"One morning, the people of Troy woke and saw a huge wooden horse! The wooden horse was standing outside the city gates."
And with those words, he was off and running. Yes, my son is reading. Now, this to you may not seem to be such a feat. But let me tell you, it has occupied my days and kept me awake some nights.
This year was our first year of homeschooling, and I felt as though I was up against a wall. You see, not only do I have high standards for myself, but also, being new meant I had to prove to myself that this thing called learning could happen.
My son is now in the Second Grade. The year before, my son was in First Grade. It was a rough year for him. I won't get too much into detail, at least not now. Perhaps another day I will share the entire story. But for now, know that I chose to bring him home last year rather than send him to a special education class. This was something I knew deep in my bones would not be a good fit. And it wasn't something he needed.
My son is 7. I really take issue with the way schools push kids into early academics, before they are ready. He wasn't ready to learn how to read last year. And consequently, he fell behind a bit. Add to that a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism and a very stressful year, and he hated school. Hated learning. Hated everything about it.
This is the worst thing in my mind that could happen. In this house, we are lifelong learners. I pride myself on this fact. And to me, this is the second greatest gift I could give my children (the first being a foundation of why they might believe the way they do). So how could I open his mind and heart to learning, so that he could find there was value in it? The creative teaching I have done with this child would be a completely different post, and I suppose I will have to write it soon.
In any case, because I am fearful of the consequences of not reading, we have been slogging through Alpha-Phonics this year, and we are on Lesson 28 now. It has been slow going. It is not his favorite activity, but I do insist we continue to work in the book. We also have been reading Pathway Readers the Mennonite counterpart to Dick and Jane. I had no idea they were Mennonite, I got them from a friend and my son loves them.
Today, when he sat down with Starfall and read "The Wooden Horse" I almost jumped for joy. I know, it is only reading. But for me it was a validation of everything I have been doing. I have to teach my son pretty creatively. He gets bored and needs a lot of stimulation and physical breaks. Thankfully, I can teach him at home so he can get what he needs. He would have never survived in a public school classroom. And though I knew this, to silence the voice in my head that tells me that I will never be able to teach him to read (we think he may have Dyslexia, but aren't sure) can be a difficult thing, especially when I am laying awake at 3 a.m.
But no more. My son can read! Beyond just Dick and Jane, where he has been since the beginning of the year. And now, I can finally sleep.