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Three Dave's No Waiting

Friday, October 16, 2009

What happened in school today

Charlie Reads, Emma Writes, Lucy Abstains.

Teaching is not all about breakthroughs. Some days are just ordinary days where, if you measure progress with graphs and charts, nothing changes. I have many days like that.

In many ways, today started like that. Charlie and Emma worked on their Bible, Math, and Art with the same strengths and weaknesses they exhibited yesterday.

Then Lucy bought me a pile of books she wanted me to read to her and I got an idea. I called Charlie to join Lucy and me at the couch. He thought that I was just inviting him to listen to the stories, which I often do. But I had other plans.

Charlie is not reading to his second grade level. One could almost say he didn't read at all. In fact, early this summer we were afraid if he didn't start reading soon, at some point we would need to enroll him in public school for special education. This summer we engaged a teacher friend of Amy's to tutor Charlie twice a week.

At first it seemed like he wasn't gaining any ground. By the end of the summer we could see him making a steady progress. Once the school year began, he seemed to reach a wall and the progress ended. About 2 weeks into the school year, I tried a new approach and he began reading better every day. It was so exciting to see him progress. Last week with some help from a very kind librarian I found a website that suggested books based on your child's reading level. I checked out some of those books and Charlie has been reading to me from them this week.

The bunch of books Lucy gave me included a title that was a favorite of Charlie's at Lucy's age: Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman. I asked Charlie to read it to her. He did awesome! Now, Go Dog Go is not hardest of books to read, but for a kids' book it is rather long:64 pages. He just barrelled right through it. Now as part of our Friday schedule Charlie is going to read to Lucy. I am so proud of him!

My daughter Emma, is a reading machine. She read two of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books in less than 1 week. She is always reading. Writing is a different story. She is taking a Chronicles of Narnia class I am teaching at our home school co-op. The assignment this week was to write a 5 paragraph essay on the Magician's Nephew. She finished it yesterday and typed it up today. It is the story of the Magician's Nephew from the perspective of Polly, a young girl from late 19th century England. It is not the best paper in the world and it is certainly not the breakthrough that Charlie is having, but it may well be an early step on a path to a breakthrough that is yet to come.

Before I share that story with you, let me tell you about my youngest's achievements. She went a whole day without drawing on the walls. This is an achievement in itself. She loves drawing and is prolific in how much much art work she can put out in one day. The problem is the world is literally her canvas. She draws on paper, sure. But she also draws on tables, walls, computer screens, floors, books and herself. I fear for our bunny. We hide all the markers and crayons and yet she finds them. I have included a picture of the masterpiece Lucy colored on her wall last week and another of her washing off said masterpiece. Last Saturday she lost all coloring privileges (among other things) for a week. This week, since coloring seems to be her love language, I have eased the coloring restrictions to crayons only as long as she was supervised. Today, she did get a hold of a marker, but chose to use it on paper rather than on her usual victims.

So that is how my day went reading, writing, and no vandalism. Before you head back to Six Word Saturday at Show My Face Dot Com or just go on with your day, I invite you to enjoy my Daughters Essay:

Polly's Adventures

By Emma Roller

My name is Polly. My friend, Digory and I had many adventures together. These are some of them: We got into other worlds. We found the witch. We found Narnia and had adventures inside.

One day, Digory and I were in the rafters when we found a door. We walked into the room and the big chair moved. Digory’s uncle stepped out and he offered me a yellow ring. I vanished when I touched it. Digory came after me. Then, we realized we could get into other worlds.

We found ourselves in a ruin of sorts that I did not like. In another room, we saw lots of people. Digory liked this lady so much, that he called her a queen! I called her a witch. She was a witch and a queen!

Later we found ourselves in a empty world. Then a singing began that seemed to create the world. We liked the song until we knew the singer was a lion named Aslan. After he made the animals, he sent us to get a special apple. When we came back, he took us home.

That is my story. We got into other worlds. We met a witch. We found Narnia. I learned a lesson: Do not take yellow rings from old men! The End.
Today's post is part of a special 200th anniversary of the Carnival of Homeschooling hosted at Consent of the Governed.

Next Time: In Praise of Out Walking.


  1. Wonderful story! I do a what character am I game for my storytelling workshop that has a similar feel--tell the story from one of the other character's perspective.

    I have to ask, what order do you prefer Narnia? I like the traditional order over the chronological order, but that could be because that was the order I first read them in.

    I am very familiar with tiny vandals! I wrote a poem about it for my youngest because she was such a scribbler! I finally used chalkboard paint on one door and gave her lots of chalk. That helped. Helped, not to be confused with solved the problem. ;o)

    Peace and Laughter,

  2. So all three are learning something

  3. Progress cannot always be recognised or charted but is happening nonetheless. Learning is not linear but has plateaux (and sometimes troughs)
    . . . and patience is a virtue!! ;-)

  4. I enjoyed your post--and Go Dogs Go is one of my all-time favorite books!

  5. Thanks for the glimpse inside of your homeschool co-op. I love hearing about the creative things that homeschool parents do and teach! It sounds as if you have a great time and the kids love it! I hope your co-op continues to be a blessing to your family and other homeschool families.

    Carol Topp, CPA
    Author of Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out

  6. Lucy abstaining - that is a good thing! I get a kick out of how much she enjoys drawing. I was like that when I was her age, too (but only on paper :D

  7. Ah, your kids sound a lot like mine, with the exception that my fourth grader is a reluctant writer. We are working on that this year, though, and how to write with complete thought and detail. Your daughter is doing very well with writing! My middle one actually started to read a couple years ago and forgot. Ever heard of that? After doing some activities like cup stacking (look it up, it's interesting and fun) she is reading again and actually at her first-grade level. Something about 3-year olds in the mix does add some color to life (and walls, doesn't it? We, too, have had to hide markers, crayons, pens, pencils, chalk...

    Thanks for the glimpse into your homeschool.

  8. I am also afraid for your bunny! But so cute. And so awesome for your son to work on his reading in that way!

    Thanks for playing 6WS!

  9. Dave, speaking of writing on walls, my daughter at a young age drew things that looked as if they were drawn by a person who was mentally disturbed. She wasn't, of course. Better to let her draw. Discretion comes with age (usually), though most rock stars would violate this maxim. I enjoyed the story too. I always wanted an adventure through that wardrobe too. BTW, I am becoming your avid reader --- gladly.


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