You’ve heard it all before. Plenty of people have written articles and blog posts about how to guarantee that your child loves reading. But can you REALLY guarantee it?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read.
I am the youngest of four children. Three of us spent many happy childhood hours with our noses in a book. The fourth sibling utterly surprised me when he showed up at our parents’ house as an adult with a book under his arm. Several years post-college and working a job that required weekly cross-country travel to job sites, he said he didn’t have much else to do while he was in transit. “It’s actually not so bad,” he sheepishly admitted.
I hardly think my family was unique, so I find it difficult to believe that there can be a guaranteed way to raise a child who loves reading. I think everyone can enjoy reading a just-right book, but not everyone will want to spend hours of their free time curled up with a book.
So, if you can’t guarantee that your child will love to read, what can you at least do to encourage a positive attitude toward reading? Continue reading
I love books. In fact, I obsess over them at times. We’re 38 days into the new year, and I’ve already read 30 books (not counting kids’ books). It may be a disease.
Pookie reads part of my favorite Winnie the Pooh story.
Be that as it may, this love of books has led me to spend a LOT of time reading to my children. A while back (a long while–I’ve spent most of my free time reading in the past few months), I posted a list of must-read books for the under-six set; I thought it was finally time for my next installment. After much pondering, I settled on eight authors who have written one or more truly wonderful books for kids in the early elementary years, roughly ages 6-8. I referenced my favorites of their books, and I’ve separated these into picture books and chapter books, with stories getting progressively longer/more difficult in each category. Enjoy! Continue reading
Pookie is taking anxiety medication.
Pookie is five years old. I feel some vague sense of horror that my five-year-old takes anxiety medication, but there it is.
Mental health issues run in my family. There’s the story of my great-grandma, who was intensely angry about her last pregnancy and thus refused to touch her youngest or look at him for most of his first year of life, leaving her oldest daughters–young teens at the time–to mother their newborn brother while she locked herself in her room. My grandfather (the older brother of the unwanted little guy) struggled with depression as an adult, and my dad has dealt with it off-and-on over the years. My sister was depressed for a year or so recently, and I battled its shadow for several years from late-high school until about the time I had my oldest child.
This is my child who was afraid to go in water deeper than his navel last year, the child who clung to my side even in said shallow water. This year has brought an amazing transformation!
About a year ago, I was looking at book lists for ideas of read-alouds. As I was looking through lists for grades we’ve passed, it left me wondering what I would put on a must-read list. Since that time, I’ve done a lot of pondering. Here’s the first installment of my must-read lists–the preschool version–complete with 20 books by 11 authors divided into 0-2 and 3-5 age categories.
We recently took an epic, 4500+ mile road trip in a loop around some of the western United States, attempting to hit a number of requested stops on our way to and from a family reunion in Wyoming. Since our time was limited, we often managed only one day (generally 4-6 hours, to accommodate travel to and from each location) at each of our stops along the way. Despite the fact that ‘Love’s idea of a vacation is a three-hour drive to the cottage followed by a week of sedentary relaxation, I think we managed pretty well on our whirlwind trip. In case you have a similar time crunch and are wondering how to spend your precious hours at some of these same stops, here was our experience.
**Read about our stop at the Grand Canyon here.**
Since we were trekking up through Utah, ‘Love and I were determined to stop at one of the lovely national parks there. After some research and agonization, we settled on Arches National Park (with a glimpse of nearby Canyonlands National Park).
We arrived in Moab, Utah in late afternoon, having driven from Flagstaff, Arizona with stops at Four Corners and Newspaper Rock–both of which were interesting, but rather brief and out-of-the-way. Since we were not ready to lounge around the hotel that early in the day, we thought we’d take a jaunt over to Canyonlands National Park, since we just had a few short hikes we planned to do there. Continue reading
We recently took an epic, 4500+ mile road trip in a loop around some of the western United States, attempting to hit a number of requested stops on our way to and from a family reunion in Wyoming. Since our time was limited, we often managed only one day at each of our stops along the way. Despite the fact that ‘Love’s idea of a vacation is a three-hour drive to the cottage followed by a week of sedentary relaxation, I think we managed pretty well on our whirlwind trip. In case you have a similar time crunch and are wondering how to spend your precious hours at some of these same stops, here was our experience.
We drove to the Grand Canyon from our hotel in Gallup. While this was a four-hour drive, we gained an hour en route because Gallup participates in Daylight Saving Time, while the Grand Canyon does not. And since our bodies were still used to CST, we were able to easily be up, breakfasted, and out of the hotel by 7 am, bringing us to the Grand Canyon by 11 am–or 10 local time. All this to say–if you can’t get a hotel close by, don’t despair! Continue reading
My kids wanted to learn all about weather, so I cobbled together several resources to make a unit. You may notice that we watch a lot of videos in this unit. Not only are videos an engaging way of presenting some of the more abstract concepts related to weather (like air pressure and air currents), but my kids are thoroughly excited about watching videos related to anything at all lately, so any video I found was a win. I tried to find a video or three (almost all short ones!) to go with each topic, but also a hands-on activity for every topic, as well. Hopefully you’ll find plenty of fodder for exploring weather, whether you are a video-lover or not.
Much of my unit was based on this 3rd grade unit from the Williams College website, though I adapted the activities for home use.
We started our science unit by talking about water. Since 71% of the earth is covered by water, it has a big impact on weather. To emphasize just how much water there is on the earth, we used our big inflatable globe and tossed it from person to person, tallying how often the tip of our right thumb hit land and how often it was in water when we caught the globe. Sure enough, we had seven “land” tallies and 18 “water” tallies. Continue reading