Do you read or read you not? and why we care

Six years ago I was a new mother at play dates who was frantically keeping track of the babies in our group and surroundings who could crawl and at what months.I was given a perfect little girl who was surely destined to be a genius but who was determined to conceal her gifts from humanity though they were very apparent to me, her personal agent mom.

Other babies were crawling before my small bundle of giftedness, she was average…this time…we’ll show that people what you are made of the next milestone. Walking. And walking she was…NOT…as early as other children who were steady and gracious when she was merely clumsily grabbing to the edge of a table. No first came FIRST for the next Nobel Prize. But mom had weaved an intricate plan by now, she will educate this girl at home and then she’ll show the world. Neon words flashed in my mind at night as I read book after book that had those statistics of homeschooled children who learned better, faster, more. Did I say faster? The speed of light wasn’t going to help people measure her literacy and computational abilities in both Spanish and English. (Maybe even German, oh, and don’t forget Latin, that was in her genes from her mother side of the family…OF COURSE).


By the time she was four and quite average for these milestones I had another perfect daughter. If my oldest doesn’t break the mold, my youngest will. And last year as I knew about Ambleside, I was determined to go blatantly against the current and be one of those defiant moms who would start her children in Year 1 at the age of 5, or 5.5 (because I spent quite sometime talking about my daughter in decimals, she wasn’t simply five, she was 5.3, 5.7, almost 6).

This comical exaggeration represents some of what I’ve felt these past six years with my daughters. But this is not all. Luckily we have had six WONDERFUL years I will not trade for anything in the world. Their capacity for love, their love for learning, their joy for life, their relationship with our Lord and many small details that are not world records but that make the world to me have unfolded under my mesmerized eyes.

Will I change anything of these six years. NO. Even the extra worries were part of me, of my own path and particular journey. I’m not ashamed of the low moments when I’ve pushed them, or have had no faith in me, in them, in Him. I’m not proud either, but they are part of my realization and my knowledge today.

So, does my oldest daughter read? Yes and no. She is reading short sentences, cereal box labels, easy (not twaddle) stories with help. I think it’s again pretty standard for a child of six or seven. The fluency comes later. But she can read at a deeper level. She knows many words she has heard in the many stories told or read to her. She has a reading potential that will be handy for her all through her life.

My girls love to learn. They pick books by themselves for me to read, for them to peruse, to play library, to throw to each other…LOL.

Talking to my public school teacher friend, she was telling me how she tells parents not to mind the bad grade in reading, they know the reading abilities in children will click later. It must be unsettling as a parent to get a confusing message and see bad grades in reading but to hear an optimistic comment from a teacher. They know that by the end of first grade most of them read…some. Lots of damage is done to those who would have read later, and to those who were destined not to read. If this is the case in your homeschooling, there is something you can do, that is NOT TO HARM THEM and respect their abilities, no matter how good or bad they are. Humbly and gently improve them, don’t try to change them. This is a subtle way of wanting to change your child. Your duty is to be intentional, to be honest, to provide with the best, not to control the outcome, their relationship with learning, their progress. We think of them as persons but treat them like robots more than I wish to admit. Parking reading instruction for a while is not neglecting. Postponing a banquet is not starving them. Do we worry about not doing enough, or do we truly worry about them not excelling enough? I don’t believe in Freud, but if I did, this question will be very juicy.

We know it’s important to read, but reading is OVERRATED. Yes, say that with me, reading is OVERRATED.

Ask yourself these questions:
a) Are you a caring parent?
b) Are you intentional?
c) Do you model a love for learning?
d) Do you have books? Do you read yourself?
They WILL read.

I don’t want to give false hopes to those who see that at six or seven their children are not making even little progress or who have a doubt about dyslexia or any other situation. But even in that case, children (like grown ups with these traits) will read, and adjustments will come in place. If they love learning they will still have their place in life.

RELAX, forget about reading for a bit. Just go on with life and put things in perspective. Now we have ten years until they want to learn to drive, so enjoy the ride!

 

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15 thoughts on “Do you read or read you not? and why we care

  1. Shona says:

    Oh, I so agree with you.
    My 7 year old is starting to read in 2 languages, but because of the system over here, a child her age is expected to be able to read properly at her stage. Still praying that when the inspector comes next year, he/she will be sensible and realise that she has only being speaking French for a little over 1 year, and perhaps show her some grace. I'm going to be doing my best to relax (Yes, I trust You, Lord) and teach her in the best way possible, without false pressure.

    Like

  2. Silvia says:

    Shona, I've seen your blog, your posts, you talking about your life…you'll be fine. Remember the children in schools are not all up to the level they expect either. We usually idealized the reading that goes on in schools, we take their ideal for their reality. And we always minimize our children abilities just because they are not cookie cut to the different teaching expectations of the large groups and to the test, by the book education in some schools.
    They'll render themselves to the evidence that you are committed parents, and that your children are well taken care of in all aspects. However, I'm looking forward to hearing from you through your beautiful and inspiring blog.

    Like

  3. wonderinthewoods says:

    I love the new banner Silvia! And you know I agree with you Silvia, this is why I do not send H to PS. I want to tailor his lessons and not rush him. I also do not think that 15 minutes of Explode the Code for a 7 yo is too much. He CAN do it. He just does not appreciate his abilities yet. I do think we need to be doing a little every day, even if it is reading a book with our finger under the words. Right now, ETC is helping him focus on the words and be intentional about reading. When I read to him, I think he is not looking at the words. So, yes, there is no rush and 15 minutes a day is so little. It would be a couple of hours in reading group in school, right? Have you looked at Explode the Code?

    Like

  4. Silvia says:

    Cori…only a mother knows what needs to be done and not. NOOOOO, it's not two hours. It's fifteen minutes of instruction one to one in the WHOLE day with a child in a small group, and that if you are lucky. I'm not ridiculing schools, it's a reality. I'm totally honest that we deliver the most intentional, intensive and meaningful lessons to our children.
    Yes, I do like Explode the Code as much as I'd love all that you've been doing with the other ideas for reading or phonics. You are right to want something from him and help him into making him understand the value by committing to those short lessons. I only wanted to point to the fact that we shouldn't compromise their love for learning (I know you don't). You do great for your boys, you know them, you know if the marbles are enough or too much or too little, you know if that small “must do” is reasonable or too much…regardless what our ps friends may think. They may see themselves as those who do more, I did too had a high concept of myself as a teacher, homeschooling has humbled me a lot. I don't mean I was arrogant, but I gave me credit for things that were the children. However, as moms who don't work within the framework of an institution, disciplining, habits, requiring from them, committing to minimums, staying focus and constant, etc. is more of a challenge. We are our own boss.
    I go through these spells, then I do things with the girls, disconnect a little bit, and come back with more inspiring (I hope) posts, ha ha ha.
    Continue that Waldorf-Mason-Cori style you have going on, it's so nice to see and so perfect for your boys.
    Happy belated anniversary. You look beautiful in the pictures, and wanting to share those speaks volumes of your inner confidence and your beauty as a person.

    Like

  5. Ellen says:

    Hi Silvia! Brava to your post (and, of course, you). When Miss Priss was in first grade, I tutored (in reading) two other first graders at her school who were not “reading at grade level.” But what does that mean, anyway? Reading is not age specific; one child may get it at five and another not until s/he is nine. And even though I was happy to work with these children — volunteered for the program, in fact — I figured they were merely later bloomers to reading (notice I did not say “late,” which implies a concerning delay).

    I think I'll blog about this, too!

    Like

  6. Silvia says:

    Ellen, please please, post about this. You moms who have more experience and older children don't know how much it helps the ones with younger children and new to homeschooling moms to hear your story and your perception and perspective on this matter.
    We may sound superfluous, but the ridiculous pressure that we still get from outside or from family, or from our own insecurities as teachers, can make us all push the children to loose the love and joy for reading and take their growth as climbing a competitive ladder.
    As you say, I've always wondered what those “magic levels” were. A publisher or a school district comes up with some guidelines to determine what a first grader should be reading like, and then you have the puffed up teachers and parents saying “my son in first grade reads at a beginning third grade level”…And those levels stop by junior high when teachers complain that their comprehension and vocabulary is that of a little child. (I'm exaggerating, forgive me, but I refuse to see things like this, though it's difficult because many believe I'm hiding my lack of effort or irresponsibility while I know it takes true effort and conviction to work outside those constraints).

    Like

  7. Amy in Peru says:

    This is beautiful Silvia, because I understand the struggle and see you blossoming as a result of it… 🙂

    Your girls are blessed to have you! Someday may they rise up and call you blessed dear friend. 🙂

    amy in peru

    Like

  8. Amy in Peru says:

    This is beautiful Silvia, because I understand the struggle and see you blossoming as a result of it… 🙂

    Your girls are blessed to have you! Someday may they rise up and call you blessed dear friend. 🙂

    amy in peru

    Like

  9. Silvia says:

    Ellen, please please, post about this. You moms who have more experience and older children don't know how much it helps the ones with younger children and new to homeschooling moms to hear your story and your perception and perspective on this matter.
    We may sound superfluous, but the ridiculous pressure that we still get from outside or from family, or from our own insecurities as teachers, can make us all push the children to loose the love and joy for reading and take their growth as climbing a competitive ladder.
    As you say, I've always wondered what those “magic levels” were. A publisher or a school district comes up with some guidelines to determine what a first grader should be reading like, and then you have the puffed up teachers and parents saying “my son in first grade reads at a beginning third grade level”…And those levels stop by junior high when teachers complain that their comprehension and vocabulary is that of a little child. (I'm exaggerating, forgive me, but I refuse to see things like this, though it's difficult because many believe I'm hiding my lack of effort or irresponsibility while I know it takes true effort and conviction to work outside those constraints).

    Like

  10. Silvia says:

    Cori…only a mother knows what needs to be done and not. NOOOOO, it's not two hours. It's fifteen minutes of instruction one to one in the WHOLE day with a child in a small group, and that if you are lucky. I'm not ridiculing schools, it's a reality. I'm totally honest that we deliver the most intentional, intensive and meaningful lessons to our children.
    Yes, I do like Explode the Code as much as I'd love all that you've been doing with the other ideas for reading or phonics. You are right to want something from him and help him into making him understand the value by committing to those short lessons. I only wanted to point to the fact that we shouldn't compromise their love for learning (I know you don't). You do great for your boys, you know them, you know if the marbles are enough or too much or too little, you know if that small “must do” is reasonable or too much…regardless what our ps friends may think. They may see themselves as those who do more, I did too had a high concept of myself as a teacher, homeschooling has humbled me a lot. I don't mean I was arrogant, but I gave me credit for things that were the children. However, as moms who don't work within the framework of an institution, disciplining, habits, requiring from them, committing to minimums, staying focus and constant, etc. is more of a challenge. We are our own boss.
    I go through these spells, then I do things with the girls, disconnect a little bit, and come back with more inspiring (I hope) posts, ha ha ha.
    Continue that Waldorf-Mason-Cori style you have going on, it's so nice to see and so perfect for your boys.
    Happy belated anniversary. You look beautiful in the pictures, and wanting to share those speaks volumes of your inner confidence and your beauty as a person.

    Like

  11. wonderinthewoods says:

    I love the new banner Silvia! And you know I agree with you Silvia, this is why I do not send H to PS. I want to tailor his lessons and not rush him. I also do not think that 15 minutes of Explode the Code for a 7 yo is too much. He CAN do it. He just does not appreciate his abilities yet. I do think we need to be doing a little every day, even if it is reading a book with our finger under the words. Right now, ETC is helping him focus on the words and be intentional about reading. When I read to him, I think he is not looking at the words. So, yes, there is no rush and 15 minutes a day is so little. It would be a couple of hours in reading group in school, right? Have you looked at Explode the Code?

    Like

  12. Ellen says:

    Hi Silvia! Brava to your post (and, of course, you). When Miss Priss was in first grade, I tutored (in reading) two other first graders at her school who were not “reading at grade level.” But what does that mean, anyway? Reading is not age specific; one child may get it at five and another not until s/he is nine. And even though I was happy to work with these children — volunteered for the program, in fact — I figured they were merely later bloomers to reading (notice I did not say “late,” which implies a concerning delay).

    I think I'll blog about this, too!

    Like

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