Remember those really great credit card commercials?
Plane ticket to Orlando…1500$
3 family generations at Disney World…priceless.
I don’t quite remember all the specifics of them but I remember thinking could spending money really make priceless moments? Of course, yes they can…I think of the parents of Olympians who spent everything to get their teen or young adult to that goal. Or the girl with a dream to be a rodeo barrel racer so her parents scrimp everything to get her a horse and land to train on. Truth is, there’s a lot of those great goals and moments that were brought to you either by cash or credit.
I’ve had one of those this week.
One of my greatest challenge in the midst of my last months has been what to do with my middle boy. I was losing him scholastically. A completely different learner than my daughter, facing focus and perseverance issues, I could not get his heart motivated to learn how to read. As each day has drawn us closer to his 7th birthday, I felt the tightening grip of sorrow, fear and dismay as I knew I was failing him. As a mom. As his teacher. As his champion. I have been constantly spinning my wheels late at night trying to think of how I was going to teach him without robbing him of joy and ruining a love of learning.
With our homeschool on light duty during our CC break, I knew this was a time God was giving me to pursue my son with reading. I pulled out all the homeschooling books I had gotten when I first started with my daughter, refreshing myself with the things I’ve forgotten or the things I ignored with my first child because it didn’t apply to her.
By doing so, I was reminded that my wonderful son (and spouse) are accidental learners. These are the kids who figure out the world concretely…and lessons are learned through experimentation or implementation (oops…jumping off that hurts), but they have a very hard time learning theory without practical output. They generally learn to reach a goal, not because they just love to do it. And I had been treating him as if he was like his sister…who is completely opposite.
Four days ago I sat down with my son and we had a talk about school. Instead of thinking I knew him, I asked him what he likes and doesn’t like about reading. I found out he prefers to do it without me sitting next to him because it makes him nervous. That he likes to do it on my computer or phone instead of in a textbook. I asked him if he would like to earn something as he accomplishes his reading goals. Short-term and long term. I suggested some Legos or treats or some other toy. His excitement at being able to learn for a new toy was overwhelming. We spent the morning picking out several small Lego sets, printing their pictures and a calendar with his reading goals on it. I showed him a new online reading program that talked to him and gives him lessons complete with words, blends, and sight words in sentences. I told him how to read and try it first himself, and then to click the words to see if he got them correct. And I explained I wouldn’t sit next to him, but will be “around” to hear him to make sure he isn’t cheating.
Three days ago our system started. He woke up and even before breakfast he asked to get his lesson done. He then excitedly explained his new system to his Dad, after he got off of work.
Two days ago, after his first lesson was done, he asked if he could do another one to earn another smiley face. With an internal sigh of stress relief…I whole-heartedly agreed. I quietly warned my spouse that if this continues I will buy a plethora of small Lego sets in the next 6 months and he is not allowed to complain.
Yesterday, Isaac happily and faithfully did another lesson at 7:30am. We weren’t home for much of the day so he didn’t have time to do 2.
This morning, after breakfast, he started his lesson and moved straight into the next. He had reached and exceeded his first goal for November. He sat with me as we went online and ordered his first small Lego figure. He found December’s and January’s goals also. Which I ordered also.
3 Lego sets from Amazon…40$
My boy motivated to read….priceless.