A few weeks ago Morgan and his Dad went to an archery range. I printed out MapQuest directions. When they got home, everything seemed cool and M went into his room to play. Bill took me into the dining room and, holding up the printed directions, said, “He couldn’t read this. Not even close.” He wasn’t mad but he had that wide-eyed, what-the-fuck look. I felt sick.
All my questioning and belittling of other families’ home educating techniques just kinda caved in on me. I knew that some of M’s inability to read the directions out loud was the on-the-spot pressure he felt reading to his Dad. Bill can become impatient when he’s not in control, especially not knowing where he’s going. But the fact of the matter is, M’s not a strong reader. And part of that comes from my own laziness/avoidance of tackling topics that are difficult for him.
Vocabulary, grammar, science, history, even math, we tackle with relative ease. But spelling, composition and reading are toughies. And I’d slacked off making him do daily spelling tests and I let him read his latest book, Tom Sawyer, to himself and verbally answer questions about each chapter. And he could do that, but apparently not by reading every word.
So that Monday, we started on a new chapter book, The Hardy Boys, yes those Hardy Boys, in a new modern detective adventure. As he read aloud, I found myself saying the exact things my Dad said to me forty years ago. “Read what’s there!” M was making the sounds of letters not even in the word. And he’d say secondary words that weren’t even similair to what was there. Example: Saying “the” when the word might actually be “of.” He gets the nouns/verbs, the important part that conveys the idea, but not the stringers that holds them together.
I feel so ashamed and disappointed with myself. I’ve got such a huge responsibility but have taken my eye off the real goals I’ve set for us. I think much of it comes from my personal discontent about MY life and have spent way too much time trying to justify my own existence by putting down others’. Including my harping on this blog. How does THIS help M?
I’m on a slow simmer and it’s gotta stop before there’s no water left in the pot. Better eat that crow now.