"THEN Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:1-4

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The really important stuff first

Eventually a homeschool mom finds just the right book to light the reading fire. Boys are a little more of a challenge for me because, well, I'm not a boy. They love the books I read to them, no matter what. But finding just the thing for them to delve into solo, that's a little different.

Dan has been particularly challenging. He didn't read very well at all until he was 11 - just this past fall. It does make one worry, but there are studies, "nothing to worry about," yadda, yadda. But I KNOW if he were in *real school* there would have been tests and special ed and probably Ritalin recommendations. It's hard not to compare and just trust the process. At home, one must just breathe deeply, pray and meet the child/student's needs. In October, Dan turned 11 and he was still picking through the sounds of decoding. Dave was nine and half when he hit fluency, so I wasn't overly worried about Dan until he turned 11. Dominic, well, we aren't exactly sure how long he, at 7, has been able to read, but we think he started decoding at three, so he's a pretty good reader thanks only to his own initiative and the *magic* click that just seems to happen for natural readers.
So there we were.
Then one November day, Dan could read a sentence without sounding everything out. Then a paragraph in a chicken catalog - not exactly standard primer material. Then, suddenly, he could read - he knew he could do it, and he, along with Dad and I, breathed a sigh of relief.
But we were still looking for the Book. You know the one from your childhood that made you realize that There's A Whole Big World to Explore Page By Beautiful Page.
For me it was:

The book I remember as being the first book I read to myself and LOVED. It led to so many more : The Betsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy Books) , which I loved beyond reason until I discover the March sisters and the Five Little Peppers and the list goes on and on. (I was told that I own more books than a small elementary school library...so you get the idea)
need my kids to read and to love to read. It's part of why I homeschool - there isn't enough time in the day for good and beautiful stories and books if one is in school all day learning "twaddle."

But back to Dan, and those who know him might, say, well, duh.
His book is:
Well, of course, duh. But one cannot fall in love with this book if one is struggling to decode. This week, the child struggles no longer, he is no longer an emergent reader. He  reads. He swallowed this one whole, devouring it in 3 days. All 372 pages of the unabridged (we scorn those 'round these parts) version that I bought on a whim in Hannibal, MO. Now, Nin is required to overnight the rest of the series that is at home to us. Happily, though, Dan has his very own copy of Farmer Boy to cherish and reread.

This afternoon, I believe he will start on either Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter or Laddie: A True Blue Story same author.
I call him Freckles on this blog because he loves that book and has been trying to read it ever since...he has followed along with the Librivox recording for years. But, now, now, it's different, he can savor every word in print.

He's read four books since last weekend - three of the Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne and Farmer Boy.  Pretty impressive for my boy who could barely read 5 months ago. Congratulations, Daniel!

(in the first picture, Freckles and Padrecito, are exploring a pilot house at the Corps of Engineer Lock and Dam in Utica, IL. Following pictures, Dan caught in the act of reading in a tree)


  1. Are those books still out? THey *might* be packed away in my stuff (which is fine to ruffle through, but I couldn't tell you where they'd be) Anyway, if she can't find them then that's where they are, but I don't remember if they ever got packed up or not.

  2. What a great post! I love this! How exciting.

    Farmer Boy always makes me so hungry. Mmm, pie...


About Me

Welcome! The most important bread is the Bread of Life. I am Catholic and do my best to know, understand and live what that means that I might "know Him, love Him and serve Him." My husband, Bud, and I have been married for 24 years and we have seven children. Because of his job, we travel the country in an RV with five of them, learning as we go.