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This is the best school year ever! We have had great teachers in the past. Last year all three kids were in school and it was fun. But somehow this year is exceptionally great. I have never seen all three kids love learning so much.

Every time I ask Gavin if he still likes middle school he says, “Of course!” I told a friend that he didn’t really fit in at elementary school. We put him in the laptop program hoping he would find friends with similar interests. He has definitely found his niche. Even PE isn’t so bad.

He’s funny though because he still finds homework tedious. He can’t wait to finish so he can learn about the things he’s interested in, like delving deeper into history and science.

I saw an envelope from the school addressed to Gavin’s parents. It contained test scores from a state test I completely forgot he took last spring. It was the first time kids took this type of test. It measured how well students understood the state standards for science. Gavin scored 100% in four out of six categories. The tests he didn’t ace were scored in the above average range. My kid is smarter than I am!

Parker and Gwen have already brought home book orders from their classes. I told them they could choose any books they wanted but they had to pay for it out of their own money. We counted out the money they already have so they knew how much they could get or how much they needed to earn. Then they sat down with the book orders and circled affordable options. And that’s as far as that went. Neither one of them wanted to earn the money. Part of the problem was the fact that the book orders were due so soon after they were sent home. These two get discouraged quickly.

As a kid I built up my own library from book orders and book fairs at school. I also have a weakness for books, particularly picture books. We have a lot of books in our house. A lot of books plus limited space to store and display them. So I have turned into a mean mom by telling my kids they have to pay for their coveted books on their own.

The book fair is this week and I wanted to tell them they had to earn the money themselves. But I’m a big old softy pushover. Parker has finally developed a love for reading. He followed along while listening to A Wrinkle in Time on CD. When he got to the last chapter he decided to read it to himself. I don’t know if he was having trouble finding the chapter on the disc or if he was ready to fly on his own.

He finished the book and claimed he really liked it. I told him we had plenty of books to choose from at home to read for homework. We looked through the chapter books that would be appropriate for him to read. He was excited about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He has been happily reading it on his own. I know he’s reading it and I know he understands because he tells me about it.

So back to the book fair. With this new love for reading, I really wanted my kids to feel encouraged about the book fair and not discouraged. They assumed I would make them earn the money but then I surprised them. I said I would buy them each one book if it met my approval. It had to be a quality book. Not some Lego Star Wars encyclopedia or a graphic novel. I hate those books. They’re not quality literature. Gwen couldn’t pick some book loosely based around a popular icon like Hello Kitty, Barbie, or a Disney princess.

They were stoked to see me walking into the school yard to take them to the book fair. In fact, Parker raced toward me his face red. The red face was a combination of the 100 degree temps outside and sheer excitement.

“I found the perfect book! I found the perfect book! Let’s go!”

We quickly made our way to the library where Parker immediately picked up the perfect book. It’s called Rules. His teacher read it to the class and Parker loved it. When he saw it on his class’s tour of the book fair today, he had to have it. The only other book he was interested in was a fluffy book that he knew didn’t fit my criteria of a quality book. So he didn’t even ask. He did point it out and said he knew I wouldn’t let him have it. Then we had to find the perfect book for Gwen.

She mentioned a new Fancy Nancy book. That’s what I wanted for her. She picked up every pop icon book, including books that were nothing more than cardboard made to look like a book but really they were selling a toy. Like the Doc McStuffin’s stethoscope “book.” It took a second for her to realize her choices were the Fancy Nancy quality picture book or a chapter book. We were bummed that the only Junie B. Jones books were sold in a large pack for $65. Um no.

There was one Junie B. Jones Thanksgiving book. She didn’t seem too interested. So I talked her into the Fancy Nancy book. There were also Fancy Nancy chapter books but I’m not ready for her to grow up yet. I have seen those chapter books and they are too far above Gwen’s reading level. The Junie B. Jones books are too advanced for Gwen but they are about a little girl who is the same age. It keeps Gwen interested enough to try reading. I think we’ll graduate to Fancy Nancy chapter books when Gwen is in second grade.

I feel good about enabling my children’s love for new things. They picked out some good books that I’m happy to squeeze onto our already stuffed shelves. I love that my kids are getting older. It’s a little sad but they are so much fun to talk to! They understand subjects I don’t know and they love learning. I love that Gavin has to teach me things as part of his science homework. It’s good for both of us. Reading is definitely fun to share with my kids. I hope they always have a thirst for knowledge.