Getting Hoss ready for first grade

Alternate title: Kindergarten can't handle him anymore! Not true. Yes, it's true that I had Hoss read and do the activities in "Let's Get Ready for First Grade!" from Cedar Valley Publishing. Yes, he does tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to what a kindergartener is learning (acedemically, that is. Socially, well, that's another story), and the faculty and staff at his school comment on how smart he is. But the real reason we jumped into this book is because I got the chance to participate in a review for Parent Blogger Network, which means free stuff and a chance to express my opinions. You know I'm all about stuff and spouting off. I'm totally behind the whole idea of preparing our children for school, and am totally on board with new ways to do so. Children are like sponges sometimes, so the more you introduce them to before they hit the classroom, the more likely they are to expand their knowledge once they get there. And you cannot rely solely on educational TV and pre-school computer games. Seriously, once you've sent one child off to school, you have seen enough of Blue teaching you how to measure and you are ready to gouge your eyes out with a plastic spoon. Variety is pretty darned important, especially since so much of what Princess was watching or doing when she was in pre-school had already crept into her baby brother's mind. The book is sturdy and has a wipe off surface, and is full of bright pictures on each page to help illustrate each concept (odd and even numbers, vowels and consonants, the food pyramid...) Hoss zoomed through the early pages, since he has already mastered basic phonics (long and short vowel sounds, etc.) He seemed interested when we stumbled upon some new grammar bits, though, such as compound words and contractions. Having terms to apply to both types of "smooshing words together to make new words" perked him up (he loves to let you know when he knows something new). Hoss also made a point to look for Yodie the coyote on each page, like a wild canine version of Waldo. Being from the mid-Atlantic, Hoss isn't overly familiar with cacti, scorpions and cowboys. He seemed to be attracted to the teacher (Ms. Best) and her coyote mascot because it was different than so many of the generic Anytown, USA settings in many books. Many of the illustrations are funny, and many of the pages have good "jumping off" points beyond the questions or quizzes at the end of the page, providing an opportunity for continued use. From a grown-up's point of view, I liked the markings on the edge of each page indicating the concept ("Let's learn about ordinals!") because they help when you want to flip quickly to a particular lesson to reinforce. I also appreciate having wipe-off books for repeated use (both for reviewing the concepts with Hoss, and reusing the book for Lil Joe!) Many books I've found for my children have either left them bored because the concepts were "old hat" or left them frustrated because they were not able to acheive the outcome expected. The difficulty level of the activities and questions in this book varied to allow both challenges and successes. Every school has a different curriculum for teaching the early grades, but I firmly believe that this series of books provides a basis that will be beneficial to any of them. And, if you go to the Parent Blogger Network site and comment about why you need this book for your child, you may find yourself with some free stuff of your own!


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Who's Who

    Hubby- aka DH My husband since 1995. He is the head of the band department at a college prep school, and dabbles as a wanna-be pop star.

    The Princess- aka DD. Third grader at the local parochial school. Loves butterlies, sparkly things, the color purple and has recently developed a crush on one of the twins from "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody". Is ready for her teenage years, having already perfected her exasperated sigh and dramatic eye-roll.

    Hoss- aka DS1. Kindergartener and resident spirited child. His aunt likes to call him "the evil genius" because of his penchant for letting a lack of intellectual stimulation lead him into mischief. Likes trucks, sports, building things and burping. His current favorite word is "underwear."

    Lil Joe- aka DS2. Born in 2003. Doesn't say much we can understand, but has mastered the important stuff ("eat!", "Wash hands!", "Want chocolate ones!", "Hockey game!") Likes to push buttons, much to the consternation of whoever is trying to watch a DVD. Firmly refuses to use the potty, despite evidence that he is physically ready to be out of diapers, indicating a level of stubborn that eclipses even that of his parents and siblings.

    Me? I'm the Mama. That's all you need to know.

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