Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Can I Teach?

You know, I had this night all planned. Little work, little dinner, little cleaning, and a post about . . . poker!

But then the migraine hit. After a fitful nap after work, two Excedrin Migraine, and a random dinner of french green beans and a piece of peanut butter toast, I decided to postpone the cleaning and writing and read with my littlest guy.

He's in first grade now. We were reading a Dr. Suess book - usually, pretty good for this age. Lots of rhyme and repetition.

We've always read to the kids. Nearly every night since they were babies. The Dr. and I both love reading. When he's not here with me, a book warms my bed at night. My oldest son has taken up reading at bedtime too, and is involved in his own series of science fantasy.

So I found myself frustrated with my little guy. Getting him to sound out the words was a struggle. Words he should recognize by sight - couldn't remember. Words he'd just sounded out - back to square one. He'd get to the end of sounding it out - and couldn't remember how to put all the pieces back together. He'd twist and turn and play with things around him. He was obviously getting frustrated. Wasn't making easy connections.

He's not a dumb kid. He's a kid who will pull vocabulary words out of thin air. He's a kid who can draw elaborate pictures of things. He can remember occasions and places and events with uncanny detail and accuracy. All of the basic signs of intelligence are there. And he's learned so many other things. He's funny, and compassionate, and loving, and social, and a whole host of other characteristics I want my children to exhibit.

So why is this so hard? Is it because its the last thing we're doing tonight and he's tired? Is it something I failed to teach? We didn't force him to practice reading this summer - too much upheaval and change and disruption. Was that my failing? When will it all click? How do I make it click? How do I help him get there, when I know there is nothing to stop him?

I don't remember it being this hard with Number 1. I don't remember it being this hard for me. I want to be a good parent. But I'm starting to wonder, can I teach?

I feel like banging my head against the wall.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife


PrinceofHouston said...

I know the exact same feeling. Mine is from a 4 year old working on the number 2 and little "a".
We waited too late last night to work with him, and we will not make the same mistake today and from now on.
Get your oldest to read David Eddings' Belgariad series. He won't put it down.

SirFWALGMan said...

How old is your oldest and what is he reading? Looking to get my 10yr old interested.

Anonymous said...

I have two daughters. #1 daughter is just past 8.5 years old. #2 daughter is 4.5 years old. #1 is an extremely bright kid. She can read anything almost, although the reading bug hasn't really grabbed her. My wife made her read a ton over the Summer. I would bet she averaged 6 hours of reading a week. Like I said #1 is bright and does real well in school. Spelling tests were always a joke for her. We would get the list on Monday for the Friday test. We would have her spell the words for us right then and she basically got them all right on Mondays without studying.

#2 daughter doesn't seem as bright when it comes to letters and numbers and stuff. I am sure we haven't worked with her as much as we did with #1. Still every once in a while #2 will remember something or answer something that makes me go really you know that. My wife realized that she would answer the questions at the end of Go Diego Go wrong everytime just to be funny. She knew what she was doing.

I take the girls to the zoo all the time with a season pass. I once asked what kind of animal was on her shirt. Instead of just saying a turtle, she responded 'Leather-back Sea Turtle'.

All kids are different and learn at different paces. Actually we aren't too worried about #2 because it might be better for her to be on a slower pace than #1. See #1 has been bored in school from day one. It always has been so easy for her.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Just keep doing what you're doing. Not that you need us to tell you this, but just the description of what you do with your kids is far better than the instruction the other 99% of kids in the world get from their moms and dads, seriously.

My kids too seem to be learning at different paces and in different styles. There is just so much more time and energy and interest with the first kid, when it's just you, the Doc and your child. Once you get to 2 or 3, that changes. Not necessarily for the worse, just for the different.

Just keep at the teaching, they will all get it but in their own ways at in their own times.

pokerpeaker said...

Honestly? I'd spend more time establishing the fun of reading and less time worrying about whether he can read a word or not. I think what you're doing is more than enough. Just keep showing him the joy of books and words and it'll come.

Katitude said...

what they said. Plus, his learning style might be a little different than your teaching style. Fret'll happen. One day he'll get that lightbulb moment and that will be that :-)

Sean D said...

I never got to teach to Ryan, but Shelby would love to me to read to her.

In the beginning I would read and until later I thought when she'd read along that she knew the words.

She had just memorized the phrases when i would say the phrase before.

Each child learns at their own and special pace.

That's why it takes special teachers who have patience and haven't spent all day doing TPS reports.

:-) You are a great and loving mom!

The Sister of DrChako and Mrs. Chako said...

I never learned the way everyone else did. Couldn't make those easy, simple connections like everyone else did. Had to be taught everything differently to get to the same result. Yet was was always described as "smart" "birght" "creative". I could pull past events out of the sky with such great detail that people would always say "how the hell did she remember that?". I found out WAY to much later on that I was...da...da...da...dyslexic.