Reading has been on my mind a lot lately. I would venture to guess it is on the minds of lots of homeschoolers.
I am an avid reader. It's the one thing I pretty much always make time for. It's a rare evening when I don't end the day reading a chapter or three before heading to bed. Some people love to watch a TV show, surf the net or play on Facebook to unwind...not me. I read to unwind at the end of the day. I pretty much always have. I can remember snuggling up in bed with a book when I was a teenager and it's a habit that I have kept up. I have heard umpteen people tell me that they also love to read but just can't find the time. Trust me, if you really enjoy something then you will make time for it. I make time for reading. I suppose that I could fold laundry or do dishes after the kids go to bed but I don't want to. I spend the entire day educating my children, cooking meals for my family, taking care of our pets and tidying my house. Once my children are in bed I have an hour or so that is all mine. I choose to spend it reading.
Now, don't go praising me or anything. It's not like I am always reading something that is good for the mind or that challenges me. Yes, on occasion I do read something heavy or some classic literature. However, for the most part I opt for fiction books that will make me giggle. I am a big fan of Janet Evanovich and her Stephanie Plum series. Mainly, because I know that if I read one of those books I will giggle out loud on several occasions. I also like to read mysteries. I sort of pride myself on being able to figure out "who done it" before the author reveals the truth. I will also toss in a parenting or homeschooling book a few times a year. You see, it's not really about what I read so much as it is about the way it makes me feel...relaxed and calm.
My oldest child, Annie, attended public school for kindergarten and first grade. I began homeschooling her in second grade so I didn't have to teach her to read. The public school system did that for me and I am forever grateful! I don't know if it has to do with genetics, learned habits or pure luck but she is also an avid reader. There isn't a day that goes by that she doesn't have a book in her hand at some point during the day. Yes, she has reading that she has to do for homeschool but this is in addtion to that. The child just loves to read! If you toss the two of us into the library or a book store, I am not sure who is happier. We are like pigs in mud in either of those venues. I have often read that if you read in front of your children it will encourage them to want to read as well. Maybe that is true since Annie is a bookworm and I am pretty much always reading something every evening.
We also end our day reading as a family. About a half an hour before the girls go to bed, we gather in the living room to do devotions. Once that is finished, I begin reading out loud to the girls. Of course, Lily is a bit young but she still stays with us and either colors or draws quietly while I read. I am often astounded about how much she actually picks up while doing her own thing. For instance, we recently finished reading the second "Indian in the Cupboard" book and I would have bet my favorite pair of shoes that Lily didn't get much from that particular book. For the most part, she seemed bored while I was reading it. However, over the last week or two she has brought up random things from the book. We were at Target this weekend and I was chatting with my friend Keri about blog posts, homeschooling and other random things. Lily had to make sure that Keri knew about the skinheads that had broken into Omri's house...an event from the book. I was actually kind of surprised that she remembered anything from the book. Of course, taken out of context it was a bit embarrassing to hear my four year old talking about skinheads in the middle of Target (Sorry Keri). :) However, I suppose that just goes to show that even at three she is getting something out of listening to me read each evening. We are currently reading Sherlock Holmes and so far it seems to be a winner. Everyone is fairly interested in his adventures and we are all trying to guess the outcome of each case before it is revealed to us.
So, I have blabbed on about how much Annie and I like to read and how much reading is a part of our lives. You might assume that Megan, my seven year old, is a book lover as well. You would be wrong on this. You see, Megan doesn't like to read. In fact, she would rather clean her room or fold her laundry than read a book. She does ok when she has to listen to me reading to her, but she is not nearly as enthraled with it as Annie is. Megan has never attended public school, so I have been her one and only teacher. I often wonder if her disinterest in reading has to do with how I have done as a teacher. I can honestly say that teaching her to read has been one of the least favorite things I have ever done. It has been an uphill battle the entire way. It has taken us almost three years to get to the point where she doesn't cry and throw a fit when it's time to work on reading. We have tried numerous programs and approaches to make it more fun and none of them have worked like magic. Sometimes I think that it is just how she is. She is an outdoors type of girl and really enjoys the science portion of our day. So, maybe it's just how she is wired? Regardless, the child needs to read so I have not given in when it comes to her tantrums about reading. We press on each and every day and I pray about it each and every night.
I wrote before how Lily will be attending a private school for kindergarten next year. Mainly, it's because I don't want to teach her how to read. It's been such an awful part of homeschooling Megan that I am terrified of having to go through it again. In fact, I am pretty sure I will send Lily, Noah and Claire to a private/public school until they learn to read. I am more than willing to pay someone else to take on this awful task.
So, now my deep dark secret is out there. I am a book loving reading fanatic that hates teaching my child to read.