Thursday, February 01, 2007

Homeschool Stories - Patience and Hope

submitted by Maria from Canada
I am in my first official year of homeschooling and have already learned a lot. I have four children. I am schooling my oldest at a grade one level and my second oldest at kindergarten level. When I first started out I found a book entitled: Teach you Child to read in 60 days. It was written by a wonderful father who found himself raising his 2 and 3 year old children alone. In order for them to have enough story time he decided to teach them how to read. He did. They did. Thus a book was born. I believe that that man had the purest of intentions in teaching his children and then sharing the fruits of his experiments. Now my daughter was either just not ready, or I am just a horrid teacher, in any case during the year I tried to teach her how to read from the age of 3 to 4, she learned maybe one sound. I was very patient at first, but later as the months rolled by I became upset and told her she wasn’t trying. Then I yelled and demanded her to try. Then I realized what I was doing and apologized and saw a weight come off my 4 yo daughter’s shoulders. Poor girl, she is growing up to be tough. I am certainly not worried about her being frightened by overbearing people, after learning to cope with me. I dropped the whole reading idea and left it till she turned 5 at which point we started again just a little everyday. Things went slowly, but I was firm in my commitment to patience and regular short lessons. Now she is decoding words slowly, but enough progress has been made that I see she will eventually read and I have not succeeded in ruining her for life.

I used to wish that I had a fast learner. One of those kids you hear about where the mom says: My child is just flying through XYZ program, I just can’t keep up…. Well I had the pleasure of spending some time with a kid like that. It was very nice to speak to a 5 year old who actually got the rules of checkers and could discuss strategy etc. He was very fast in picking up all sorts of information and willing to listen and learn if approached the right way. I realized even though I appreciated him I also appreciate my own children who are not as fast. Another important point for me is that I did not have to discover any faults in this bright child to justify that my own were just as good.

I hope that if anybody who is reading this has yelled at their child or punished them for not learning will see that if they apologize and show the child love that the child will be okay. Also some kids just progress slowly in certain tasks. I am not sure if this means that they will be “slow” all their lives. To me it means I need to be the best person I can be to be able to teach them properly. If God had given me fast learners right off the bat I would be arrogant and perhaps writing a book on “How I taught my children to be Geniuses.” (I don’t mean to say that people who write books of their own experiences are all tooting their own horn. I know that I would though.)
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1 comment:

sixandthecity said...

I have one child who learned to read when he was 3, and one now 4 year old who is just starting to learn her letter sounds. I think that it is hard to find the balance between offering the information and pushing, but I am glad that you mention the arrogance, I have to keep a watch out for that! Most kindergartens teach phonics and expect reading in first grade, or around age 6, so I think that anything before that needs to really be child read. Also, one downside to early reading is that they spend more time reading the not so great early reading books, much better to be reading great literature to them!