Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review: The Christian Mama's Guide to the Grade School Years

It's been 3 years since I first sent a kid off to Elementary School and my youngest is just finishing Kindergarten next month.  So I'm in a good position to review this new book in Erin MacPherson's "Christian Mama's Guide" series.

How should a family prepare a child (and themselves) for the big wide world of Elementary School? MacPherson's book claims to have "everything you need to know" but it's really divided into a few themes:  the "15 Factors" that will help a child succeed in life, choosing a type of schooling that's a good fit for your family, social-emotional learning, and how to handle difficult situations.  Most of this book addresses preparing parents on how to be parents of grade school children: how to let go and guide children in making decisions.  If you're looking for academic preparation, there's little here--but that's a good thing, since young children need to get the social behaviors in order before any real academic progress can be made. In other words, it's important that his little bottom stay put in circle time and that he knows not to push in line or grab toys.

MacPherson is a little out of her depth since her own experience sending kids off to school is limited. So she calls in her mom and more experienced friends to help. That's where this book really shines.  The sidebars--"From the Principal's Office"--offer seasoned advice on how to be a supportive parent, how to teach kids to handle bullies, and how to grow a child's faith.  The section on selecting a school is valuable for its balanced approach to the public school/Christian school/homeschool debate.

The author's manic style of writing and endless coffee references got to be a little too precious for this middle-aged mom and anyone who's taught preschool probably already knows this stuff.  However this would be a valuable book for moms of preschool aged children and even those whose kids have already started Kindergarten.

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in return for an honest review.