|The Voyage of Life - Youth by Thomas Cole, 1842|
As we head past the transition between my reading most of the books to my oldest daughter and her reading her own school books - which happened progressively during YR4 & YR5 - I found myself a little sad at the prospect of her reading her own books; ones I'd never read, without me. I know some moms do, but I don't keep up with all her readings and I realized she is in uncharted territory and I'm not right next to her reading along like I used to be - the landscape is changing.
She still narrates to me for school, (sometimes if I'm not available she'll narrate to her little sister) and writes out her narrations a couple times a week. And we do still read together - this term we are reading the Iliad most days and Shakespeare and Plutarch on Fridays with her YR4 brother. But it isn't the same as reading with her.
I now spend most of that same time I used to spend with her, sharing readings with my YR4 son - The Incredible Journey, George Washington's World, Abigail Adams - he reads a paragraph, I read a paragraph, and teaching my six-year-old daughter to read. I've ditched the dry phonics books this time around and am so happy to be over that hump in my homeschooling career. We also have our almost three-year-old who joins in the mix at every turn of the day.
What I've found now on this side of the transition with my oldest is that, while it is a little sad not to be reading all of her books with her, it's a whole new enjoyable season. The books she reads and the ideas she gains from them are not unknown to me as I expected. Rather, they are the substance of the many conversations we have together throughout the day - in the car, during meals, sitting on the couch at night; she shares her thoughts, ideas, and opinions with us.
There is interest, curiosity, awe, humor, indignation, and living thoughts forming about all the things that go on around her and in her books, and there are poems about wanting her cat to sleep on the other side of the bed. What I thought would turn into a sort of distancing between us at this point has instead grown into a new, even more rewarding companionship. She is turning out to be a companion of the most interesting and wholly living sort, and we are so grateful for the living ideas that have fed this amazing person and helped form this rewarding relationship we are blessed to have with her.
While I do look enviously at her carrying her stack of books to go read - Galileo, Story of the Romans, The Sea Around Us, David Livingstone - as I change another diaper and read through Minn of the Mississippi for the second time, I am thankful for this new season and recall the advice a friend told us once a long time ago, "Your kids are going to be older, a lot longer than they are younger."