3rd Grader Boys - Reading Aloud Reading List

First of, let me say that of course this list can apply to both boys and girls. These books in particular are books I've read aloud to my son in 3rd grade. He's a voracious reader, so there's no doubt he could have read these on his own, but some of these might be better suited as silent reading books for grades 6-12. I'll be updating this list as the school year progresses.

The Gauntlet
by Karuna Riazi
304 Pages
Lexile Score: HL700L
"A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair." - Goodreads

by Jon Voelkel
416 pages
Lexile Score: 690L
"Harry Potter meets Indiana Jones meets Clash of the Titans! Fasten your seat belts for a heart-stopping ride of suspense and terror, set against a background of haunted temples, family secrets, ritual sacrifice, and adolescent angst, as a pampered, pizza-eating Boston teenager fights to survive in the teeming jungle and save the modern world from the Ancient Maya Lords of Death. It transports the reader to a world in which the Maya deities still have power and influence, where time and space are in flux, but where even a fourteen-year-old from the outside can become aware, and find wisdom and love, if he can but open his eyes to the magic around him."

Our Vacation From Ohio to Bethany Beach for Around $1,000

I'm a big fan of vacations as well as being frugal. It sort of comes with the territory when you have a family of 5 and only one income. We live in Ohio, so my main goal for our trip to Bethany Beach, Delaware was to get to the ocean, in the shortest way possible. With no stops, it would have been an 8 hour drive, but with stops, it took us closer to 11 or 12 hours to get there. It was EXHAUSTING sitting in a car that long, and our family learned that an 8 hour drive is WAY too long for us. Something closer to 5-6 hours is about our max from here on out.

When it comes to saving money on vacation, timing is everything. We took ours from June 19-23, which was Monday through Friday. We saved money on our hotel by booking early in the season as well as booking during the week. As a bonus, we were also able to avoid overly-crowded beaches and insanely hot weather.

Our second biggest expense was eating out. Our family averages around $40 for a typical meal out here in Ohio. Meals in Bethany Beach were slightly more expensive, at around $50 per meal. So, it was a HUGE help on our wallet that our hotel, the Holiday Inn in Bethany Beach had a free breakfast, and a very nice one at that!

And, on a side not, there are A LOT of waterfront condos we walked by on the way to the beach. My husband and I both agreed that it'd be worth looking into getting one of those if we were ever going to vacation in Bethany Beach again.

Bethany Beach itself was a BEAUTIFUL beach town. It was clean and beautiful and had that older people with money smell. And, not in a bad way. It was quiet and clean, and every other car was a Mercedes or Lexus. It was a long way from  the cliche "Jersey Shore" party crowd my family was looking to avoid.

And, looking at the city's demographics confirmed my suspicion that this town had that retired with money smell, Bethany Beach average age is 63, (compared to the 40 where I'm from) household income is $115,000, which is about twice that of the city I'm from in Ohio.

Anyway, it was an amazing vacation. Here's our official cost breakdown, for those interested. From gas station snacks to hotels, this is everything.

Holiday Inn-$712.00
ROYAL FARMS #208-$29.00
HMSHOST DIV 1111183332-$7.99
HARDEE'S #1502596-$14.36
MCDONALD'S F26708-$4.84
SHEETZ 00006197-27.75
SHEETZ 00006197-3.71
MCDONALD'S F10668-21.05

Why "Blaming Parents" For Faults In Children Is Lazy

"Where are parents these days?!"
"How about getting off your phone and parenting for once!"
"I got my butt whooped, and I turned out fine. Parents need to start spanking again."
"You should be a parent, not a friend."

Each time I hear or read some comment blaming parents for the faults of society, I lose a little faith in humanity. It's lazy because it doesn't take into account reality.

Parenting criticism seems to be all the rage, and for a good reason. It's easy. But, here's the thing. It's terribly lazy. People are all too quick to judge another person's parenting, but parenting is a thing that happens 24/7. Are you operating at 100% every second of the day? No? Good, none of us are, but some do try harder than others.

First things first, if you're bitching about parenting and you're NOT a parent, how about you stay in your lane on this one? Your opinion comes across as ignorant, by default.

Judging a parent based a sliver of their life is just stupid, as any number of "bad" parenting moves can contribute to what we consider "poor parenting". And here's the thing, we can't even agree that vaccines are good anymore. If you think we're suddenly going to agree on a single, science-based way to raise our children, you've got another thing coming.

First and foremost, your blanket criticism of bad parenting these days is simply preaching to the choir. Darn near EVERYBODY thinks they're a good parent. Your criticism of bad parents falls only on ears of parents who think they're "good", because that's the only type of parent that exists.

They'll give your Facebook post a like, smiling to themselves, and thinking about how good of a parent THEY are. They aren't afraid to spank their kids. They are Christian, unlike those heathens with no moral compass. Parents everywhere will give themselves a pat on the back reading your post. Of course, it's those OTHER parents who are doing it wrong. Everybody thinks they're a good parent.

So, what IS a good parent?

Before, we start judging, let's first come to an agreement on what "good" parenting is.

That mom who spanks her kid? She thinks she's a good parent because she spanks him, and "she was spanked and turned out fine", despite the overwhelming that shows spanking is not effective in deterring behavior, and actually increases chances of poor behavior in both childhood and into adulthood. (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/spanking.aspx)

That family who goes to church every Sunday? They think they're raising generous kids, despite the fact that studies have shown non-religious children are actually more generous than their religious counterparts. (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/11/nonreligious-children-are-more-generous). "Children in religious households learn to act out of obedience to a watchful higher power, children raised in secular homes could be taught to follow moral rules just because it’s “the right thing to do,” he says. Then, “when no one is watching, the kids from nonreligious families behave better.”

The dad who helps his son with homework? I'm not talking about "partner" activities, like a child reading aloud to a parent or doing flash cards. This is about the type of homework that can be done independently. Research done in 2014 shows that "Most measurable forms of parental involvement seem to yield few academic dividends for kids, or even to backfire—regardless of a parent’s race, class, or level of education."(https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/04/and-dont-help-your-kids-with-their-homework/358636/)

So far, a good parent:
  • Doesn't spank
  • Raises an atheist
  • Doesn't help with homework
Not your idea of a good parent? Not surprising. You likely think these are things good parents do if you already do them, because, as we mentioned earlier, we always think we're good parents. Everything you don't agree with, you're likely write off as incorrect, am I right? Even upon reading the articles and studies they came from, you're likely to think they are wrong if you don't to these things. Do we even do these things because we think we're being good parents, or is there some ulterior reason for our actions? What would convince you that these things listed above are good things to do as a parent?

If this isn't your idea of a "good" parent, then what is? What would you add to the list? What science backs up your view? Leave a comment below.

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