Friday, 16 July 2010

Small miracles

The other day, I had a plan of sorts, but we hadn't got much further than breakfast before it all went off course and in another, but no less valuable, direction ....

One son asked me for a game of chess, then another wanted me to finish reading the book about Leonardo Da Vinci we had started the previous day. This led on to looking for some of Leonardo's paintings and sketches on the web, the discovery of a story slideshow about his life, and a quiz to follow which the boys read and answered with avid interest. Then we found a game where the boys had to type in words which were transformed into Leonardo's mirror writing. My eldest son immediately began to enter words backwords for the fun of seeing them turned right way round.

Having talked and read some more about Leonardo's life and work, and having looked at the Mona Lisa and other portraits, my elder two sons spent yesterday morning painting, working solidly for 2 hours and producing a portrait each of their grandparents. There are details to finish off, but the work was seen through to completion by my eldest son. After a term at school in which I saw his attitude to work change for the worse, it has taken 6 months to see his old self returning, and his level of interest and commitment to his work return to normal.

We had read a lot of books where home educating parents speak about seeing their children begin to read, often later than children in school but self-motivated. And although I have trusted this instinctively, it has felt like a risk .....

Well, this week we walked into our local library to change our books, and were confronted by the summer reading challenge, which the boys completed last summer., so were familiar with. Children are encouraged to borrow and read six books through the summer holidays, and there is a chart with stickers to mark their progress, and a medal for completion. Well, all three boys were keen to take part and immediately set about registering and each choosing their first three books. My eldest son, who was becoming a reluctant reader at school, has read 4 chapter books right through from cover to cover in the last two days! He has been sitting on the sofa absorbed by a book, he has been trailing around behind me in the supermarket with his nose in his book, round the Sea Life Centre today - at any opportune moment, out came his book .... even during our family movie this evening, he was reading his book on the sofa. Reading for pleasure. Hallelujah!

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