I just love watching our children learn. That moment, the moment when he or she “gets it”, is priceless.
Like recognising a letter sound on a billboard for the first time.
Or blending a word he’s never seen before, all on his own.
I remember the time we were wandering around the Aquaria and Lamb pulled at my arm and said, “Look! That’s a spider crab!”
And so it was!
He read the sign, high above our heads.
That was on 25 March 2013, a few months before he turned 5. He was jumping up and down with his independent discovery and I was as thrilled as he was.
That was about 2 weeks before I found out I was pregnant with Roo, before all-day morning sickness kicked in.
With unrelenting nausea day and night for 5 months and the aches and sleep difficulties of the third trimester, learning together at our usual pace became a struggle. We straggled on with Jolly Grammar and other aspects of homeschool for the greater part, but there were many days we – mostly I – pushed grammar aside and just tried to get by. In the months toward the end of pregnancy, I often hung up the teacher’s hat, lay down on the couch and simply did lots of read-alouds. I couldn’t manage more.
At the time, Lamb was already reading the advanced levels of Peter and Jane with little or no help from me but I felt a tinge of guilt on most days and more on crabbier days. He wasn’t getting any other schooling and here we were, just reading lots of stories and playing games at home for almost 3 months.
I really shouldn’t have worried.
After Roo arrived in early December, we had a complete break from school for a few weeks and although we started again by fits and starts in the first week of January, Lamb had consistently been looking very intently at books here and there on his own every day while Puppy immersed herself in Little House books, The Famous Five and re-read her favourite books in Sonlight Cores A and B.
I finally figured he was getting onto something serious when the whole family accompanied me to the doctor at 8 weeks post-partum to check on some unusual bleeding. There was a cartoon showing on the TV in the waiting area, but Lamb gave barely a look before heading for a children’s book he saw on the reading rack and proceeded to read through it.
“Is he reading the words or just the pictures?” I wondered.
The answer came shortly after when he picked up one of Puppy’s favourite Enid Blyton books and swung into full-on independent reading mode.
He’d curl up in a corner any chance he had.
On our bed.
At the meal table, until I asked him to put the book away. Even then, he tucked it behind the magazine rack, right next to himself.
He’d come up to me and tell me how much he enjoyed a particular story he had finished reading, what he found funny about it, how naughty the characters were and the conversations they had.
I knew, then, that he had clinched it.
Today, it was all about how “rude” Georgina of The Famous Five was, how shocking it was that she was a girl but wanted to be a boy.
Surrounded by avid readers, Piglet’s been reading a lot more too.
Here they are.
Lamb’s actually reading every word (asking me about words he can’t figure out on his own) and Piglet – well, the sight of Piglet reading the New Living Translation of the Bible (not really) just cracks me up!
In our conversations these days, Lamb is beginning to use words he finds in books. “Swooped”. “Glanced”.
Watching my boy “get it”, cracking the reading code and enjoying books all on his own, is like the exhilarating moment you take trainer wheels off a bicycle and let the kid go.
He’s going, he is. And like Puppy before him, I know there’ll be no stopping.
Keep going, Lamb. A whole world awaits you!
Puppy: 6.10yo; Lamb: 5.7yo; Piglet: 3.1yo; Roo: 2mo.