Monday, September 05, 2005

Don't say I didn't warn you

Today was one of those days where everything was nicely balanced. It was relaxing, but "stuff" got done. It was quiet and we had social stimulation, too. One of my friends is taking a class for her masters degree and is very behind in the work. Her husband was on kid duty this weekend so we invited him and the boys over to swim, so she could get caught up. She is one of the moms in the Life Learners and the dad and my husband own an airplane together. Small world. The dads and kids all swam in the pool for a while and then moved inside for some playtime. They all play together so well, it was such a nice time. A and their oldest really like each other, so much so that A has said she is going to marry him. She even made him a bracelet out of oven bake clay this morning before they came over. It is very sweet to see them together. I really love the kind of friendships the kids are making with the LVLL kids. It is just so amazing to see them develop strong bonds with their friends and to be there to help them through the rough spots that all relationships have.

We finished HP book two tonight. A was so excited, she could barely sit still during the last chapter. I don't know why but the idea of reading the third book, or maybe it is just the fact that we read through two whole books already, is just so incredible to her. I think I have a bibliophile in the making. It has been wonderful to watch her acquire an understanding of the written word. She is very proud of the fact that she is figuring it out all on her own (I help and answer questions, but the learning is hers). When asked, in the future, who taught her to read, she will be able to say "I did!", and that, my friends, is the greatest gift I can give her. To know that she can figure reading out all on her own is to know that she can do anything she sets her mind to. And the best part is that the whole process has been seamless and effortless. She knows that learning is easy and fun and oh-so-rewarding.

If I had pushed it onto her back when she was three and a half, simply because she had the desire to learn to read, I know I would not be able to say it was a simple process. But because I waited until she was ready and doing it on her own, it has been simple. I think the only reason we think as a culture that reading is hard to learn is because so many kids are asked to learn it before they are ready. Not that anyone can learn something if they are not ready for it. The poor kids who don't keep up with their classmates are just labeled and made to feel there is something wrong with them when it was only bad timing that keep them from getting it like their peers. 99.9% of babies acquire spoken language simply by being immersed in their native tongue. And 99.9% of children could acquire written language if the only thing you did was immerse them in it, answer questions and maybe show them how the sounds and symbols match up, pointing out exceptions. For a very interesting read check out John Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education, particularly chapter three Intellectual Espionage and just try to convince me schools know best about how to get people reading.

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