My story: I learned to read at 4 and pretty much didn’t stop reading until I had Sandra 16 years later when I realized that ignoring babies in order to follow a narrative was pretty uncool. Once we had decided to take the leap and not send the kids to school, I naturally looked forward with great joy and satisfaction to the day when my little homeschool would echo with the thunderous noise of turning pages in a silent room. Oh, the fun we’d have with Anne Shirley, Encyclopedia Brown, and Bilbo Baggins!
My kids’ story: both needed vision therapy, reading is hard work, and they’d rather dance or juggle a soccer ball than read most days.
Yesterday’s story: Since we returned from our holiday, I’ve let Tias read shorter, easier books rather than picking up where he left off with A Cricket in Times Square. I believe in what I call ‘on-ramp homeschooling’: just like you don’t just make a left turn and hit the highway at 110kph, you don’t hit the books full-throttle.
Tias spent a while yesterday morning ignoring my call to the table to do our Canadian Geography. He was busy wrestling our foam roller and getting out some anxious fidgets. When I returned to the room 20 minutes later, he was curled up with a Geronimo Stilton book. “Can I trade reading for some of my other homeschooling? I want to see if I can read a whole book in one day.”
It wasn’t a book in a whole day. It was 2 hours.
I stood on a chair, singing a made-up song to celebrate his achievement while dancing. He walked away, astounded that I’d do such a thing to him. (I believe he’s secretly pleased that I did it and that I kept going even when he wasn’t in the room.)
This is such a big boost to his confidence.
And balm to a worried homeschooling mother’s heart.
I’ve written before about the Geronimo Stilton series. I think it may be one of the top three series of books out there for children intimidated by reading. Rather than a crowded landscape of little black armies of words marching across a page, the books present well-spaced text that is dotted with words in colours and fonts that seem to dance on the page. “Come play with me,” they seem to say.