Whoo hoo!!! School started!!
No tears from this mama, we were very ready for this day to come. I love spending time with my children, but wow was I ready for our summer fun to slow down. This summer was one of flexibility…every single week was different. We traveled, Ethan had camps, we made the rounds to all our favorite spots like Grant’s Farm, the zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, Suson Farm, the pool, splash pads, and just about every local park. August began and everyone in our household was craving a schedule.
Good thing Ethan was PUMPED to start Kindergarten! He looked so big in his tie shoes and backpack, I don’t know when his legs got so long.
I swear we got him a hair cut last week, but since he likes it long he was adamant about us only taking off what was necessary. And I just love that shaggy head. He skipped down the hall to his new classroom, at the opposite end of the school from Pre-K, and waltzed right in, no big deal. Sat at a table to started building Legos with a buddy. No sweat.
And speaking of tie shoes? He actually KNOWS HOW TO TIE THEM!! I’m still in shock.
My kid can tie his own shoes.
Adding to our big changes, Finn started part-time Nursery school on the same day!
Our school’s nursery is just down the street from the elementary building. It’s all tiny and adorable. We’d visited to meet his teachers the week before, so on the big day he walked right in and started playing. I put his lunch in the fridge and backpack on the hook with his name…it was surreal but exciting. This isn’t the first time we’ve left him, he’s been with a nanny two days a week since December and with many babysitters for evenings out. While we loved our nanny and were so grateful he was in the comfort of our home till he was two, he’s ready for this structured social interaction…this is good.
He didn’t shed a single tear, just waved me out the door.
Pick up came with all good reports. Finn took a 2 hour nap ON A COT, Ethan learned about all the routines in his classroom, and they were both all smiles.
Since then, things were a little downhill. Finn only went on Wednesday but was clearly tired on Thursday. We definitely have a two year old on our hands because the tantrums are frequent these days, Finn wants to do everything on his own. I was already tired from a girls night out to the Dixie Chicks on Wednesday night. Ethan grew continually weary till Friday afternoon when he was officially wiped. He was pretty excited about his first homework assignment, though, yelling “Mom, I have homework!!”
So it begins.
The teachers said all the kindergarteners were worn out, so I’m so thankful we had a short week!
I have a funny feeling things will get easier from here, a weekend off has already rejuvenated us all. Some farmers marketing, bellies full of Festival of Nations food, and an afternoon at the pool should make us ready for Monday.
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Typically these posts are full of beautiful children’s books with vibrant colors and adorable animals, but these days we are full steam ahead with the chapter books. It’s actually been a really long time since I read a picture book with Ethan. We trade-off bedtime duties every night (that is, when Stu isn’t traveling) so when it’s Stu’s turn, Ethan chooses his massive dinosaur book or his history of aircraft book…they sit and read every detail. When it’s my turn, we dive into whatever chapter book we’re reading. It’s our thing.
The first chapter book we read together, 1.5 years ago, was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was amazing, Ethan was totally consumed by it. When we finished, we made chocolate ice cream and watched the movie. Since then our list has grown. We’ve borrowed from the library and from friends, finding some great reads along the way.
Here’s a few of our favorite pre-k and kindergarten age chapter books!
|The Magic Treehouse Series||Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing||13 Story Treehouse||My Father’s Dragon||Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone|
- The Magic Treehouse Series. Especially the first one because, funny thing, it’s about dinosaurs. The gist of these books is that a couple kids find a treehouse full of books in the woods. They are transported to places and times in the books, so when the boy and girl appeared in a field with dinosaurs, Ethan’s mind was blown. We must have read this book five times, he LOVED it. We borrowed several more from a friend, there are about 100, and the subjects included medieval knights, pirates, and mummies. I can’t wait for Ethan to read these on his own soon, they are a great length and difficulty for new readers.
- Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing is an oldie (written in 1972) but apparently still very applicable, Ethan loved it! Judy Blume just knows how to write for kids, this book is STILL a best seller. If you don’t remember, this is the story of a boy, Peter, with an annoying, little brother named Fudge. While Peter and Fudge are separated by a few more years, I know Ethan could TOTALLY relate to the trials and tribulations of the brothers. Judy tells the truth, sometimes little siblings are the worst. I wish there’d been a better lesson at the end, but it was overall a great experience reading this with Ethan. There are more in the series, written more recently. Double Fudge was a hoot.
- The 13 Story Treehouse. The children’s librarian recommend this book and it was an instant hit. It’s more of a graphic novel/comic book type format, with lots of drawings. We’ve read two in this series (I think there’s only three) and they are a nice break from books with zero pictures. It’s a tough change going from full color to nothing but words and these help keep things extra interesting. And they are really silly and very funny. Goofy doodle drawings and enough potty humor to make Ethan giggle, but not so much we have issues with it later.
- My Father’s Dragon. Yet another small series, we’ve only read the first book and loved it. Very whimsical and well written, it’s about a boy who runs away to a secret island, with a bizarre bag of supplies, to rescue a baby dragon. All the interesting stuff, right? Magic, dragons, adventure. There’s a few pictures so help little imaginations bring it all together. We can’t wait to read the next two books!
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. So we’re right in the thick of Diagon Alley at this point, and Ethan is hooked. I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying this re-read! Ethan can’t wait to find out more about He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and is following the story well, though I forgot exactly how incredibly detailed J.K. Rowling’s writing is…she’s so amazing. These books are AMAZING!!! Our reading time has been doubled these days, we get sucked into the wizarding world and don’t want to leave. I think we’ll finish this first one, watch the movie, and wait to move on in the series, they just get harder (and longer) from here. Though it will be hard to wait…I’d love to just keep going and read them all again right now.
If you are just starting chapter books, having a movie to watch at the end is a great motivator. And it’s fun! Also, the books we loved as kids don’t always translate…like Ramona. I fondly remember these stories but just didn’t feel like they were working for Ethan.
Need more books? Here’s a few others:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
note on this one, while we first watched the original movie with Ethan, the Johnny Depp version is much closer to the book’s storyline so we ended up watching that one too.
What are your favorite chapter books for pre-k and kindergarten aged kids?