Review: The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5 by ML Nichols

Book Cover - The Parent Backpack by ML NicholsAre schools today all that different from when we were growing up? In a word: yes!

Increased focus on standardized tests, technology in the classroom, cyberbullying–it’s enough to unnerve any parent. A new book by ML Nichols gives parents of young kids a guide through the maze that is elementary school.

This is not a sponsored post, but watch out for the affiliate links. They may lead to books that will enlighten and inspire you.

The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5 by ML Nichols

When Nichols sent her first child off to school, she did something I would have done–she turned to a book. But she couldn’t find a book that would show her how to manage that winding, sometimes frustrating journey through elementary school. Nichols did everything from cleaning chick cages to lobbying for smaller class sizes, all tasks that taught her how schools really work.

In The Parent Backpack, Nichols shows parents how to connect to their child’s learning at school and at home. She uses examples to illustrate the ways parents help, and in some cases, hamper the development of their elementary-aged children. In 277 pages, Nichols tackles:

  • How to decide between half-day and full-day kindergarten
  • How to raise a child who loves to read
  • How to cope when your child has a bad teacher experience
  • How to be an involved parent even as a work-out-of-the-home mom
  • How to identify and work with your child’s learning style
  • And much more

What I liked about The Parent Backpack

The book can be read from cover to cover, or by topic, which allows readers to pull out the information they need most. Real-world examples make for both interesting reading, and personal reflection. As an example, imagine how you would react to the following scenario:

Sara, Jill, and Alicia claim to be BFFs (Best Friends Forever). But recently their fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sweeney, sensed some tension between the girls and made a mental note that it might be time for a seat change. She was not entirely aware of what had happened among the girls the previous week–that is, until she opened her computer Monday morning to find two parent emails: one from Sarah’s mom and another from Jill’s.” (The Parent Backpack, Pg. 90)

In The Parent Backpack, Nichols contrasts the two parent emails mentioned above. Readers learn how to craft a message that will inspire and empower their child’s teacher, instead of make them feel like the “hired help.”

The Parent Backpack doesn’t skimp on interesting statistics. Would you be surprised to learn that many U.S. students aren’t ready for college? Nichols points out that 75 percent of American kids graduate from high school and only two-thirds will go to college. Of the U.S. students who start college today, little more than 50 percent will graduate.

So, would I recommend to a friend?

I would recommend this book to any parent of an elementary-aged child. My only caveat is that Chapter 2 titled “Your Role in a Changing System” may give more information about school infrastructure than the average parent desires. I for one found it fascinating.

Check out the Parent Backpack website for tons of parenting tips and free resources.

Readers: What are your tips for helping young kids thrive in school (and life)? Are schools really all that different these days?

Just the facts, Jack: I received a courtesy copy of The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5: How to Support Your Child’s Education, End Homework Meltdowns, and Build Parent-Teacher Connections by ML Nichols in order to facilitate this review. I received no compensation for this post, however, the above includes Amazon affiliate links (cha-ching, says the bookworm!).

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About Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson is a Dallas-based freelance writer who specializes in college planning, parenting, women’s lifestyle, education, and self-help. But she's always hungry to munch on new topics. In addition to writing for The BookWormMama blog, Nicole provides content, copywriting and proofreading services for various publications.


Review: The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5 by ML Nichols — 27 Comments

  1. Pingback: Giveaway: The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5 by ML Nichols |

  2. My son is in the 5th grade this year, and we loved elementary school. I need one of these for middle school. Ugh. Sounds like it would be very beneficial to many parents.

  3. Sounds like a great resource! Thanks for sharing the recommendation. I have 3 sons, one in middle, one in elementary and one preschool age. They are very different in their personalities and learning habits. I think this book would be valuable in making sure I am helping each one in the way they need it. Visiting from SITS and a book worm myself :)
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  4. I wonder if they have a high school version. High School is a lot more challenging because they expect the kids to manage on their own a lot more, which is fine if you have that kind of high-functioning kid. But if you don’t, there aren’t many tools to help you help them keep on top of everything. Plus you’re so out of touch. I have one teacher that Emails me regularly – out of EIGHT classes. And extra curricular activities – they are just INSANE. I don’t know when they expect these kids to eat, sleep, do homework, or have any kind of a life.
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  7. I am one that truly believes if help is being offered….take it!! I have three grown sons (32-28-26) and my late in life blessing that is 11 and in 5th grade. I have seen some major changes in school just between my boys. I think this would be a wonderful informative book to add to any parents “HELP” section.

    Happy SITS Comment Love Wednesday!!
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