Monday, June 18, 2012

A Love of Learning

I have many things on my summer to-do list.  My priority the last couple of days has apparently been becoming extremely engrossed in books that are not nursing textbooks while eating mass quantities of chocolate and popcorn.  I am still attempting to gather all the required paperwork to submit my NCLEX application.  Also really need to clean my house and do laundry and organize paperwork before we head out again on Friday.  I really am a horribly lax housekeeper.  I'm just too easily distracted by the Kiddo's antics.  Or the Internet.  Or the iphone.  Or books.  Or sunshine.  It's always something and my house always seems to look like a disaster just happened.  

One of my main goals of summer and beyond is teaching my Kiddo to read.  I don't know about other preschools, but the Kiddo has been attending a nationally recognized childcare center since she was two.  I refuse to name it here.  Actually, no I don't--take heed parents who believe that sending your child to a y.. m.. c.. a.. preschool will arm your child with all the knowledge he/she needs to begin their kindergarten education.  Kiddo knows perhaps 50% of the alphabet and refuses to write her name.  Whatever the 12+ "teachers" she has been privileged to learn from over the last three years have been doing, it hasn't been teaching my daughter that learning is fun.  I don't think I'm blameless here; I've certainly let my own education take precedence over taking my daughter's learning into my own hands.  Yet I genuinely believe that my biggest mistake thus far has been doing nothing so I do wonder why my daughter is so flustered when it comes to practicing writing and learning to read.  I do (selfishly and lazily, I know) wish that preschool would've done the job for me, but it appears we have some work to do.

Jerry and I both dropped out of high school.  Eek.  Jerry was just constantly in trouble as a teenager and I've always suspected he is dyslexic and was never diagnosed as a child.  His first truly positive school experience was when he returned to an alternative school and completed his GED.  He learned that he is actually smart and capable of greater things than he ever imagined.  I...was just a jerk of a kid.  I hated school, never felt like I fit.  So I quit my senior year 1.5 credits shy of graduation.  I was waiting tables full time and just didn't have my priorities together.  Luckily for me, I had an awesome guidance counselor who made it possible for me to finish my classes on my own time table and I finished my high school diploma shortly after I turned 18.  It wasn't until I really became immersed in college classes that I figured out that I am genuinely intelligent and that I absolutely love learning.  I was always an avid reader growing up and I can't wait to share books with my daughter that I loved when I learned to read on my own.  If there is anything I desire to pass on to my daughter, it is a love of learning. 

Kiddo is about to turn 5 in a few weeks and we have decided to postpone kindergarten for another year, barring any huge developmental advances over the next couple of months.  I would like to utilize this time to give her a solid foundation in reading and math.  I don't want to throw her into kindergarten now and have her feel frightened and overwhelmed because she wasn't adequately prepared.  I fear this would turn into negative feelings about school.  I am no kind of teacher, and I expect some difficulty in keeping the teaching light and fun, but we are giving it a go.  Today Kiddo and I went and bought her first "schoolbooks."  Thus far I have limited my attempts at teaching to bedtime stories and a few alphabet flash cards so she is somewhat intrigued by the books.  I am wondering if I should get her a little desk.  I really want this to be a positive experience for both of us.  And I will also admit to a dream of her reading proficiently by the time she heads to kindergarten next year.  

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