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Top 6 First Grade Lessons Learned

As I sit here writing this, the final hours ticking down to the last day of my girl’s first grade school year, I find myself strolling down the familiar paths of memory lane. First grade…It’s a surprisingly different animal from kindergarten. First of all, there’s no more rest time worked into the day – my nephew indignantly discovered this unfortunate reality on the first day of school – but there are still snacks, so that’s good. Yes, there’s a lot to learn in first grade, solid foundations are being laid as students gain all kinds of educational awesomeness.

It's not only the students walking away with lessons learned, though. We began this journey last year, as I reflected on my top 5 lessons learned in kindergarten, and now, because we’re one year older, I figure it’s only fair to share 6 lessons (mama) learned this first grade year...

6. Hearing “Hey, it’s Abby’s mom…HI ABBY’S MOM!!!” just never gets old. Kids (not even in your daughter’s class) jumping up and down waving to you – it’s like the mom version of achieving rock star status. They might simply see you as a bonus swing-pusher/monkey bars lifter-upper, but bottom line: being able to be around often enough for the kids to be familiar with me is among the blessings I count. An added bonus: my kid still likes having me there.

5. Reading Mastery is masterful – the stories might not be the most gripping tales ever told, but neither were the storied accounts of “Dick, Jane, and Spot.”

Sure, we experienced some growing pains in having to get used to multiple teachers, but I can’t even tell you how exciting it’s been watching her reading skills develop. You better believe we screamed and danced like crazy girls the first time she read 100 words in one minute. Getting to that point, though…Well, let’s just say, patience is indeed a virtue.

4.  The gloriousness of a multitude of toothless wonders! Since a classmate first lost a tooth in preschool, my girl has been anxiously awaiting this milestone, and it finally happened for her (and then some!). As for my lesson learned: everyone and their dog has a theory on how to extract those wiggly pearly whites, but only a cousin will pull one for you on the school bus ride home.

P.S. He made sure to put on one of her stretchy gloves so her “germs wouldn’t get on his hand.”

3. Speaking of stretchy gloves…I’ve decided one cannot possibly have too many pairs. Especially when you’re faced with the winter that would not die. But perhaps mixing and matching stretchy gloves could be considered a fashion statement. At least they fit…Most of the time.

2. The days of being a handy homework helper are numbered, my friends. If first grade math was throwing me for a loop at times…The future does not look bright. However, it’s here where I thank my lucky stars to have right next door access to 7 of my nieces and nephews.

1. Once again my most important lesson learned comes back to my girl’s teacher. Having a teacher who is accessible, adaptable, supportive, patient, and understanding is utterly invaluable. As my daughter said the other night, “She’s my bestest teacher!” May each school year end with that sentiment.

With that, here we are: another school year gone by, ready to turn another page in the memory book…The transition to first grade might not have been the easiest thing we’ve ever experienced; we dealt with some serious separation anxiety, but we made our way through the tears and fears and went on to have a year of making new friends, tackling our first “big” project, and growing leaps and bounds in the land of independence. Here’s to a wonderful summer, bring it on second grade…We’ll be ready!

Wishing you and yours a fun and safe summer!

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