How long do you (if you're an unschooler) say that for, d'you s'pose?
Until they cruise through first or second grade Dick and Jane readers? Until they pick up something fat like Harry Potter and dive in, all on their own? Until they pass their college entrance exams?
I think I said it for the first time about two years ago. Something like "Trev is learning to read - all of a sudden he is putting two letter sounds together...."
A milestone, certainly.
As i mentioned the other day (here and here), it's a subject loaded with parental emotion.
Pride, joy, and relief, certainly. It also deepens the trust in living and learning freely. Sometimes you question these feelings, and think "didn't I trust in him?" and you get a little twitchy. And then you remember that the others that have gone on before you began their journeys, too, on a wing and a prayer, and became more and more sure as the days and years went on.
The trust is there initially, as the theory fits and seems so perfect and makes so much sense to your mind and heart, but as you witness the moments and connections and see it all unfolding right before your very eyes, you cannot help but to whisper a breathy and reverent "Wow...."
Wednesday morning when I took the first picture of Trev "reading" his book, the first thought I had was "Yeah, look at this boy with his books and the way he studies them so intently, and tell me that he will not eventually learn to read - I can see that I should be very concerned.....".
Little did I know at ten that morning that the next evening I would be saying Trev is reading sentences.
It just makes me want to cry.
Last night after Trev had been reading and playing on JSWorld all day (it was like ten hours!) I said something like "Jeez, Trev - you're reading. How does it feel to be a reader?" He kinda was like "no big deal", but I carried through, in a light and tickling sort of way - "What does this say? Oh, never mind, I'll just read it myself!" and "What is this? Never mind - I can read it...." and "Oh, I'll figure it out.... I'll just READ it...." and he laughed, and was pleased, and I think it got me off the hook a bit about making a big deal about it - he got to see my enthusiasm full-blown, I wasn't hiding it from him, and I think he understood that reading IS a big deal to most people.
I am so profoundly grateful that our lives have unfolded in this way. I am so thankful that my children have the liberty to discover and uncover things without and within every day. I am so grateful that I have been shown the benefits of marathon cartoon network watching and that I heard my child say "But books are so Boring - there's nothing exciting and moving about them like cartoons!" and that I lived to tell the tale. That just a few short weeks later (never limited) watching cartoons by themselves was Just Not Enough - and were found more satisfying when accompanied with jumping and games and especially while reading books.
In my excitement (or maybe my enchantment) I am not discounting reading in all its various forms. Books (as opposed to comic books, online games, tv shows, etc) along with Trev's computer games just happen to be the way He is doing it.
He is learning to read mainly because he wants more information on prehistoric life at any given moment. He wants to know when it evolved, and who its predators and prey were, and if it existed in the same prehistoric sea as the Hesperornis or the Tylosaurus.
And he is learning because he enjoys his various computer games.
We don't limit (cable) television. In any way. And my children watch Ruff Ruffman and Wishbone(pbs) and Madd watches Super Why and Clifford and Arthur. Trev and Daddy are crazy about .... Oh, what the hell is the name of it.....it's a new one on CN, and all the characters are named after food, and one dude says Radda-radda-radda - anyway - they think it's funny, and I think it's damned obnoxious and I can't understand what they are saying much less what the hell the point is..... and we watch alot of Animal Planet and Discovery and History channel.
And we eat what and when we're hungry.
And we go to bed when we're sleepy.
And we have tea parties.
And we have science experiments.
We study the globe.
And we learn a lot about evolution.
And we laugh and play and love and visit museums and live freely and well and openly.
And in all this magic and freedom, one of us is learning to read.
It's a sparkly fine life, Friends.