Parenting is often a test of pure patience. I remember Keiran at two years old and barely speaking. Our Doctor was a little worried, Dave was very worried but I searched hard to find patience that he would speak when he was ready. And once that boy started speaking we could never stop him from speaking. He's one of those that wakes up and has a million things to say. Kind of like his mama.
When we discovered Waldorf Education again we had to find patience. Up until last year Keiran was six years old and still in Kindergarten. Instead of learning to read and do his math, he was sewing a doll, taking walks to the beach, singing many songs, listening to oral stories and baking bread. His time in Kindergarten was about nurturing play and understanding that this age is one that seeks imitation. This year he started first grade and he is now learning his letters and his math facts. They are introduced magically though with each letter having their own story behind them. Here is a beautiful post by A Taste of Waldorf about learning the alphabet.
Cerys (pronounced with a hard C - Care-iss to all my new readers :-) entered 4th grade this year barely reading. This has been challenging more to Dave and I than to Cerys. She was happy to continue to read books by looking at pictures and piecing the pictures together to create a story. When we started our new school though many of the children were reading and her teacher was giving out books for reading assignments.
We really struggled in the fall and spent a lot of time with her, listening painfully to her pronounce a word and stumble through it. We again had to look in ourselves and be patient with her. Cerys has spent her entire education in Waldorf education and we know that it works. We've seen the older children and really they do read. It was going to happen.
Following New Year's Day the children and Dave went on a bike ride on the Joe Rodota Trail from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol. I had the van and drove to the Goodwill just inside Sebastopol to wait for them. One of the perks of being the mother in the family. I was so excited when I found these:
I already had book 1 and had started reading it to Cerys before the holidays. How could I not read her Trixie Belden when it was my favorite book series on the planet. Now I don't know if it was Trixie or not, but for the first time in her ten years Cerys picked up a book and started reading on her own. And she couldn't put the book down. It's a slight exaggeration but remember the scene in The Miracle Worker were Helen is at the water and it finally clicks? Something clicked in Cerys and she went from one day not reading to reading the next.
Her teacher said that Cerys just needed the encouragement to read. I secretly think that Trixie had something to do with it too. Cerys is reading book three now of Trixie Belden and book 2 of The Famous Five. She spends too much time in her room and when I go searching for her I usually find this:
She's just like me, a book worm. I am completely delighted that the first book she ever properly read was a Trixie Belden book. She's old enough to remember this book forever. My mother tried to get me to read Cherry Ames and I admit that I wanted nothing to do with them. I don't remember why but I do recall my mother being disappointed. Now I understand why. Cerys is a tomboy at heart which I think is why both Trixie and the Famous Five speak to her heart.
It's hard to find patience sometimes, especially when the rest of our society is doing things differently. When Keiran was two though and not speaking someone gave us wise words and said "when he's 18 he should be walking, talking & eating". I guess as Waldorf parents we can add "reading" to that list as well.
Has there been something in your parenting experience that has tested your patience?