Homeschooling Diaries: Reading Together
Homeschooling is a bit disheveled here. We’re winging it. Every evening, I make a list, photocopy some worksheets, try and prepare a few activities, but in the hairiness of the day at the main shop, depending on what’s going on with shipping orders, receiving shipments, newsletter day... it’s erratic to say the least. I feel a bit worried and guilty about it but I’m mostly avoiding thinking about it too much. Supposedly Ontario teachers are going to be rolling out some activities and support online tomorrow and I’m not sure if I feel relieved that someone else is going to be in charge again or more anxious about how I’m going to get those things done.
We, however, try our best to read. It’s probably the best thing that’s come out of this time for Caleb, that we’ve now got more time to read together. On the vague “homeschooling” list every day are reading practice (usually under 10 minutes a day) which is phonics and decoding and Caleb reading out loud from easy readers designed for kids, quiet reading time (looking at books independently) and reading together, which is when I read out loud to him. We don’t always get to the first two, but we do read together a few times everyday.
When school was around, we had bedtime reading every night, but otherwise reading together was sporadically whenever time allowed through the day, reading picture books or comic books or picture encyclopedias together. Sometimes it was arriving ten minutes early for music class and reading together then, during snack time, or reading from the stack of books in the studio shop I was covering a break downstairs.
Now, though, we have short breaks to read together as downtime from running around the shop wild, or as a reward after some tough math worksheets, or as a bribe for a few minutes of quiet playing while the adults are trying to get something done.
And every afternoon we have some reading together time, one of Caleb’s favourite times of the day. We sit on the couch in Jon’s office, take off our shoes and squeeze together. We’ve been working through Tintin, reading a few chapter books or comic books, looking through big picture books of poetry and nursery rhymes. At home at night, he picks out books to pack up for the next day, and plans ahead for what we’re going to read first. He’s both pretty methodical about what he wants to read and surprisingly nonchalant about not having to read things in order.
In the last year or two, Caleb has become a comic book kid and he loves The Beguiling, a comic book store that’s just down the street from the main shop. In times past, we occasionally made a visit down College to pick up a special treat. This shop is incredible, in large part because in addition to have thousands of comic books and graphic novels, the staff are so friendly and helpful. They let this quiet little 5 year old wander and ogle and touch the comic books all he wants—he could spend forever looking at exciting superheroes and all the frightening, detailed illustrations.
And so these days, we’ve been supplementing our supply of exciting reading material through The Beguiling. I called them with a budget and they pulled a bunch of stuff for us for curb side pick up. It’s partly because they’re closed to browsing but mostly because I don’t know what I’m doing at all when it comes to comic books so I was only able to contribute the vaguest details (he’s five, he likes superheroes). Someone there pulled a bunch of comics and books for Caleb that were just perfect, and we’re rationing them out until our next emergency supply pick up.