Kindergarten and third grade were both huge transition years for my kids. Mazzy went from thinking school was mainly about play and socializing to realizing— uh-oh, I think we are really here to learn stuff, retain information, apply knowledge and show our work! We really struggled in the beginning of the year because she thought homework was THE WORST and every night became a battle to get her to focus and complete it.

Harlow faced her own set of challenges. She went from being in a preschool class of seven to a kindergarten class of 22. One of the hardest things I dealt with all year was dropping her off without a teacher physically holding her back from running after me when I tried to exit the classroom.

They both improved greatly over the course of the year, and by “improved,” I guess I mean “grew up.”

Harlow still is not 100% when I drop her off, but the tears minimized and there were even days when she made no fuss whatsoever. Her teacher realized she needed to have a specific task at the beginning of the day, so she made her in charge of flashing the lights, which helped ease her anxiety when it was time for me to leave.

She also always felt better when I assured her that Mazzy was right down the hall.

Mazzy ended up seeing a math tutor who totally helped build her confidence and master the basics so that she could focus on learning new things in class. Her improvement in reading was pretty exceptional. She went from being a kid who would never pick up a book unless it was required to reading by choice on her own. She also scored in the 99th percentile for reading comprehension. I know everyone says that test scores aren’t important, but I also think it’s valuable to relay that you could have a kid who is behind on reading (Mazzy was seeing the reading specialist at school all throughout 1st and 2nd grade) who turns it around by 3rd and starts reading at the top of her class.

Unlike Mazzy, Harlow really loved the learning aspect of school right from the beginning. And it’s been fun watching her adopt the same passion for topics like civil rights and environmentalism, just like she did for Judaism when she attended a Jewish preschool. She’s also been slow to catch on to some of the reading basics, but due to my experience with Mazzy, I am not really concerned.

One night while lying in bed with Harlow, soon after school started, she told me, “You don’t know this about me but I want to be the smartest kid in school.” Of course, I had to tell her, “That’s awesome, but it’s more important that you work hard. Really smart people aren’t afraid to fail.” She said, “Making mistakes is how you learn something new,” which is 100% something she must have heard her teacher say. Also, once, when Mazzy got mad at her for copying something, Harlow spat back, “Copying means that you are inspiring me!!!!” Another lesson she must have internalized from school. Harlow is paying attention.

Style-wise, Harlow stuck strong to the same dresses and fancy outfits that she’s been wearing since she was a baby. For school, she goes back and forth between comfy dresses that are great for play (we call them “gym day dresses”) and super fancy dresses that I might have nixed, except I see that most of the girls in her class are wearing similar items. You can’t say, “that’s too fancy for school” when the other girls are rolling in wearing black tie gowns and princess attire. I actually loved that the parents in Harlow’s class had an “anything goes” attitude towards school clothes. It made the mornings a lot easier.

For Mazzy, we have finally figured out her style. A few years ago, she went from a closet full of pink dresses to t-shirts and jeans only. The clothes she wanted to wear were baggie, boxy and boyish. Last year, she started to gravitate towards the girlier side of casual. She likes off the shoulder shirts and skinny jeans. And now that her style is more well-established, she’s starting to break out a bit and try new things.

When Garnet Hill reached out about Mazzy and Harlow selecting some back-to-school clothes (can you believe it’s time to think about back-to-school already???), my initial thought was that they had plenty of items for Harlow, but I wasn’t sure if everything was too soft and feminine for Mazzy.

Mazzy surprised me though by falling in love with a heather gray sweater poncho, choosing dark purple twill skinny pants with zipper pockets and even a dress!

The dress is every shade of purple, which is Mazzy’s favorite color. Harlow decided to get the same dress in blue to match.

Now Harlow is counting down the days until she is as tall as Mazzy, since I had to break the unfortunate news that she will always be younger.

The other items Mazzy loved were the ankle boots (Mazzy picked black and Harlow picked gold) and a “mystical horse” t-shirt. Not a unicorn, mind you. A mystical horse. Harlow selected adorable striped tights and the perfect printed play dress, which looks fancy enough to impress her friends but stretchy and comfy enough for gym days.

They both loved the selection of backpacks and I was impressed with the quality. We got a large backpack for Mazzy (since her backpack always feels like she’s carrying a ton of bricks by the end of each week) and the smaller backpack for Harlow since she basically carries water, a dance leotard and snacks.

They are both excited for the school year. They ask me every day if their class list has arrived yet. Mazzy can’t believe she is going into fourth grade and I can’t believe it either. Harlow is excited that she won’t be the littlest one in school anymore and I’m really hoping that being a 1st grader(!!!) will give her a little more confidence at drop-off.

Or, at the very least, maybe she’ll be showing off her gold boots to her friends and not even notice her mom walking out the door.


What grade are your kid going into and are they ready???

This post was sponsored by Garnet Hill, but all thoughts and opinions is my own.