Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Coolest Thing Ever when you're standing in the kitchen late at night cutting up strawberries, because you and the kids picked about a million pounds of them and you need to get them in the freezer. Your kids are waiting patiently for you to finish so you can sit together and read a chapter book, your nightly ritual. This month it's a re-read of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, before the movie comes out. They decide to take turns reading it out loud to you while you work.

It's one of those moments when you realize everything has clicked. I mean, I knew my kids were both avid readers because, well, they read all the time! But they rarely read out loud, especially this kind of book. M. will read all kinds of non-fiction to me (his latest is a Mythbusters book from the library Don't Try This At Home that he finds fascinating), especially over the breakfast table, and Miss. A. will read me little picture books about cute fuzzy things until the cows come home. But to hear each of them reading aloud from Harry Potter was just really something. They've both done it - made that transition from halting sounder-outer to easy reader to picture books to this! I know it's been said in so many ways on so many websites and lists and unschooling blogs, but it's wonderful to watch reading happen organically and naturally and beautifully.

I had the privilege of talking with a couple of twin toddlers yesterday. At almost two, they were in those beginning phases of language where one must purse up the lips and screw up the face with concentration to form the word "ball". The excitement when I understood and said "yes, I see your ball!" was wonderful to see. It reminded me that it's really all the same. We can make learning so difficult. We can wrap it up in packages of educationalese, we can quantify it and try to measure it, define it and parcel it out into subjects and time slots. But it's really no different. It's all about trying, failing, succeeding, and trying some more. With love and encouragement, learning always happens.

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