Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Last Few Days

We had the Scrabble tiles out the other day and my older girls were just spelling some words. Tori got in there and started lining up letters too. She'd try to name letters which of course, were all wrong. Then I thought, "I wonder if she can recognize letters for real?" So, I got a piece of paper and spelled her name out for her: "T-O-R-I". I asked her if she could pick out these letters out of Scrabble tiles. She did it at the first try. WOW. She then proceeded to write her name down. "R" was a bit tricky, but she did it. It became a game and she did this over and over for 2 days. Delighted. Then she wanted to know how to spell other names. Her sisters, parents and friends.
What I loved about that particular moment was that learning happened by Tori guiding herself. I didn't sit her down to teach her. Tori was in charge. She wanted to learn and she was ready and I was able to catch her in that moment when her curiosity met the learning opportunity. It was so natural and delightful.

These moments are like fuel. They encourage me and affirm me in my abilities as a mother and give me that little push to keep on parenting these sweet little people in my life. Parenting is delightful, but it can be rather mundane and exhausting....both mentally and physically.
My girls had 4 days off from school this week. I asked them to make a list of things they wanted to do during that time. We tried our best to get lots of things from the list accomplished. As parents, we dictate so much of their little life. They have so little say in what they may want to do. I am learning that in a safe environment of our home, we can slowly give them the opportunity to be in charge.

Mona wanted to cook dinner. She chose to make soup and biscuits. She cut the biscuits out with a heart-shaped cutter. Maya found a recipe for a cheese cake in one of her novels. She copied the recipe, got all the ingredients from the store and pretty much made the cake from start to finish all by herself. She surprised her dad with the cake because his birthday is coming up in a week. The cake was delicious!! She wanted to invite a friend over for a sleepover. They all wanted to spend their money at the book store, so we ventured out in the cold and we were glad we got out of the house. They all wanted "rag-curls".

When given the opportunity to choose and to be in charge, I saw my girls come alive. They got along better with each other and we all had lots of fun. They were so pleased and proud of what they had accomplished. A few things didn't get done, but perhaps, we will put that on the list for the next weekend.


Anonymous said...

This post is encouraging and enlightening. Thank you for your honesty and your positive outlook on life.

Krista said...


Carolyn said...

Emily's school (K-8) emphasized that each person was a life-long learner and that you had to take responsibility for your own learning. The school provided lots of opportunities for students to explore topics they were interested in. The most important aspect of education is to nurture a child's inherent curiosity. Unfortunately, too many schools end up smothering it. Makiko, I love you and all you do. You are wonderful!