Sunday, May 25, 2008

Yes, But Can They Read?

Recently, someone asked me if my kids can read. When I stopped shaking my head over the silliness of that question, I decided to share an update on what my three have done with their year and what their plans are now.

The simple answer to the question "do your kids read" is YES. If you want to know the more involved answer to that question, read on!

Yes, my children can read. What’s more they do read. Voraciously. And not because someone else has given them assigned reading to do but because they love to read. They read because they are curious. They read because they enjoy a good story however long. They read because they are seeking information.

Sarah’s favorites: Scarlet Pimpernel and Eldorado both by Orczy, Middlemarch by George Eliot, Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and historical fiction. Jenn’s favorites: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte ( really about anything by all 3 of the Bronte sisters - Charlotte, Emily, Anne), Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, quality mysteries but also popular math books. Josh’s favorites: anything by Terry Pratchett, anything by Heinlein; anything by Asimov, anything by Jim Butcher but mostly he has always loved non-fiction about almost any subject most recently military science.

Sarah is finishing up her third year at Eurythmy Spring Valley. Along with her normal artistic studies, she also started the pedagogical training to prepare her to eventually teach in a Waldorf school. Always able to memorize long poems/forms quickly and with ease she has been encouraged to pursue the study of speech formation as she has a knack for eurythmy speaking.. She continues as a manager of the local food co-op as well as her involvement in the community theater at Spring Valley. This summer she will again work for the Testing Center on the Mizzou campus proctoring placement exams for incoming freshmen.

Jenn was named the Truman Scholar from MO for 2008 - a very competitive, highly prestigious national scholarship that is given to only 60-65 selected students each year. While sometimes there are two from a particular state, this year Jenn was the only student selected from MO. She is being courted by highly selective graduate schools as she finishes her junior year at Mizzou. She continues to maintain a 4.0 and is often told she is doing graduate level work already. As a writing tutor she is helping others to write college level papers and has had two articles published in writing tutoring journals (one on line and one hard copy). She was tapped into two secret honor societies this spring, one national society, Mortarboard and one local to Mizzou, LSV.

Josh is finishing up his junior year of homeschooling high school. He sat for the PSAT last fall and took the SAT this spring bringing in very respectable scores. He plans to major in Japanese Cultural Studies (or similar) and is looking at various schools as he narrows down his choices. Though he didn’t wake up to reading until he was about 11, his critical reading score on the PSAT was in the 96%tile, on the SAT in the 91%tile. When he isn’t reading he is writing, studying Japanese or working on various martial arts. And, he continues to do his volunteer work at PeaceNook. Now that the SAT is over and he can take up that math which interests him, he is diving into combinatorics and game theory.

So, yes, they have all mastered their basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills - and have gone on to be active citizens in the community. They are finding their niche by following their passions and curiosities yet are not afraid to jump through those hoops that are necessary to reach their goals. They have an inner motivation and perseverance that I admire. They carry on intelligent conversations about many subjects. In short they can (and do) read……and much, much more!

So here’s to the joy of reading and unschooling - happy summer to all.