Adventures With the Written Word

l have to say it, I much prefer when Emily initiates a quest for knowledge or practices learning spontaneously. I despise pushing her into ‘learning activities’. I dream of the natural flow of learning and knowledge just going along through life, like a lazy river tumbling slowly but steadily along.

This longing made the other day’s experience especially sweet…

Each morning Dave kisses Emily goodbye, gives her a hug, and most mornings she wakens with this and goes to the window to watch him leave and wave goodbye. The mornings when she wakes up after he has left are…difficult. She is still struggling with the concept that Daddy has to go to work each day and that it is because he loves us and cares for us that he does this.

As a side effect of this, I have tried to help turn her energy to more positive thoughts – she can miss Daddy all she likes, but while he is gone, we stay busy, and so each morning I tell her about the day we have ahead of us. The other day was a full one.

“Emily we have a big day ahead of us. We need to go to the college bookstore and return Daddy’s math book, the library, the bank, the post office, back home for lunch, then a cleaning, and then the grocery store on our way back home.”

She made me repeat it. Which I did, several times.

On the way to Lee’s Summit to drop off Dave’s math book, she asked for some paper. I handed her a little notebook and a pen and she announced that we needed to make a list. I wish I had given her a larger piece of paper, because the ‘list’ ended up on several pieces of paper.

As well as on multiple lines!

I was driving, so this was an opportunity for me to partly dictate, and partly help Emily sound out the spellings to the words. As you can see, post office was spelled with an ‘s’ – but that was only because she was rushing and wrote it before I could remind her that ‘c’ and ‘s’ made the same sounds.

The clerks in the post office were impressed by her little note as well.

She is still learning to start on the left, at the top, and give herself plenty of room to write. And she is also still struggling with writing her ‘R’ and occasionally struggles with ‘Y’.

It is just this kind of spontaneous learning that I want to continue to encourage.

I’ll admit, it isn’t easy for me. I’m a Type A, driven, five balls in the air all at once, kind of gal. And in sails Emily, with what often seems like the most awful timing, asking to write a letter to Santa while I’m prepping for a class, asking questions when all I want is for her to get her coat and shoes on, and endless more examples.

In other words, I’m usually the one who is standing in the way of that spontaneous learning I love so much.

Homeschool is reminding me daily that my priorities are not the be all end all. That helping my daughter write a letter to Santa Claus, or sitting down and reading a book in the middle of a client’s house that I am cleaning, or turning away from writing this blog on the computer…all of the things I have found important and essential fall away in the face of re-defining what is important in my life…Emily.

I don’t always pull it off and focus on her like I did on this day. Sometimes I’m too lost in my own thoughts and priorities. Sometimes I just plain suck as a mom and educator. But moments like the one above, they keep me going and hoping that I can help make more of them in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

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