionally the week during which industry analysts are able to get a good idea of what to expect through the end of the year.

Education in the United States has a rocky background, and the consequences of our ancestors’ decisions can be felt even today. Long ago, the school year was determined by crop cycles. Harvesting crops was normally done in late summer and early fall, and so children had the summer months off from school so that they could help their parents. We still continue to abide by this schedule, even though there is little pragmatic reason for it. Proponents of the schedule suggest that children should have time off–they should have time to just be kids. Needless to say, there are more proponents than there are opponents.

Times are changing, and the United States of America is beginning to fall behind the rest of the pack in terms of both preparedness and number of high school graduates. Only thirty years ago our country was number one. Now? We’ve fallen to number 18 out of 23 industrialized nations, and the long-term ramifications of this may very well be too extraordinary to be measured. How long before we are no longer able to keep up with technological demand? Countries like China and Japan are making phenomenal technological strides, and may very well outpace us soon enough.

The sales that come during back to school week aren’t just limited to school supplies. Businesses are clearing out an entire year’s worth of inventory that either hasn’t sold or has become obsolete. New, updated versions of electronics become available. Discounters all over the country are taking the opportunity to unleash new sales on the outdoor products that you’ll no longer need during the coming seasons. It’s a good time to stock up.

Regardless of whether or not you have children who are going back to school, you almost certainly know quite a few. Don’t hesitate to take a few moments out of your day to teach them something new. Children are sponges, always soaking up new information. The more you give them, and the more fresh and exciting you can make it for them, the more interested they’ll become in their own education!