We are so blessed to live just outside a rural village and have our boy attend a small school not too far away. But even though he’s in a smaller school than average, and we have great contact with the teachers, it’s still easy to be so busy that I miss what’s happening for him in the classroom and what he’s been learning about.
And when I think about it… do I really know what my child is learning each day?
I don’t mind admitting that I was nervous when my bright-eyed boy started school a couple of years ago. Not because I thought he wasn’t going to do well, but because his teaching will now be given by someone else. He’ll spend more time at school (awake) than at home, and the control over what he’s learning, and in some way who he’s becoming has been taken out of my hands. Or has it?
Many years ago the thought of home-schooling honestly gave me chills, but as the years have passed I absolutely see the value of schooling your children at home… for a multitude of reasons. Now our boy (at this time) is thriving at school, and we’ve been so blessed with such wonderful teachers, friends and school families, so we aren’t looking to home-school… but it made me think of how can I still be involved in his learning whilst he’s not at home?
So during the last term when I found that Mr7’s class were all reading a book together I asked if I too could please have a copy, and so it started, reading my child’s books.
I mean I’ve always read to them at home, we are frequent library visitors, and I do at least scan the books that they borrow. The purpose is not to stop them from reading about certain topics, but to be aware of the content they’re reading so that I’m able to be present, involved and able to answer any questions they may have.
Whilst I would LOVE to wrap them in ‘cotton-wool’ and only let them read and consume (tv, screen time etc) things that I think are right for them… one of my missions as a mother is to prepare my children for the wider world, to teach them how to make right choices, and to think for themselves. So by reading along with them if I find something that I think is inappropriate for my child, I am able to be on top of it quickly, or it might just be that I’m able to have more topics of conversation with my son.
Last term it was ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl, which I quite enjoyed, and now I’ve obtained my copy of ‘The Witches’, by the same author. Do I think that I’ll continue reading all my children’s books during their schooling?
Honestly, no. When my Mr5 starts next year I’ll be doing the usual reading along with him each day, so already I’ll see what his reading, but they’re very simple books anyway. And soon Mr7 will be reading more and more advanced texts, but he’ll also be developing the skills to be able to come and ask me about certain things. But that still takes a purposeful conversation with him to ask about what he’s doing at school, and how he’s finding the work and topics.
One situation that happened recently is that Mr7 mentioned a book he was being read in his library class was a bit scary for him. Now, he’s a sensitive boy, and I know that I also have to be careful with what I read, but still I asked him a few more questions about it. Our next step is for him to discuss this with his library teacher, then to talk to me again if he has any further worries. So we’ll see how the ‘story’ unfolds, but it’s so good that we can talk about it with each other and walk him through the process.
I do often ask myself “am I thinking too far into this?”… and maybe in a few years time I’ll say “yes”, but for now I know that I need to keep my finger on the pulse of what my little men are consuming. This world is so different from the one I grew up in, and and I don’t want to let opportunities to connect and teach my children pass me by.
So I’m going to continue reading children’s books, and perhaps I’ll also learn something while I enjoy the simpleness and comedy that is junior fiction.
Do you, or have you read your children’s school books?
Do you think that it’s important to know what is being taught to your child?
I’d LOVE to know your feedback and experiences.