Self education


I just started a little at home learning {for myself} and it is hard to describe how much I enjoy it and remember doing it for years and years through college and such.  And then while teaching.  When we first had babies, especially with L, I found it really hard to have the attention span to read a book and down-shifted to magazines for about a year.  I mourned my ability to read and comprehend what I was reading.  It had less to do with the fabled mommy brain and more to do with fatigue and ability to concentrate on things other than this brand new baby I was in charge of helping to live.  I joined a book club in CLE but that was not very enjoyable since I was trying to figure out the difference between footloose single and preoccupied new wife and mom.  I almost never drove after dark when we lived there; I distinctly recall coming up to our drive in the dark once after book club and I really had no idea if it was ours or not-I had never seen it at night.

But, as with everything, you learn as you go.  By the time O joined us, I was back to reading and understanding what I was reading.  Of course, by that time I had memorized many new books and songs…all preschool level.  I have a memory of reading Goodnight Moon to L when she was 2 and I realized I could say it all through without picture or prompt.  Like the Pledge or Nicene Creed-a recitation.  And since CA, I’ve been on a steady reading streak.  Getting an iPad while in the hospital with O was brilliant.  Bring me food, meds and let me read and watch while I nurse.  Heaven.

And this year I am thoroughly enjoying-no, that’s too mild a word-I am beyond thrilled to start reading some of the meatier chapter books to the kids.  This is by no means an indictment of anyone reading this {ahem, Mom}, but I know I was a huge reader as a girl but I don’t ever remember reading some of the truly great classic children’s literature.  I blame it on school.  We worked out of basal readers for a BROAD swoop of literature but seldom read entire books {gasp}.  I think I was required to read The Red Pony.  And I wrote a term paper on Willa Cather’s My Antonia without ever having read that one through, though I have since then and I loved it!  I got to college without reading To Kill A Mockingbird or any Jane Austen.  So reading aloud is really important here.  Some afternoons we read for an hour or more.  Its a small slice of perfect-even if sometimes fights break out and I need to make hot cocoa to ensure we stay engaged.

This all leads me to my own study that I just started.  It is a writing course and one I wished I had read when I was teaching in a classroom.  I am happy to have found it though I am teaching in my dining room and basement and playroom.  It feels like returning to myself a little bit to sit with a highlighter and pencil while listening to some Enya or other New Wave mumbo jumbo.  And anything that makes you more you is going to benefit everyone around you.

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