Soph read her first book last night: Sheep in a Jeep. Well, she read half of it. It was a book we hadn’t read in two years, so I know it wasn’t just her reciting from her prodigious memory (as I’ve suspected from her past reading). This time, it really was her sounding out, examining picture clues, laboriously working through the task of blending together the letter-sounds. It was thrilling to watch.
Yesterday, she also went to a birthday party at a ballet studio, where she followed instructions like jete, elevate and arabesque — words that were foreign to me. I’m not quite sure how she does it. She also asked me to teach her to braid yarn and made a bracelet for her Dad. It was one of those days when I can understand how home-schoolers do it.
Then she said, “Will you keep teaching me so kindergarten will be easy?”
And she said, “I want to learn everything, but it’s hard in school, because M. keeps whispering in my ear when I’m trying to listen to the teacher.”
Other parents may worry that their kids aren’t excelling in school. I, on the other hand, get to worry that my perfectionist child may give herself an ulcer from over-striving.
Overall, not a bad worry, as parental worries go. I’m pretty sure that rough-housing with her dad, pretending to be rangers in our backyard, and brushing her brother’s hair were actually the most important parts of her day, yesterday — not the academic stuff.
So I told Sophie that part of the joy of learning is that no one knows everything, you only learn how much more there is to learn, and that’s what makes it exciting. “Not even you?” she asked. “Don’t you know every word?”
Sometimes, having a five-year-old is a challenge. She can be moody, needy, assertive, and prone to see the world in a glass-half-empty way that drives me bonkers. So I want to remember the joys, too, like yesterday. And the thrill of helping her learn how to learn.