Today D1 and D2 wanted me to write them books they could read. I was obliging and wrote "D2's Book" on the cover of his, with what I thought was a quite well-done caricature of D2 on the front.
He picked up the book and burst out laughing. "Why is there a monkey on my book?" he said.
OK, maybe not so good.
People often assume that if you believe in children learning naturally and through self-directed means that you want learning to be easy and fun for them and they will never have to work hard.
One glance at the mass of bruises on the twins' heads should be enough to remove that notion. Natural, self-directed learning is often painful, hard work. Nothing worth having comes easy. Every baby who has learned to roll over knows this.
Children don't suddenly stop becoming capable of self-directed hard work to learn what they need to know just because they turn five. If they see the importance of something and they are developmentally ready to attempt it, they will work hard at it (though perhaps on their own terms rather than a preprogrammed schedule). And unless they are exceptionally easy-going, they will sometimes get frustrated, cranky, have off days when they seem to have forgotten everything and sudden bursts where they zoom ahead.
I remember when D1 was learning to draw. I certainly didn't tell her she had to; it was something she wanted to do. She'd sit in front of a piece of paper because she wanted to draw, then would start wailing, "But I don't know HOW to draw! YOU draw it for me." But after many months, she started to figure out ways to draw the things she wanted to in ways that were satisfying to her, and now she can happily draw for hours.
Now the same thing is happening with reading. "I want to read this!" "But I don't know how!" And my helpful comments are not always appreciated. "Hmm . . . try actually *looking* at the word."
Growing and learning is a joyful journey, no doubt, but like most journeys there will be blisters and bug bites along the way. And with four children always learning something new, that makes for a lot of wails of despair around here.
I guess it's a good thing my drawings amuse them.