Monday, April 23, 2007

The Reluctant Reader

Sometimes I wonder if Eowyn is genuinely reading the books that I assign, or if she just skims over the words without taking in their meanings. Of all my children, Eowyn is the one who doesn't like to read. This is my fault. She was not ready to read in the first grade which brought a considerable amount of consternation from all my relatives who were already certain I was ruining the little hobbits by educating them at home. Her lack of readiness to read only brought more stress to an already stressful situation wherein I felt I had to prove myself to others, especially since our first year of homeschooling was her first grade year. I panicked; I pushed. It was not always pretty. At times I even thought she was refusing to read out of rebellion. That was when it got ugly. I actually yelled at her for not reading. Screeched is probably the better word. My eyes are welling with tears as I write this.
Sometimes when your children are small, you don't realize just how small they are. You expect too much from them too soon. They want to please you, but at times find it impossible. That was the case with Eowyn. When this happens, when the expectations are unattainable, your child loses hope. She knows she can't please you by doing the thing you have demanded, so she becomes a little withdrawn from you. I wish I had known then what I know now. I wish I had realized just how small she was. I see it now. I see it in little Pippin who is in first grade this year. I look at him and stand astounded that I could have ever yelled at Eowyn when she was his age. I didn't realize how small she was.
I have apologized profusely over the years, but the damage is done. She is now a reluctant reader. She shies away from school readings and wouldn't read aloud for all the tea in China. There is always hope though. She has forgiven me for being a crazy, looney mom when we first started homeschooling. She didn't for several years, but seeing me patiently working with Pippin who is also not a quick reader has softened her heart. She sees that I'm sincere in my apologies by my actions with her little brother. Just today she came to me laughing and said she had read too much of the book I had given her today. It is "White Fang" by Jack London. She likes it. She got caught up in reading it and before she knew it she had read more pages than were assigned for the day. Hearing that she is enjoying a book is music to my ears. However, having her laugh with me about is is divine.
Don't forget just how small they are. Little hearts can break quickly and mend slowly.

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