Thursday, June 4, 2020

Some Food For Thought On Reading....

Reading. I won't argue the many academic merits the skill and love of reading bring with it. I have read the mountains of information about reading being the cornerstone of all education.  I've seen all of the statistics. I will agree, as in all things, that having the most beneficial foundation will aid in all other pursuits. Reading is important. Absolutely. I believe every human who does not have a physical inability to read SHOULD learn to read.

Here comes the "but".

But.... while it may bring the ultimate benefits for a child to love to read, I do not believe children should be made to feel inadequate for not enjoying a good book.  I believe a postitive attitude towards learning and a strong self esteem are both more important than quantity of reading.

Of my six children, the oldest two LOVED to read, the two middle enjoyed a specific book or series here and there, and the two youngest did not enjoy reading at all.  Until.... the quarantine of 2020. Suddenly, a book she had been trying to read for many months was completed. Then the second in the series, and third, fourth, fifth! I had to order the last two online, and she read them faster than the next one could be delivered!  I'm not sure why. We home school, obviously, so it wasn't because she was lacking the normal school routine. She wasn't particularly bored, as the four of them have kept quite busy and are enjoying each other's company very much. She has even expressed that this time has been wonderful without all of the usual hustle and bustle. I believe she had the time to actually experience and enjoy reading on her own terms. She is now diving into a different series. When my husband woke up early this morning, he found her curled up on the sofa, already enthralled in new chapters. Her younger brother isn't there yet. But, like me he enjoys reading for the sake of learning a subject he is interested in. He will read facts about dinosaurs, sharks, the ocean, and pirates all day long. He just doesn't know he's reading. ;)

I guess my philosophy is patience. When it comes to academics and reading in particular, it seems pushing too hard only brings about the opposite results. I do assign my children a chapter of reading every morning. The kids who love to read, go on to read throughout the day. The ones who don't enjoy reading, engage in other tasks they find fufilling. Personally speaking, as a creative person, I much prefer painting, working in clay, photography, and even writing, more fun and fulfilling than reading. I have never had a quiet mind, and it often takes over when I'm trying to read. When I'm working with my hands, my imagination is too busy becoming something in my hands for me to think about it much.

In no way am I condeming assigned reading or summer reading lists. Much like my assigning a chapter a day in hopes that it will spark or enkindle that love of reading, I hope these tactics do as well. But I remember when my son was in public school and his teacher forbade any of them to purchase a book from the school book fair that was based on a television show. That included anything superhero related, educational show related, etc. WHAT?????? My son loved super heroes. Reading? Not so much. I had two feelings about this.... First: It's MY MONEY.  I'll spend it on any damn book I want, or I won't spend it at your book fair at all.  And second: Shouldn't we be nurturing their love of reading by allowing them to choose a book on a subject they love?  Fortunately for my son, I was chaperoning that day. I bought the superhero book for him. 

How many of us grow to love something because it was forced upon us?  I mean.... think brussel sprouts. How many adults STILL hate them because they were forced to eat them as children? Do they really hate them? Or do they just refuse to try them again in protest?  Many of us have learned to love vegetables we wouldn't eat as children. But it's not because it was forced on us as a child. It's because we tried it again as an adult with a new mindset. Aha.... Here's the balance. Any good parent still requires their child to try new foods.  We want to expose our children to the things we believe are good and healthy for their minds, bodies, and spirits. But there is a huge difference between trying a new vegetable and being force fed a pile of beets. One instills an open mind and sense of adventure. One reinforces a disdain for the food, a negative mindset, and a power struggle which nobody ultimately wins.

Reading and beets can have a lot in common.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Another Test and Graduation!

Yay! Another belt cycle test and graduation! All four passed. One step closer to the little guy testing for 1st Degree in December and the older three testing for 2nd Degree next June!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

"Social" time! (AKA Life!)

Another one for the "but what about socialization?" file.  It never ceases to amaze me. Even people who know our children fairly well continue to ask this question. I just look at them with a bewildered expression. Seriously? Our children are in martial arts classes two to six days a week, with other children and adults they have trained with for almost seven years. That's longer than the timespan of elementary school. These are people they have bonded with, laugh with, encourage, console, fight and reconcile with, work with, play with, and grow with. I would have to say that three of these four homeschooled children have closer friends than my two older children who attended k-12 in traditional public school. Our one child who struggles a bit with that type of friendship is still doing better than he did while bullied in public school.

As I've shared before, the kids have friends from martial arts, from our church group, from their previous years in public school, and our neighborhoods. Why is it some people can't get their heads around the fact that the traditional classroom is not the only source pool for friends?  My daughter's best friend ended up leaving public school to attend a private school. Guess what? That didn't end their friendship because we know friendship transcends buildings, genders, ages, races, religions, paygrades, etc.

The above photo is the three teenagers with close friends from martial arts. Yes, like school, these relationships have spilled over into our every day lives, and we enjoy many hours of frolic and friendship off of the mats.  Why is it so hard  to understand that not everyone's puzzle pieces are the same shape, yet each of ours fits together they way they are supposed to and the finished picture is equally beautiful, regardless of the differences?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Another Career Off to a Good Start!

(Rebekah with Chief Instructor, Mrs. Force)

I've shared before, and it remains truer than ever, that one of the greatest reasons to homeschool is so that our children can pursue their dreams while they're learning. Although this is not impossible to do at the same time one attends traditional school, it certainly is more of a challenge, and I cannot imagine doing so at the same level. Rebekah has been training in depth since she was 11 years old to become a martial arts instructor. She works at the studio 6 days a week, including teaching classes, and assisting in the after school program. She worked as an intern at summer camp during the day, and as an assistant instructor in the evening. As soon as she turned 14, she was offered a paid position as a Junior Instructor. This is something she has wanted since she was 7 years old. She has worked so hard. And we are so thrilled for her.

Not only is she working in the field she plans to build her career in, but she is continuing her Mastery Legacy training, which will serve her, and her community well in any work she chooses in her future. Next stop, program director... then on to chief instructor! But first... we begin high school! What a year.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Yes I Can Attitude!!!

This is the look of a 9 year old who just broke a black board for the first time! Perseverence and practice paid off. He was so happy. YES I CAN!!!!