Tales of Fourth Grade

Juliana could not be more excited to start fifth grade tomorrow. She cleaned out her locker in our front hallway without being asked. All of the summer stuff is put away and her backpack and new shoes are ready for tomorrow morning. I don’t know if there are children who love school more than she does.

Fourth grade was a challenging year for her. It started the week before school when we saw the class list…her best friends were all in the other class. She was very sad when the year started and there were times that those friendships were strained.

Over the past few years, Juliana had shifted from wearing dresses and skirts every day to wearing shorts in the summer and occasionally jeans in the winter. In Kindergarten she wore pants once, in first grade not at all. I bribed her to wear a jumper on the first day of fourth grade to match her other first day pictures. She wore shorts or pants the rest of the year. She also only wore tennis shoes, no more flats. So back-to-school shopping was much more simple this year. One new pair of tennis shoes, a few more pairs of pants and shorts, and new socks – everything from last year still fits.

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Juliana started to spend more time getting ready in the morning and put extra effort into her hair. Gone were the days of leaving the house without touching the hairbrush and there were fewer ponytails.

Sleepovers included giggles and whispers about boys…

After 4 years of gymnastics she decided to quit but continued to play soccer. Much to my delight she played her first season of basketball and loved it.

The biggest difference between fourth grade and the previous years was that she had to work for her A’s. It was the first year that she was frustrated with assignments, the first year that the perfect scores were no longer easy, and the first year that I ever saw her study at home for a test. She worked harder and continued to earn high marks.

Her love of reading continued. She was still done with her work before most of the class so she would complete an hour of reading for her daily log during school and another hour at night. She read the entire Harry Potter series within a few months. Her favorite genres are fantasy and mystery.

I had the opportunity to watch her introduce herself and give an overview of a school program to a room of over 100 strangers this year. She didn’t know that she would be asked to talk and I watched her stand up and speak loudly to the group. There was no shyness or fear in her voice. I was amazed because 10-year old me would have never spoken so clearly and confidently to a room full of people.

She has a vivid imagination and big dreams for her future.

She is still my little girl but solidly in the tween years. Growing up faster than I could have ever imagined.

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