My little girl is starting 4th grade next week. I don’t know why, but I have been more excited about having a 4th grader than any other year before this one. Maybe I’m just weird like that, but I do have a few reasons.

I loved 4th grade.

I look back on my grade school years and 4th grade was my favorite. It was the first year of “changing classes”. I had some pretty amazing teachers. Mrs. Zant (still one of my favorites) saw a writer in me even then and taught me how to close a story with something more than just “that’s all I have to say about that”.  In 4th grade I learned about Georgia history and won the spelling bee.  As I look back on that year, I see that it was the last year of pure, innocent, amazing childhood. There was no obsession with boys or my physical appearance. When I was in 4th grade I had braces and short hair. None of my friends had braces or short hair… and nobody really cared (least of all me).

I am so very excited to have a 4th grader this year.

My daughter shares my love for reading and because of her appetite for literature we are able to discuss plot lines, point of view, and writing styles. Her mind (and mouth) are wide open from the moment she wakes until she fights for 5 more minutes to read at bedtime. She is a sponge soaking up the world.

And now I’m even more excited to have a 4th grader – she gets to explore national parks, historic sites, and public lands this year at no charge (and take us with her!).

4th Grade

When I found out about the National Park Foundation’s effort to get all 4th graders and their families to experience the national parks through their Every Kid in a Park initiative I couldn’t wait to tell my family. News of this initiative is making the rounds on social media right now, but I don’t want any of my friends with 4th graders to miss out, so here are the details:

4th graders get to visit national parks and public lands for free during this school year!!

The Every Kid in a Park pass is available at and will be good for the 2015-2016 school year until August 31, 2016. The foundation’s goal is to provide the opportunity to each and every 4th grade student across the country to experience their public lands and waters in person, which I think is a pretty fantastic goal.

4th grade is a pivotal year in a child’s life. Get out and explore with them! Even if you only visit the parks that are a short drive from your home you’ll be opening their eyes to the world and lands around them and the rich history of our amazing country.

I’m just pretty excited to be able to tag along and be a 4th grader all over again. This time, without braces.

Every Kid in a Park


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