Friday, June 23, 2017

Hashtag "boymom"

UN. We had another tooth almost knocked out by an elbow during a bout of rough play this afternoon. (Jamie's.) (Front right.) (Hanging by a thread.)

This means we've had a total of 2.5 teeth knocked out in our house over the years . . . and we have so many more loose teeth to go.

Only in a houseful of boys.  For realz.

We spent time with a friend yesterday with an older daughter and a son and a newish baby boy.  The boys were in the basement, making their usual commotion and noise.  While we were talking, I noticed she was starting to feel tense and distracted, and I realized that this, my life, what-feels-like constant noise and commotion, might not be normal in other families.

"It sounds like they are tearing down the walls," she said, as she asked her daughter to go and take a look, then report back on their activities.  And it absolutely did: it sounded like shelves were falling and walls were getting pock-marked.

And I realized that I had barely even noticed.  Yes, I heard the noise, but it was just the usual din: no one was screaming or crying, the usual sign of things run amok.

Her daughter came back upstairs rolling her eyes and said they were battering each other with balloons. They evidently had a pack of balloons and balloon pump, and of course, what else are balloons for, other than smacking each other and exploding them in short order?

Battle play.  Of course.


It's real.


Barefoot in the Kitchen said...


Fellow boy mom here, also an ENFP homeschool mother.

I just saw your comment from last year on a blog post about MBTI personality types and homeschooling. PLEASE I want to know your advice, as I saw you loosely follow the Ambleside curriculum and your eldest is ENFP.

I love Charlotte Mason's style in theory (I loved reading once I finally got the hang of it at nine when I was at school) but I am worried about my 9 year old. He has never been to school outside the home, so doesn't need to "de-school", and also had little screen time until around six years old, and that is where most kids learn the alphabet etc.

He still doesn't have the hang of reading. I find it a huge struggle to find the time to set apart exclusively to focus on teaching. I tend to go in stints and then the house gets out of control, so I spend a few weeks in damage control and then I just feel like I am getting nowhere.

He is also an ENFP and he has a lot of passion for things like bushcraft and survivalism, and an interest in art. The reading recommendations in CM style do not interest him AT ALL (unless I read to him, for instance he would probably like Robinson Crusoe) especially as he desires the interesting factor to be constant, and the patience needed to stick at reading just isn't there.

He is not a fluent reader at all. He just turned 9 and we have seen him go from sounding out every letter slowly of three letter words, to being able to get most words by sounding out each letter, starting to do it in his head, albeit agonisingly slowly (for my ENFP patience - while stressed that my 2 year old is pooping all over the concrete or spilling cereal somewhere).

As someone who relates to these struggles and yet obviously are make Ambleside work for you: How do I get to the level of reading real literature?!

I almost got him one of the Ambleside recommended poetry books today but I feel like it will only further encourage a hatred of reading, I had gotten it for him once before and he wasn't really interested. At that time I read to him. I ended up getting him some books at the library on bushcraft and Star Wars instead (things he likes) in the hopes he will be tempted to self motivate and read. Heeeeeelp!

PS. My 5 year old ESTJ asks every day for school work and is self motivated to learn literacy and numeracy.

a. borealis said...

Ah, this is just so delicious. DELICIOUS. Your 9yo sounds identical to my 12yo when he was 9yo. I’m just a few years ahead of you, but what a difference a few years makes with fast-growing children, eh???

I wouldn't sweat his "disinterest" or "inability" to read. No way. He's just not ready. I recommend leaving him be for the time being. Expose him to rich literature and poetry by reading it to him or listening to audiobooks; but don’t stress or distress over his reading abilities. It will come.

My 12yo is JUST starting to read on his own this year. He has ABSOLUTELY been a "beginning reader" until this past summer.

We worked on phonics lessons starting when he was 7, but it just caused a lot of stress and upset for him. With hindsight, I am so glad I had the wisdom to simply put it on hold. Honestly: that's what I did. I shelved phonics and reading lessons for the year, then tried again when he was 8 . . . 9 . . . 10. Until he was 10, it was the same – he just wasn’t ready – and I wasn’t willing to kill it for him. I want reading to be a joy for my boys, not a struggle that turns them completely off to the very thought of it.

By the time he was 10, he was able to read the beginning readers like "See Spot run" and "Bob ate jam and ham". And his main motivation was that his 7yo brother was starting to read. (The poor guy, he was also very embarrassed with his peers that he “couldn’t read”.) (I told him that reading readiness was a spectrum and when his brain was ready, it wouldn’t be an issue.)

At 11, he was reading beginning readers like Sammy the Seal and Seeds and More Seeds during his 15 minute required reading practice time. (That was the first year that I required reading practice.) But I could tell: everything had "clicked" into place developmentally. He was finally ready to read.

He's 12 now. And this year? He's reading at level and is able to recognize and/or figure out words he has never encountered. He's reading everything around him. He is reading on his own volition and for pleasure. It is A-MAZING. He just gobbled up the Bone graphic novel series and is starting Tintin. I have no doubt we are on our way to great things.

a. borealis said...

The only way we’ve done Ambleside Online has been by me reading all the material aloud. All of it. This is the first year that I will be assigning any school reading for him and I am going to start very light. AO’s materials are extremely meaty, literature that is above the reading ability for most kids. I’m fairly certain that most moms read the books aloud to their children until the older years. Perhaps there are some kids that read on their own in the middle-grade years, but I would wager to bet that it is a small percentage.

My boys have LOVED our AO books throughout the years. (Me too.) They are so wonderful. If your boy loves survivalism and bushcraft, he would L-O-V-E Robinson Crusoe. And Kidnapped. And The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book. And Children of the New Forest. And The Incredible Journey. There are so many other delicious books to give him . . . but don’t expect him to be able to read it himself yet. That would take any and all joy out of the process, as he would be focused on the work of decoding instead of the actual story.

That is another thing: being exposed to great literature throughout the years is an excellent way to nurture a future love of literature and poetry. If they know the riches contained within the covers of those books, they will not hesitate to encounter it when their reading abilities are on par with their cognitive ability to understand. Our minds and EARS are ready for the richness long before our minds and EYES are.

I read aloud during mealtimes, snacktimes, and during our daily Circle Time. (Morning Time, Morning Basket, whatever-it-may-be-called.) There are endless possibilities throughout the day to fit it in.

As an ENFP mom, I suggest creating a daily structure, written down where you can see it, and then force yourself to stick to the routine. I can’t even tell you what a STRUGGLE it was for me to not drop literally everything in my exuberance to write a response to your comment right away, ASAP, immediately-now! When I saw it this morning. Hee.  But I know enough by now that our day would completely derail if I didn’t stay on track. As such spontaneous and inspiration-driven people, we have to be extra-aware of putting structures for success into place. Without it, every day would be one, gigantic belly-flop. Ugh. Ask me how I know.

a. borealis said...

Also: because I know you love inspiration, here’s a few places to find it –
:: Read Aloud Revival podcast (the first season especially)
:: Dr. Christopher Perrin’s Festine Lente and Mutlta non Multum lectures (YouTube)
:: Andrew Pudewa’s lectures:
:: Podcasts: Your Morning Basket, A Delectable Education, The Mason Jar

Mystie Winckler is a powerhouse in recognizing and connecting ideas and patterns within the homeschool day, week, month, year. She is a great resource in the inspiration and practical follow-through to get started with buckling down and forcing consistency for those of us who aren’t exactly blessed with that strength. I am so thankful for the work she does.

I would be glad to continue dialoguing and idea-bouncing with you, so don’t hesitate. Best wishes for a wonderfully fulfilling journey. Homeschooling is just the BEST, isn’t it?? I love it so much.

a. borealis said...

Oh my goodness . . . I had to break this response up into three different comments to get it to fit . . . blogger wouldn't let me publish that huge of a response . . . hahaha. I love it.

Barefoot in the Kitchen said...

Hallelujah! Thank you. Comraderie makes so many things better 😉 I don't know how I am going to go with an SFJ MIL if he takes till he is 12 to read fluently but I guess i will have to be strong. You've encouraged me so much. I can definitely step it up a gear with reading TO the boys and maybe if I just plod along and consistently give some computer literacy based work like teach your monster to read and literacy planet he will get the skills from repetition for when he is ready. I thought last night, perhaps I shouldn't sweat emphasizing comprehension so much yet, just help him get the flow of reading and he can focus on comprehension when it comes more naturally...

Thank you!!! Ps I'm on facebook (Gemika Pearl Maloney) if you wanted to connect that way. I rarely check emails so can't follow blogs consistently.

Barefoot in the Kitchen said...

Just saw your other comments. Oh my, yes I could do with some inspiration. Thanks so much for the advice and the links and the effort you put into replting!xo