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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Learn to Love Learning

It's probably no surprise to you that I believe learning is crazy important. It probably shows in the fact that I'm a teacher and my husband is a teacher and we both seriously love our jobs. In fact a lot of our date night conversations revolve around teaching philosophies and current educational trends.  
We're cool like that. ;)  

What some of you may not know is that I'm a pretty religious person. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. People know us mostly as Mormons. One thing that we believe is that there are living prophets on the earth. I found this quote from one of the apostles and I felt like I couldn't not share it because it really expresses how I feel about learning.

I believe that learning is an eternal process and that we continue to learn even when we aren't in school. Here are some things I have learned since I have graduated college: how to set up a preschool classroom & curriculum, how to do cool braids and hairstyles, how to sew Halloween costumes, how to (try) to keep a house clean (I am super serious about how much it took to learn how to do this. It took me a long, long, long time of working, trying, failing, and trying something new before I even started to make a dent in the housework), how to refinish furniture, how to take out a dead tree (I've done 3), and how to bake a potato (this was a skill that eluded me until about a year ago. You can ask my husband, I was pretty bad at it.)
Here are some things I still want to learn before I die: how to arrange flowers, how to garden, how to put up drywall, how to decorate cakes, and how to make a killer pie crust. We'll throw get a masters degree in there but I don't know what I want my focus to be yet so it's still undecided.

I hope that these words can inspire you to continue helping your sweet little ones to learn, but also to light a fire under you too. Just because we are done with school, doesn't mean we should stop learning. Learning to love learning is an important skill to achieve in this life.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Top Ten Back to School Books

 A great way to help your kids get ready for back to school is to talk about what they can expect before they go. Books are a great way to help them see what school might be like. It helps them see that other people get nervous about starting school too. It helps them see that it will be a safe place where they will have fun and learn. 

Here is a count down to our top ten favorite back to school books for young kids. 

10. School Bus by Donald Crews
The vivid pictures and simple phrases in this book give it an irresistible charm. It shows school buses big and little as they pick up their passengers. Many young kids don't ride the bus to school, but the school bus is an iconic symbol of starting school.

9. Little Piggy's Book of Manners by Kathryn Madeline Allen
It is always good to help remind our kids how to have good manners at home and at school. This book is a fun way to look at what to do and what not to do. It compares good little piggies with bad little piggies to help kids learn what to do. If you want a great lesson plan to go with it, check out our post from a while back. p-is-for-polite-pig.

8. Curious George's First Day of School by Margret and H.A. Rey's
Curious George is up to his old tricks, making mischief as he tries to figure out how to manage the interesting temptations at school.

7. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum is so excited for school until she gets there and starts to feel different from the other kids. She starts to "wilt" until a charismatic teacher helps her "bloom." This is a great read to discuss how sometimes we feel different, but we are still beautiful in our own unique way.

6. The Night Before Preschool by Natasha Wing
Following the traditional rhyme, this book outlines what it will be like getting ready for school and what the school day will look like.

 5. Franklin Goes to School by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark
Franklin has flies in his tummy as he gets ready for his first day of school. All the other kids seem to know so much and he feels like he doesn't know anything. When he gets there he realizes he knows more than he thought.

4. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Mom knows how hard it can be to leave and go to school so she gives raccoon a special gift to help him through his first day. A sweet story that can create a first day tradition for any family.

3. Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
This book is amazing for helping kids who are feeling really worried about school. Wemberly worries about a lot of things and especially starting a new school, but in the end she realizes that there is nothing to worry about.

2. How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
What kid doesn't love reading dinosaur books? The fun rhythmic words take kids through a comparison of what bad and good dinosaurs do at school. 

1. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Kids aren't the only ones who can be nervous about the first day. The surprise ending makes it my all time favorite first day book.