I love how our experience of educating at home means that learning is never confined to a set time or workbook or subject or curriculum.
Last night, as our youngest, Eamonn, aged 6, was snuggling at bedtime he was excited about the story he wants to write.
“What will you call it?” I asked.
“I’m thinking” he replied.
He got his brother’s clipboard, an A4 sized sheet and drew lines on it for the words. He’s not quite reading yet so asked me to spell each word and wrote 3 sentences before realising that maybe he could dictate and I would write for him. He read back each sentence before composing the next one. He wants me to keep it secret until it’s finished but I can tell you it’s about a hobbit called Nora.
It reminded me of his eldest brother Darragh, now 27, then aged 6, returning to Dublin from a visit to my parents in north county Wexford, coming back by the last train, making our way through the streets on a bus, writing sums (4+6=10) on the fogged-up bus windows. When we got back to our home in Harold’s Cross, he asked to do a page of sums so I scrabbled around for a page of a workbook we’d been sent by his Grandma TC, a 4th grade teacher in Chicago, who wanted to support his learning as much as she could. I remember my feeing of disbelief… a child would ASK to do sums, at ten o’clock on a Sunday night? No-one told me children were this curious, this motivated, this fired up to learn, with no outside nudging or pleading or bribing or rewarding.
We filled the A4 sheet with words and Eamonn needed to think about his hero’s friend’s name so decided to sleep on it.
He moved the page and pencil to the end of the bed, arranged his Turtle and Blue Bear and snuggled up, yawning.
“Oh, I’ll call it ‘Lord of the Rings 2’ “, he said.