I wanted Matthias to jump up in reading level and confidence this year, so I encouraged him to read “To Kill a Mockingbird” for the teen book club. It became clear, though, that the style of writing coupled with the opening sequence was a barrier for him.
Sometimes we’re too rigid when we have plans. I took a moment and asked myself what my true goal was. Was it the discipline of reading difficult passages? No, that’s for later. Was it the pleasure of a novel that would hopefully change his inner life? Yes. Was it about romancing him into reading literature? Yes.
So I changed my plan. Now I planned to read aloud to him until he got a feel for the characters and the language. I planned to get him comfy. What happened? It turned out to be one of the best moments of my day: unpacking my rather ham-fisted southern accent and letting Harper Lee’s language roll off my tongue.
He laughs out loud at least once per chapter. That wouldn’t have happened if he’d be reading at the edge of his abilities. His eyes widen and he gives a respectful ‘dude nod’ to admire a particularly sharp observation. That wouldn’t have happened if I had been confused and thought my goal was discipline.
Learning, homeschooling…they’re about the relationship. Learning is really the relationship of new ideas to old information, new facts to our emotions about them, and ideas to our sense of self. Homeschooling is a relationship between ideas, facts, wisdom, and the family.