I am writing this late Thursday night, even though I won’t let you read it until Friday. Cruel yes, but I am just so thrilled with some events this evening. I am just bubbling inside. I am much to excited to sleep. I am hoping by getting the words out, I will be able to find Mr. Sandman.
Last summer, my heart started to burn with the desire to homeschool our girls. Sue had been in public school for kindergarten and Caitlyn for kindergarten and first grade.
I was nervous about a lot of things, with the biggest being, teaching Sue to read… I swallowed my fears and at at 10 pm the night before school was to start, we decided to begin the journey of home education.
We were doing it, but I still had fears about reading. Caitlyn was a strong reader by this point, but Sue, I found out as we got started, had none of the basics down. She was far from being able to read.
So many times I asked other homeschoolers a myriad of questions about reading. I was so afraid I would fail her. What if I didn’t get her reading? What if it was so hard to learn she hated it? What if she was so delayed in reading that it affected all other aspects of her schooling? What if there was a learning challenge I didn’t discover and I made her life unnecessarily difficult?
Wonderful people in my life reassured me as many times as I panicked. Then, a couple weeks ago I saw a big shift. She was getting more of it, remembering more of the phonics rules, sounding out words well, and had a drive to learn how to read.
I began to fear, my virgin hair would, sooner rather than later, have to face the bottles of pink and purple dye to fulfill my deal with Sue that when she can read Fancy Nancy and the Extraordinary Book Report to daddy’s standards, I would stripe my hair pink and purple.
The fear is getting real. I will be the most scared and excited client the hair stylist has ever seen. My poor hair, but look at my baby now!!!
But today, the reading was rough. Both of us were struggling with the lessons; I called it after three pages.
Tonight, she declared she wasn’t tired. Her eyes said differently, but she was adamant. Bedtime is still (loosely) bedtime, so off she was sent. A little bit later I see her sitting in her bedroom doorway…with a book. A very challenging chapter book. And I hear her sounding out words. Finally, she got bold and came out where I was, “I don’t want to wake up Caitlyn, but I want to read this book.”
This mama can’t say no to that. As she got herself settled on the couch I asked her if she maybe wanted one of the library books instead. At first, she plugged away at the chapter book, but then she decided, MAYBE something else would be better to read.
We found a library book, “Not Too Little to Help.” And she settled back into her spot on the couch.
She did amazing on that book. Then she asked for another. I picked out one of the We Can Read books, “A Pony Named Peanut.” These are specifically written for an experienced reader and an emergent reader to work together. One page is written at a level for an experienced reader and the facing page is written for the emergent reader. We cuddled up in the couch and started to read. She did a fabulous job sounding words out and working to put them together. I managed to work with her without losing my patience, and there were no interruptions.
It was bliss, it was divine.
I would have read with her all night, but finally the eyelids got just too heavy. Off she went to bed. Before she went, she leaned over and whispered, “know why I’m doing this, working hard at reading? I kind of like it and I really want my own e-mail.” And with a big hug and kiss, she was gone.
I stayed in the same spot. In awe of what had just happened. I was afraid to move, afraid to even shift in my seat. I couldn’t bear to see the joy and sweetness of it all fade away. Even now, I am avoiding going to bed; I want to prolong this feeling forever.
My joy is two-fold. I am just in awe of the progress she has made and her self-motivation to learn, and I am thrilled with the flexibility homeschooling is giving us, I am so pleased that we can have an impromptu reading lesson at 10:30 pm because we don’t have to get up excruciatingly early to catch a bus or carpool to get to school. I know homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but right now, it has me beaming.
It has all been enough to make this mamas’ heart sing.