Some parents have asked me how I got Dale to love reading, how did we end up raising a reader? Looking back, I see that what really made the difference was sharing a love of reading that began long before thinking about teaching him to read.
I vividly remember those dreary rainy days when Dale was two months old and nursing all the time. I had so little sleep and was completely out of my element as a new, older mom. For some reason I thought my babysitting experience and being an older sister had prepared me. Hah!
Our blissful first month with Pierre at home caring for both of us was over. Pierre was just beginning a new phase as an engineer for the state department of water resources as we headed into a wet year. We transitioned from happy daddy at home to stressed daddy learning a new job and having to work way overtime. And I sat in the rocker, staring out the window at the rain, disheveled, overwhelmed, and unwashed; and nursed and nursed and nursed.
One afternoon I used a pillow to help me hold Dale at a level that was more comfortable. Ahh, that felt better, now I could move my other arm. I reached over for the nearest book, a how-to baby book, and started reading aloud from the section on Sleep. “Hah, it says here you are supposed to be sleeping 16 out of your 24 hours. Listen to this…” I continued reading aloud, stumbling over the convoluted sentences, but only got more frustrated as I read about what someone else told me my baby should be doing.
I put that book aside and reached for the next book in the stack. It was a smallish paperback, a mystery. Oh this was much easier to hold. And read. The story was funny and the writing was good. And our mutual love of sharing reading began. Continue reading
When you are trying to raise a child who loves to write, or kickstart you own writing, you want to have fun with writing. Here is a list of 25 ways to enjoy writing and remember that when it comes to the ABC’s of Learning Beyond School, W is for Write.
Are you ready to play around with writing? Try writing a few of these: Continue reading
Here is a recent question from a homeschooling mom of a 6 and 8 year old.
“ I think I have the other subjects figured out, but how do I work on writing? They really don’t like writing.”
At these ages all you really need to do is have writing be real, meaningful and FUN!!!! Think about playing with writing rather than teaching writing.
One of our favorite ways to play with writing was making clue hunts. Dale loved to find things, so we would hide a treasure and write clues, a little kind of riddle – sometimes they rhymed – that would lead to the treasure. There might only be 5 clues total, each clue leading to the next clue and the final clue leading to the hiding place. I wrote them for him, we wrote them together for friends and family, and as he got older, he could write them for me. I can’t remember if this started as a rainy day game or a way to make having just a few presents seem like more fun. We would hide the birthday cake and party favors, or the breakfast ingredients on easter morning. We used a small basket and hid all the things to go in the basket rather than having it be filled to begin with.
We loved to play with writing riddles, jokes, silly poetry, Haiku, alternate song lyrics, rhymes for inside of cards and letters, and love notes to hide in a lunch or under a pillow.
Second: Stay present.
Focus on thinking about where they are now instead of the future and whether they will ever be writers. Don’t worry about judging and measuring or comparing their writing.
BTW Dale did not like to write when he was in school, and there were times when he hated writing – which usually corresponded to me pushing it in a “you’re not doing it right” way.
Start a daily writing practice that is fun and meaningful: a gratitude journal. You can have a family journal, but there is great power in each person having their own and writing in it once a day as a daily ritual all at the same time. Continue reading
Go see it.
Host a screening and discussion.
Spread the word.
Not just to promote homeschooling, but to bring the discussion of how to make the best options for learning available to all kids to the community at large.
Options. Choice. Multiple paths.
Not one size fits all. Continue reading
Even when you choose to unschool, as a parent you will have moments when you are the teacher. Don’t worry if you don’t have a teaching credential. The critical elements that make a great teacher are often not taught in college, nor are they required to earn a teaching credential.
So, you may be asking yourself these questions:
How can I be the best teacher for my kids? As a self-directed learner, how do I become my own best teacher?
How does a great teacher spread the love of learning?
Close your eyes for a moment and remember the best teacher you ever had. Maybe it was in a Sunday school or summer camp. Think of someone who was a great teacher in your life- not necessarily a classroom teacher. It could be a coach, a music teacher, a scout leader, a professor, a parent, a neighbor, a mentor. Perhaps a friend.
Can you recapture the good feeling of that learning experience? What did you learn? How? What was it about the teacher and how they interacted with you that made it great? How did they make you feel? Jot those down. Continue reading