Wednesday, July 27, 2011

not like the other . . . yet again

Moments ago, The Boy put his book down and asked if his bath was ready.  He apparently didn't actually make it to the bath.  I can hear him playing with Big Brother.

I'm going to step away for a moment and remind him of his cooling bath water and will take up right there when I get back.

And I return, several hours later, having washed hair, allowed computer time, and texted Big Brother.  I thought he was in his room, and I wanted to tell him his brother was out of the bath and that he needed to get into the shower.  He was already in the bathroom though occupied in other pursuits at the time.

And all of that is finally done, they are in bed, yet I can still hear them talking.  I'm not even a little worried, but we do need to start soon getting ourselves back to school hours.

I mentioned earlier that The Boy's bath was ready, and I came back into the living room and told him so.  He was sprawled on the sofa reading an Akiko book.

Big Brother is a somewhat self taught devourer of books and words.  He's been reading since he was four and with little prodding on the part of me or Momma.  We have always been available and willing, but we've always tried, in that true unschooling spirit, to not help when it wasn't wanted or helpful.

With The Boy we wanted to be the same, but like so many kids he just wasn't into it in the same way.  He really didn't want help unless he did and then only on his sometimes (always) strict and difficult to understand terms, so all the lessons we thought we'd learned with his brother were of no use.  We remained available and willing, but he always seemed as if he knew he could put it off and that we'd continue to help him.

With the boys' transition last winter from unschool to public school, lots of things changed, and one of those changes was that The Boy, so far a slightly interested, beginning reader was having to read and to learn to read very suddenly.  And he took to it like a pirate to booty.  He brought the books home that he'd worked on at school, and he sat and worked on them and read them to us.

He still sometimes would prefer to have some reading done for him, but he's been doing it for himself as well.  He attempted to read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea recently and didn't get very far.  I'd playfully suggested it one day, knowing that he'd likely enjoy the story but that the language would likely be a bit much for him.  He did ask me to read the first chapter for him.

He also spent some time reading the Frog and Toad books recently, but I don't know that he ever really read them.  They went from one house to the other a couple of times, but each time they seemed to sit in the same place until they traveled again.

I've suggested he read any number of books over the past few weeks.  I don't want him to have to relearn anything as he enters school again, but as importantly I want him to realize joy in reading.  Mostly I suggest books when the code words "I'm bored" actually mean, "it sure would be nice to play some video games."

Also, he does love a good story.  His bed time reading is The Silver Chair at my house, and at Momma's house they're reading Farmer Boy.  The Silver Chair is one of the Narnia books, while Farmer Boy is Almonzo Wilder's childhood before he goes west and meets Laura Ingalls.

And tonight, even though it was bath time, and even though I worried I'd have a cold bath to rewarm, I let him read.  It took him a while to read through the first chapter, but he did, and maybe he'll remember tomorrow that Akiko has just set out on an adventure, and maybe he'll be interested enough to continue the story.

I don't care if he becomes the reader his brother is, but I want him to read.  It really is the best thing since whatever was before sliced bread.  But then I'd argue that sliced bread isn't that great an invention, but that just opens the door for all sorts of nonsense about expediency versus quality along with the increasing pace of our lives.  And I'm just not doing that one right now.

My point is that he sat (sprawled, knees and elbows everywhere) and read the kind of book you need a bookmark for.  I'll rewarm a bath for that.

p.s. I hate using the phrase "worked on" along with the word "reading," but it really is apt.  It just makes it sound so . . . and has connotations of all the evil gschool stuff one might have heard me preach not so long ago.

No comments: