Emergent reader…that’s what Youngest has recently become. What a joy it’s been to see the unfolding! One of the true joys of homeschooling is seeing your child really “get it” for the first time, and seeing their delight at the accomplishment.
We’ve used the book “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” for each of our childrens‘ early reading instruction, and out of the three Youngest has had the longest struggle with learning. She is just so busy that although she was able to understand and remember what she learned, she just couldn’t seem to sit still for the time required to do the lessons…so we’ve taken a good deal longer with her than we did with her siblings. However, what she lacked in speed she is now making for in enthusiasm!
One of the things I’ve loved about this process is watching the joy on her face as she realizes that her ability to read exists beyond the confines of the big yellow lesson book. I see her light up as she reads familiar signs on the sides of buildings all by herself, as she sounds out the names on people’s name tags at church functions, or the words on somebody’s shirt. She brings me early-reader books and begs to sit down with me to read, then she reads determinedly and painstakingly thirty, even forty pages of silly rhyming prose. The child who couldn’t sit still for five minutes now happily sits for half an hour and more, reading with enthusiastic glee! What a blessing to be the one who gets to see that, to be able to give her free reign to read and read and read to her heart’s desire.
Enthusiasm: That’s the word for this week. Youngest was happily chanting the word over and over all afternoon for some reason, and at dinner she proudly asked Hubby if he knew what it meant. He started to answer but she stopped him. “No, wait!” she said. “I wanted to tell you what it means. It means: Excited!”
Indeed. I realize that right now I’m lacking in that department. Enthusasim…joy…desire to live and learn fueling the drive to do more. We’ve hit a rut in homeschooling, where learning for the older two children has become a chore and a routine rather than a joy. I’m in the process of changing some of the things we’ve been doing to make things more fun, to bring more joy back to the learning process. We’re switching to a much more hands-on approach, which I think will be good.
It’s amazing how quiet and incremental the loss of enthusiasm can be…whether it’s a loss of the joy of learning, or of faith, or of relationships. Sometimes you don’t really notice your lack of enthusiasm until you see the abundance of it in another’s life! It makes me want to slow down, to take notice, to appreciate…even revel in!…the fact that I get to do this. I get to teach my kids each day, because I’m blessed with three wonderful little lives in my care. I get to clean my house, the home we’ve made and have been blessed with. I get to prepare meals each day, because we’re blessed with enough to eat. I get to read my Bible and go to Bible study with good friends, because I’m blessed with living in a country where I’m allowed to do that freely. I get to fall asleep in the arms of the the love of my life every night, a daily blessing many don’t have. I get to be present here and now, and be enthusiastic about that…if I just choose to be.
Joyful enthusiasm, for the things that might normally pass by unnoticed. That’s what I’m praying for today!
A help for maintaining joy and enthusiasm in daily life has been keeping a Gratitude Journal….it reminds you to appreciate the little blessings that are so abundant in life. Stop by Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience, to learn more about the Gratitude Journal and join the growing group there who are keeping a record of God’s grace in their lives!