Friday, September 25, 2009

Trust






This is my child who didn't learn how to read until he was 11 1/2 years old. There were a few people that were ultra-concerned. I wasn't concerned at all. I read to him lots, he was exposed to many different, wonderful experiences, he looked at books, and he went about living his life. I knew he would learn to read on his own time and in his own way and I was grateful that we didn't have him in public school where he would be put in special classes and ostracized by his peers. He wasn't stupid, far from it! Phonics was always a mystery to him; the rules always changed and that frustrated him to no end! That's just not the way he learned. And he certainly didn't learn by sitting at a desk. I don't think I've ever read him a book and had him sit still. When he was quite young he would be doing flips off the couch, cartwheels around the living room, or flipping something around in his hand and I would ask, "Tristan are you listening? Or do you want me to stop reading?" He would usually say, "I'm listening! ______ and _______ just happened." I was always amazed that he was hearing anything I said.
So you want to know how he learned how to read? Video games! Hours and hours of video games. I would sit for hours and hours with him, reading the captions at the bottom of the screen. And when I got tired of sitting and reading to him, Martin and Kevin would take their turns. No one got mad at him and told him that he should really learn how to read, they just patiently read to him knowing too that he would learn on his own time and in his own way.
Then one day, it seemed he just woke up and he knew how to read. He reads books now that are considered at "his level", whatever that means. You could have him read you a book and then have another 14 year old read that same book, that maybe learned how to read at 6 years of age, and you would never know which one learned how to read at 6 and which one learned how to read at 11 1/2.
NOW you will most likely find him as you do in the above pictures, with his nose in a book. I often think how much he would like to read if someone had tried to force him to read before he was ready. I know my husband was a late reader too, and in public school by the way, and he really wasn't much of a reader until his adult life. Thankfully, I had his mom to reassure me that Tristan would read on his own time, just as Martin had. Not that I needed that reassurance but it's nice.
Tristan bought the Eragon Trilogy with his OWN money and hasn't stopped reading since. I believe he just finished the second book.
TRUST! If we could only trust our children and not treat them like they are vessels that need filling. All they need is for us to be there, available to find them the resources and materials when they get a spark of interest in something and honoring them enough to know that they will learn what they need, when they need it, in their own way and in their own time.

10 comments:

boysmomma said...

Oh, I thought he must be reading the Eragon trilogy! We loved those and moving to MT (what his landscapes are based on)gave us a new visual for the stories we had read over and over. They'll suck you right in! It's so awesome that he reads just becaue he loves it and that nothing interfered with that joy :)

Netzi said...

I'm happy to read a fresh take on children learning to read. What they need most are love and trust. If not, many pleasures will be missed out. It's upsetting to witness parents worrying over their children being "ahead" or "behind" the pack. I know they care for what is best for kids, so why do they ignore innovative ideas? Fear is too much for them. I feel their pain but destest the cowardice. They coerce their fears onto others.

Prism said...

I found your blog from SwissArmyWife. I am unschooling my precious ones, and enjoy reading about others. My mom, who homeschooled her 8 children loved the quote "true education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire". I hate to see how boys especially are taught that they are "stupid" because they don't learn on someone else's timeline. Wise moms know better.

Ren said...

Jared and Tristan's learning-to-read journeys are similar in so many ways.
I'll never forget when I was on a local talk show in Pensacola discussing homeschooling and in describing my just-emerging reader at age 11, the HOST of the show said "I am totally appalled". Jeebus. I have a confident child who never saw himself as "less-then" because he read at 12. Show me a confident schooled kid that doesn't learn to read until 12, they just don't exist...I guarantee they'll be broken, lacking confidence and convinced they're "dumb" by that time. I've watched it happen all too often. Some can recover. Some never do. Natural learning avoids all that BS....thank goodness!

Heather's Moving Castle said...

Very cool! I love these stories as well! I have two boys who will love to read one day too and in their own time. ~Heather

Rana said...

This is a great post. I have twins boy and girl six years old. We are unschooling and my daughter is just starting to make it click with reading. My son is watching his sister and is getting frustrated because he wants to read, but it is slow going for him. I try to tell him you will get it in your own time. I just keep reading to both of them. I think my boy is going to learn through video games too. He loves to play and I have to read a lot of it to him. I already know it will click for him when he is ready, but until that time we are just having fun reading our favorite stories and playing on the computer and Xbox.

Brandi said...

I love things like this!! I always get so annoyed when people freak out cuz their kid isn't do what they should be doing according to "grade level". There is no such thing as that in our house either and it's such a wonderful way to live.

lifeonplanetearth said...

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I always love to read about different ways people come to learn and love reading.

sj said...

lovely.

tabitha said...

I am reading this long after the fact but what a great entry for me to read. I have younger kids, and the many ways in which they are so different from on another (and from me) are just blossoming. it is hard to let go of expectations and just let everyone be their own self.