Tag Archives: learning

family reading story book

Check out these great children’s books that make perfect holiday gifts

Books make wonderful gifts, and unlike many of the toys we buy them that sit collecting dust after being played with for maybe ten minutes, they tend to be enjoyed long after the holidays have ended. If you’re looking for some ideas for books to get your children this holiday season, read on for my recommendations.

With two children who enjoy reading, books have long been a part of my Hanukkah gift list, and I love how my children’s tastes have evolved from board books, to picture books, to graphic novels, to chapter books.

As a blogger, I get many requests for book reviews, and I have included some that I believe both kids and their guardians will enjoy, along with some of my personal favorites. I note the requested review books with an asterisk, and, all views expressed are my own.

You may notice the absence of a recommended age range for each title, this is because I understand children’s reading ability and preference can vary greatly. I hope with each description you can get a better sense of the books’ appropriateness for your child(ren). If you would like to see age guides, they are provided within the Amazon listing for each book.

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20 Reasons why I am a terrible parent (according to the Internet)

Being a parent today means having access to a wealth of information to guide you toward raising your kids in the best possible way. In the “old” days our parents and grandparents maybe had a handful of books and an occasional newspaper advice column to turn to for help. Most of the time, people with kids were just making it up as they go, and didn’t live under constant fear of shame and ridicule. Or, at the very least, any shame they felt was limited to a close circle of friends and family.

Now, we have a whole Internet full of ideas on how to raise kids, and, more often than not, a contradictory list of all the ways you’re doing parenting wrong. You would be right to think we shouldn’t let our worth be determined by randos online, but, what can I say, those keyboard warriors have a weird power about them.

As much as I share about my motherhood experience, I do hold back, because I know many of the things I do as a parent would be met with ridicule and shame. My style is a mishmash of attachment, tiger, free-range and anything else you may think of. My parenting often changes with my mood or based on what I feel my kids’ need. I consider outside input, then do what I feel is best for my family.

No matter how I hard I try, I still feel shamed by parenting “advice” online, whether it is coming from an expert or just a bunch of moms in a Facebook group. I acknowledge that as a writer who focuses on parenting, I also contribute to this mess. I hope anyone who reads my stuff takes it with a very large grain of salt.

I think we need to laugh at how varied and disconnected parenting advice can be, so I made I list of all the things I have done or am doing wrong as a parent.

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Let them read books

Throughout history, adults have worried about what their kids read. On a small scale, this meant parents limiting what is read in the home. On a bigger scale, this has lead to banning books from schools, libraries and other public spaces.

Not long ago, a Tennessee school chose to ban Maus, a graphic novel inspired by real-life events during the Holocaust, for offensive language and imagery. The move was met with much outcry, as many thought banning this book does a disservice to the students who would benefit from reading this account of the Holocaust.

With rare exception, I believe children should have access to literature. I won’t even add the caveat “age appropriate,” because that term is so subjective and the ability to handle mature material varies greatly from child to child. Furthermore, I believe books are a great way to spark hard conversations.

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Homeschooling is a privilege many families can’t afford

It is a privilege to be able to homeschool your kids.

Yes, it is also a lot of hard work and sacrifice.But, in the end, if you or another trusted adult is able to devote a significant amount of time on your child’s education, that is a privilege.

A privilege which was thrust into a big bright spot light because of a pandemic that forced our schools to close.

For the first time homeschooling wasn’t a choice, it was a mandate. And as the weeks and months went on, we heard story after story of parents struggling to manage the new normal of working, raising a family and educating their children.

Many parents just asked the bare minimum of work from their kids, others just threw in the towel, believing (hoping) they would get through this until the school year ended.

Well, now summer is here in the United States, and families have to face the reality that “school” will be much different if and when they reopen.

I’m a mom who makes mistakes

I wish I could tell you about that one time I lost my cool in front of my kids;

Or about that time I forgot to send in something important to my son’s school;

Or that time I was late picking my kid up.

I wish I could tell you about that “one time,” but, the truth is, there’s more than one time.

There are many, many times.

Because, I am a mom who makes mistakes. Continue reading

I don’t regret putting my five-year-old in first grade

I was an anxious newly minted mom of a school-age child, one year ago, and like most parents preparing their kid for kindergarten, I worried about my son making new friends, handling the school work and whether he would eat the lunches I made. Having never sent my child to daycare or preschool, I was thrusting him into a whole new world. And, all of this was happening when he was only four years old.

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My eldest was born in November 2012, which fell about a month behind the New York State cut-off for entering kindergarten in 2017. I knew he would likely be the youngest child in his class, and how many parents in my place would have held him back. I had every intention of sending my son to school, but the voices of concern both in my head, and from without, filled me with a lot of doubt. I wondered if I was making the right choice, especially since conventional wisdom is to red-shirt children. Continue reading

Promote early literacy skills with this ABC lift-the-flap train

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This post contains affiliate links. I get a small percentage from purchases made through the links on this post.

I am a blogger, and, as you might have guessed, I loved reading and writing in elementary school. I devoured books and composed stories of my own, many of which my parents still saved to this day.

Yes, I was one of those kids who read for “fun.”

My oldest, so far, shows no signs of having inherited this trait. He is much more into running around, building train sets and pondering highly existential thoughts. Sitting down and working on his writing is not high on his list of priorities.
ABC Train (1)

Granted, my son, who will be five in November, is very young for Kindergarten, and may develop more of an interest in writing as it gets more comfortable for him.

Like all of you, I want my child to do well, without pushing him so far that he completely loses any interest in learning.

So, when I learned he needed a little more help with his literacy skills, I knew I had to come up with some fun ways to make reading and writing fun. Continue reading

Break the rules, not their spirits

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My mother often calls me, “Miss Law and Order,” not because I work in the legal field, but because, from a young age, I tended to always follow the rules. If my family played a game together, you can bet I observed everyone’s moves closely, lest they attempt to cheat. My mom, who is never one to just go with convention, would chide me for being no fun.

My innate desire for things to abide by a predetermined set of regulations regularly clashes with my desire to let my children engage in free play. I fight my urge to grab the instruction manual and shout, “No, this is how you do it!” Continue reading

5 Easy ways to add science to your preschooler’s day

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small percentage from any purchases made through this blog.

Winter is here, and for many of us, that often means lots of time indoors. If you have kids like mine, being inside often leads to boredom, which leads them to “experimenting” with things around the house. Why kids never play with their actual toys is one of life’s biggest mysteries.

preschoolscience

You can harness that natural curiosity and spark the little scientist in your kid with some everyday items.

Here are five simple ways to get started:

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