Thursday, October 2, 2014
Thank You and Gary Paulsen
First of all, thank you for all your kind comments both here and off-line after my post yesterday. I am going to attribute my relative melancholy and Sophie's increased seizures to solar flares and Mercury being in retrograde, because why the hell not?
I posted that photo of Oliver above because it captures perfectly what sort of boy he was and continues to be. Looking straight at you, right? He's the cleverest of children and always has been -- that's why his difficulty reading was so difficult for me to understand at first. When he came home from first grade, so many years ago, and claimed that he was a bad reader, I knew that he needed to be removed from Catholic school where rigor and conformity were prized and individual learning abilities not celebrated. He attended a wonderful constructivist public elementary school for four years where he was diagnosed with some auditory and visual learning issues and where he thrived despite an ever-growing dislike of books and reading. Middle school, though, was a disaster, much of it chronicled here, and last year about this time, Oliver's unhappiness reached its near peak, and I pulled him from school to begin our homeschooling adventure.
Last night, I downloaded the sixth or seventh Gary Paulsen book on Oliver's Kindle. Over the summer, he read four books, which I can honestly say is probably the most books he's read in his life. He read them on his own, listening to the audible version while he read and exclaiming after each one how much he loved it. It seems like a small miracle that my boy is reading and loving reading. That he reached this at the age of thirteen is perfectly fine. I shudder to imagine what might have happened had I left him at the Catholic school or even the middle school that had departed so dramatically from its original constructivist intentions. Every now and then I feel a bit of panic about what we're doing and how it's all going to shake out. We did the right thing, though. Oliver is reading with joy -- something I had imagined when he was a little guy but had thoroughly lost as he grew. And thank you, especially, to Gary Paulsen.