Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that my daughter Audrey is 3 years old. She’s nearly 3½. Still, she’s very young. But, tell that to her.
For the record, I didn’t school any of my three boys until they were five. Yes, we did lots of picture books, and I made sure they learned things like colors and shapes during preschool years, but nothing “official.” I don’t feel like it’s right to make kids do school too early; they get their best learning from play at that age, in my opinion, and in the opinion of pretty much every educational expert, except the ones selling preschool curriculum. 😉
However. I’ve had to modify my stance on early schooling somewhat. Audrey WANTS to do school. No, she doesn’t want to sit down for 3-4 hours with everyone else; she doesn’t have that attention span nor the maturity. But, she wants to be involved. This is a challenge, and frankly, I don’t often let her sit with the boys when we’re reading/doing school stuff, because 90% of her motivation is just to socialize, and while that isn’t bad, certainly, it does become a major distraction to both them and me. So, instead, I make sure her morning is interspersed with interaction from me that pretty much comprises “school.” Sometimes we read, sometimes she does Play-Doh or the like. But, the cry of her heart is to do the “sounds book,” a.k.a. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.
A few months ago, she asked me to teach her to read. I didn’t really take her seriously; I thought she was just asking for it because she wanted to be involved in “school.” So, I whipped out my trusty, well-used copy of “EZ Lessons” and decided I would walk her very slowly through a few lessons this year.
She has now completed lesson #23. She’d probably be half-done with the book, if I would let her. Whenever we complete a lesson, she always asks for another. She’s already figured out that the book introduces a new sound every other lesson, and if she’s to learn a new sound, she needs to either wait until tomorrow, or do two lessons. I make her wait. She’s not pleased. She’s learning very eagerly, very willingly.
She doesn’t do it perfectly; oddly enough, she will occasionally read words backwards. I remarked to Ethan (my 12yo) that it was ironic that a little 3yo girl who has trouble discerning the difference between “beginning, middle, and end” can read words like “that, mat, seed,” and so on. But other than that, she really grasps the idea that sounds make words, and she delights in finding “her” sounds everywhere we go.
I started this post to relate something she did a couple of nights ago.
I made breakfast for dinner, which is pretty much everyone’s favorite, maybe because it doesn’t usually involve vegetables. Eggs, bacon, and cornbread. Everyone loves cornbread around here. I don’t know what I was thinking, though; I put my double batch into the single-batch pan, so the resulting cornbread squares were TOWERING, just really puffy and tall. So, maybe my husband shouldn’t have been so surprised that my 8yo, Wesley, didn’t want a second piece. Still, full or not, I don’t think Wesley has ever turned down a second slice of cornbread.
Martin remarked, expressing his disbelief, “The world has come to an end!”
All of us laughed, except Audrey. She stood up on her chair, and with 1/3 drama, 1/3 serious concern, and 1/3 silliness, and very wide eyes, shook her head and hollered LOUDLY, “NNNNOOOOOOO!!!! NOT TONIGHT!!” Then, just a tad more quietly, she explained, “I haven’t finished my breakfast for lunch yet.” (It was dinner, but who’s quibbling? We were all laughing too hard.) And, then, with a little bit of tender seriousness, she also explained to Daddy, “And I need to give you a hug and a kiss before the world ends.” She hopped out of her chair, in order to give my husband his last hug and kiss in the world.
Martin gently told her, “The world isn’t really going to end.” Audrey perked up at the apparent magical power of her hug and kiss, “You mean my hug and kiss made it stop??”
We were DYING with laughter. Audrey had made it back to her chair, and asked me, “Did I say something funny? What did I say? What did I say?”
I thought the whole thing was both touching and hilarious, and it gave me a lot of food for thought. Her priorities:
- Finish my scrumptious dinner
- Kiss my Dad
Other than that, not only did she seem relatively worry-free about the world ending, she seemed to really grasp what that might mean.
I don’t quite know how to end this post… I know every mom blogger out there thinks her children are amazing, and really, that’s how it should be. But mine really are. 😉