Thursday, August 16, 2012

I think I can...

I have a confession.

I love homeschooling.  It has been a wonderful, life-changing decision for our family and I would not trade this time with my children for the world.

I am teaching two Kindergartners to read this year.


And I think my head just might explode.

On one hand I have Mari who is happily reading three letter words.  She did that on her "teaching" from Mom required.  We just add new words each day and practice until she masters them.  Easy peasy.

Then I have Drew.  Drew is ALL BOY.  All boy spelled basketball, baseball, soccer, and football.  All boy with a capital "why do I need to read?" punctuated with "I can't do it cuz it's too hard."

Oh.  My.  Word.

So Drew and I have embarked on the journey called Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  The first twelve lessons were painful.  And I mean nails-on-the-chalkboard painful.  Whining and complaining and an attention span of 12.5 seconds were wearing my patience thin.

For example:

"Drew, we are going to read this word.  I want you to sound it out.  Finger on the ball...go."

"RRRRRRRR"  pause pause

"AAAAAAA"  pause pause

"MMMMMM"  He looks at my forehead with crickets chirping as his little wheels turn...


Me:  "Ok, let's try that again.  Do you see letters on my head?  You have to look at the page, honey.  Not at me.  Finger on the ball...go."

"RRRRRRRR"  pause pause

"AAAAAAA"  pause pause

"MMMMMM"  He looks at my hair.


Me:  "Honey, why are you looking for letters on my head again?"

Nails.  On.  Chalkboard.  Maybe I need a tutor.  Maybe this one is beyond my level of expertise.

But then, this week, we hit lesson 15.  And suddenly he made that leap from separating all the letters to blending them together and oh my word it is a WORD!


Bright eyes lit up with a smile and he said "See me read!"

See me read.

Those might be the sweetest words I've ever heard in our school days.  See me read.

We broke out Bob books and, suddenly, he was sounding out the words and reading the stories!

Mat sat.  Mat sat on Sam.

Hallelujah he is getting it!  Not only is he getting it...he LIKES it!  He now WANTS to read!

See me read!

I can do this.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength...and with a good cup of coffee.  Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, please.

The next two years promise to be intense as I teach my youngest two to read and write and learn.  But oh, the payoff we will have.  I may lose a few brain cells myself and I certainly will gain a few wrinkles and grays, but it will be worth it.  The day all five dive into their work and the room goes silent because their brains are engaged...that will be a sweet reward.  Watching my babes help each other along and get into what the other is doing...lining up at the microscope and taking turns looking at mom's red blood cells (because mom was the only willing victim)...reading 100 Cupboards and watching their faces turn white with anticipation as the old man in the purple robe stares Henry in the eyes...oh yes, it is worth these mind-numbing drills.  It is worth the exhaustion at the end of the day.

These days of monotonous reading lessons, of stumbling over letter sounds and frustration over whether to use the long or short "a" sound, will pass.  And, just like their first days home, I will have warm and fuzzy memories and I will forget how utterly stretched thin I was and how many cups of coffee I consumed during their early elementary years.

I had better enjoy it while it lasts.


  1. Oh I have been there! My first 2- read like champs (I did not teach them) but #3 was a whole different ball game. I took advice and didn't push him. He is a slow reader, just really started to get it last year (slowly) but I am confident that in his time he will be a strong reader. Andrew is all boy too, wonder if it is a common link??! I am surprised I have hair left after our first attempt... I personally had to take a step back and regroup!

  2. i understand your sentiments about teaching to read, but what amazing books they can open once they do. saw on fb that your eldest is reading douglas bond...alex loved those. wished we lived closer. our schooling starts next week.


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