Friday, January 18, 2013

"Reading's my favorite"

As we cleaned the whole house this morning and prepared for a party this afternoon I was feeling very anxious that, once again this week, we weren't going to have time for actual school work. 

I try not to let this upset me too much as I know we have other days and weeks where we cover so much.   Even in a traditional classroom setting, there are often weeks of assemblies, days off or half days where as a teacher you feel like nothing was accomplished.  Somehow without other teachers to commiserate with this always seems worse to me.

I worry about doing the right thing for my boys all the time.  I think that's just a mom's job and by taking on the added job of teacher too that seems to make my anxiety worse at times. 

It's a price I'm totally willing to pay, though since I get the added joys of hearing things like "reading is my new favorite subject."  I heard that from Ian today and I was so thrilled!

 My oldest son, who has always HATED reading just told me reading is his new favorite subject!  

It's those small moments through the days that make every bit of worry and planning and added work so totally worth it! 

When given a choice of what to bring in the car to work on while we did errands today he did not choose math (like usual) but picked up his book and told me "I love to read now, reading is my new favorite!."  (I know I keep repeating myself but I still can't get over it!) 

Sad to say but I'm pretty sure he would never have said that if we had kept him at our local school.  Nothing against our local schools, but given the freedom to choose what he wants to read and how (silently in his head; NOT out loud), he's finally finding pleasure in books. 

All we did to make reading was fun was:

  • allow him to choose WHAT he wants to read
  • allow him to choose when to read and for how long
  • read aloud to him often; reading books that HE loved
  • allowed him to choose where to read!  There's nothing like snuggling up in bed with a good book
  • allow him to stay up 30 minutes past bedtime if he wanted to read
  • allow him to read quietly in his head and summarize what he is reading rather than making him read out loud
  • not ask him a lot of questions about what he was reading or analyze the books to death
  • focus on making reading fun for him

At home we have the ability and the time to decide what works best for each child.  I'm not trying to stretch my time out to meet the needs of 20-30 students.  I'm not trying to make 20- 30 sets of parents happy.  I don't have state and federal guidelines dictating what I teach, when I teach or how I teach.   I just have three little boys, my husband and myself and we know if the kids are happy, laughing and engaged when we're doing something together that they're learning and learning in a way they'll remember.  

They may not remember each assignment they work on each day but they'll always remember laughing, wrestling, and being allowed to choose what they want to work on each day.   The freedom for them to choose what to learn about when they're interested in it is priceless. 
 When long term, life skills are the goal sometimes it's hard to see each tiny little step along the way.   I'm learning to look at the overall and to stop sweating the small stuff.  After all when a child says "reading's my favorite"; things are going just fine! 

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