Saturday, August 20, 2011
Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons
It is the end of an era. Or, the beginning. Either way - we're excited!
Jeshurun finished his 100th reading lesson today. 100 lessons. Hours and hours of work. Sweat, tears, joy, laughing, the pulling out of hair. Frustration, perseverance...breakthrough!
Working through this book was eye-opening for the both of us. Eye-opening for him because he started out this process as a 3 year old. He'll be 6 in November. If you do the math...it obviously took us MUCH longer than we anticipated. This past fall, we "started" at lesson #1 for the third time around. The first round, he was (I think!) a whiz-kid with his letter sounds; we had already worked through the alphabet and he was remembering every letter and could recall them perfectly. I thought that, surely, he was ready to read. So did he! We quit at our 50th lesson, and he was thrilled. "Simple" lessons that were supposed to take about 20 minutes were dragging out to be around 40-45 minutes each sitting. I was bullying him to finish them and nagging him when he got stumped because I knew that he "knew" the answers already! He would groan when we sat down for school on the couch and on the inside, I groaned, too!
I finally had to just let go and trust that he wasn't going to be illiterate if we quit for a season; that we needed to wait until he was actually "ready." I had heard of how great this program was from several other moms and through using it, believed in it's method. But just because I loved it, it wasn't a sure-ticket for my pre-schooler. I had to give up my fears that Jeshurun wasn't going to be a super genius who could quote great works of literature at 4 years of age. I had to realize that in my efforts to get him "ahead," I was actually setting himself up to hate reading. Hate school. Hate learning!
Fast forward to almost a year later. We started again, this time, with a more relaxed Mommy and a more willing son. We got to lesson 60 and quit again. Weren't these lessons advertised as "easy"? We came to the realization again that Run still wasn't ready. Emotionally, we were both getting very frustrated and dreading the daily (or weekly, let's get real - sometimes it is hard to be consistent!) lesson.
Between the second and third round of these lessons, I had to get over a mental hurdle that I assume is common as a homeschooling mom. I had to believe that it wasn't just good materials, intriguing books, cutesy art supplies and a big world map that make a classroom (or couch - if you teach like I do!)...it takes a whole lot more: Love, Patience, Kindness, Willingness, Diligence, Humor, Vision and Perspective. There are countless other virtues that are needed, but these are a start! Having all we need in the natural really isn't all we need. We need heart. And, we need to know where we're going.
Today was a glorious day. The "heart" was there. The vision was there, too. It seemed to both of us that although he was finishing the program that challenged him in so many ways, it was opening up so much more possibility for the future. Now, he can begin to tackle any book about anything that interests him! His learning isn't limited anymore to Mommy's time availability, or lack thereof. It feels like the end of an era for us, something always hanging over our heads. And now, the race has been won...and we're off to run another one!