Saturday, January 26, 2008

trev is learning to read....

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'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 investigate.
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.
[shakes head]
It's a sparkly fine life, Friends.
Sparkly fine.


KMDuff said...

Sparkly and beautiful and fun. I believe this is a fine post showing the point you wrote before about how school imitates life. Life is learning and fun. And y'all are living it fully.

carri said...

I love this post! Every. Single. Word. Of. It. I don't have the words right now to explain to you how much this resonates with me. All I can say is that I know that space of mind of which you write and it is a beautiful place to be.

Lena said...

I can relate to the apprehensiveness and then the trusting in yourself and in your son and the cycle going around and around. I've been saying my now 7 year old is learning to read for the last 2 years. My daughter was eager to read and learned when she was 5 so I thought he'd be the same. Then I tried teaching him like I did her. That did not, and was not, going to work. He was SO not ready for that. I wanted him to LOVE reading, not dread it. So I waited and would introduce him to it now and then over the next two years to see if he was interested in it yet. In the meantime, his public school friends have all learned how to be proficient readers. There goes the cycle again. Well, I am pleased to say, he finally decided to learn to read. I can't tell you how much EASIER it is for him now that it is something he wants to do.

whimsigal said...

Ruff Ruffman is awesome and I think the name of the new show on CN is "Chowder". My kids won't watch Chowder for some reason, not sure why. Something about it makes Iain feel embarrassed, a common theme around here lately, so he won't go near it.

The last part of this post is beautiful, Steph. Sparkly life indeed.