Worth the Wait

It’s exciting when you teach your children how to read or do math and then watch them do so successfully as part of their schoolwork. But to me, the really thrilling part is seeing them sprawled out on the floor with a stack of library books, reading for pleasure, or calculating on a piece of paper how many weeks’ worth of allowance it takes to buy a certain much-wanted toy. Using what they’ve learned in “school” to help them in their daily lives is what counts, as far as I’m concerned.

With my older kids, those “thrilling parts” came fairly early, probably when they were six or seven at the latest. But with our youngest, I found that he could learn to parrot back to me what I taught him, but he just didn’t seem to take the initiative to use those skills in real life…..until the past few years.

I first noticed it with video games. He began to figure out in his head how many more levels he needed to get to, or how many more of something he needed to catch. We know this because he mumbles these things (or shouts them if the game is going really well) as he plays.

Then he began pausing his favorite movies as the credits ran in order to write down the names of his favorite characters and the actors who played them. This only works when there are photos or footage with the credits, of course, but he knows just which movies have those and enjoys making long lists of the characters in them….with carefully printed letters.

This past year he began writing items down on the grocery list as we ran low on them. Now, I’m not sure how old my other kids were when I finally got them to do that with any kind of regularity. But at 16, Josh is a growing young man, and he’s hungry a lot of the time. Food has become pretty important to him. So I now find “orange pop” and “applesauce” and “Swiss rolls” neatly printed on the grocery list we keep on the refrigerator door.

And just in case I don’t buy enough of those things, he makes sure to put a quantity after the items (one day I saw “Cheetos-7”) on there. Every time I pass the fridge and see his careful printing on the list, I just have to chuckle. I’ve waited a long time to see him putting his learning into use, and I get a big kick out of it.

9 thoughts on “Worth the Wait

  1. Isn’t it a beautiful to watch them apply what they know! Miss R is right now sitting at the computer writing down all the movies she wants for her birthday — in November!

    I’m so proud of my girl!

  2. I love it too….when they finally start showing they “get” it. It’s one of the things that makes parenting so precious!

  3. What a pleasure. I agree! My favorite thing (Ria doesn’t do math yet and doesn’t enjoy writing as yet, either) to find is Ria (5) reading to her little sister. She finished the main step in to reading just before she was 4 and I started finding her reading to her little sister soon after. It was SUCH a joyful surprise! I didn’t suggest it or ask it and there she was! 🙂 I am grateful to see some “results(?)” from the efforts.

  4. Thank you Barbara. I thought that post was just beautiful. Thank you for showing the positive things about parenting a child with Down’s. I don’t feel like you skate over the hard stuff, but you just seem to highlight the joys in a special way. ~Venus in MA

  5. My ds(13) makes comments to me in the store when we are figuring out $$ of food items, “is this schooling?” I can’t help but giggle at him and tell him “Yes, math comes in handy doesn’t it?”

  6. Iva, no I did not, because they would be too much temptation for me!

    Amy, she sounds like an awesome girl 🙂

    Janet, it’s definitely one of the rewards.

    Tori, I have fond memories of the older kids reading to the little ones, too 🙂

    Aw, thanks, Venus!

    Barbaralee, some of our most teachable math moments happened at the grocery store…great place to do school!

  7. I so agree! My middle one, who had so many learning disabilities as a younger (he is now 13), reads voraciously, and can figure out huge mathematical problems when it comes to boats or planes.

    My oldest (g16) is an avid reader and writer. She will write 24/7 if you let her.

    And my youngest (boy11) is just now coming into his own in both of those departments.

    They all think one of our favorite outings is when we go to the library each week. Love it!

  8. Stephanie, the library was my kids’ favorite place for many years 🙂

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