When kids love to learn, teaching is easy. That phrase is so easy for me to type. I've typed it a hundred times in the last few months, yet for many parents, the idea is so elusive. They just can't seem to convince themselves to let go and watch their kids grow.
The truth is that letting go and watching them grow is the most rewarding thing a parent can do when it comes to teaching kids at home. I'll admit that it took time for us as parents to adopt this philosophy. Annette was much quicker to embrace it than I was, but looking back, it was the best thing we could do for our kids.
Let me illustrate. Our eight year old daughter has blossomed as a reader over the last year, yet she still enjoys listening to me read aloud to her as well. Even though she is perfectly capable of reading chapter books on her own, she still comes to me every night and asks me to read to her. Lately she has been bringing me a series of biographies called Who Was...
So far we have read about Eleanor Roosevelt and Louis Armstrong. Those who know me would probably associate me more with country music than with jazz, but secretly, I enjoy a little jazz. I also enjoy learning about history. Because of this, I have enjoyed reading both of these books with my daughter. The truth is that I read to her at night because I want to learn about the people. These biographies fascinate me. What might look like an eight year old loving to learn is actually her father enjoying the process just as much, although not without putting in some hard work first.
About this time last year, I was reading her a series of books about fairies. I struggled through one chapter a night, dreading the next night when I had to read more fairy books. Now that we're reading fascinating biographies, I read four or five chapters a night and only stop because she needs to go to bed. We would both go on longer if time permitted.
The lesson here is this. I read what I hated so she would develop a love a learning. I read to her what seemed like a hundred fairy books because she enjoyed them. Parents often think that reading books like the fairy books has no value, but that mentality only serves to kill the love of learning. Allowing my daughter to read what most would consider to be stupid books, led her to a place of true learning and discussion. It led to us making pancakes on a Saturday morning with Louis Armstrong playing in the background.