I inherited a legacy of words; rich words spoken by interesting and articulate parents and story words read aloud to me from babyhood upwards into childhood. Our family used words creatively, making them up if necessary (I still giggle when I think of my mother calling our two canines “doggles”) and looking them up (in a dictionary) for fun.
I became a Christian and met “The Word.” John writes that God was the Word made flesh. We believers cherish and follow the Word of God as our book of books.
An interesting thing happened with one of our sons early on in our home education journey…he struggled to learn to read. I mean it…he couldn’t learn to read. Obviously an intelligent boy, we used every reading program out there, we read aloud to him at least seven books a day, we prayed and taught and urged and waited…he couldn’t read.
But, oh, he learned! He had a vocabulary at the age of six which put most thirteen-year-olds to shame. He took his bird book and binoculars out and observed and learned from the living world around him. He talked about everything and intensely watched and listened and grew.
His mama (that would be me) did a lot of talking to God in a worried voice in the wee hours of the night.
One big consolation was that my own father had been a late reader (although not so late as our son!) and he had eventually gotten a Ph.D. from Yale (which may or may not mean that a person is smart but it does mean that he can jump through some intimidating hurdles).
Finally, lo and behold, our son (at the age of thirteen) got it! He began reading…and I mean seriously reading! Within about nine months he was caught up to his grade level. A few more months and he had passed it! And I could sleep at night!
I have learned a little bit about the brain since those days of struggle. I know that our son uses both hands for different things; he shoots with his right but writes with his left and this is not good. The brain does not store things properly unless we have established dominance all on the same side. That means, if you are right-handed, your eye, ear and foot also needs to be dominant on your right side.
Since our son had mixed dominance it interfered with his brain being able to remember and store information. He is still mixed dominant but his brain has adapted and that is one reason why it took so long for him to learn how to read.
And all those years we read aloud to him? We were stimulating his brain in just the right way without realizing it. I know, I know, we’ve all heard how wonderful reading aloud is for our children…but it’s true! It’s a wonderful thing.
And, as someone who believes in a God who calls Himself ” The WORD”, I believe that God has specially created our brains to be stimulated by words. The brain functions far better when it hears words and then makes up the pictures that go with the words; in other words, it visualizes what is being read. This is what we were created to do with our minds; imagine!
In contrast, the person who watches a show doesn’t have to conjure up a picture of anything (the producers have done the imagining for him) and our brain doesn’t work quite so hard. Studies have shown that as our society has become less auditory and more visual we have lost huge amounts of focus and attention.
We were created for words; to hear them, speak them and memorize them. We were created to know THE WORD; to worship Him, serve Him and learn all about Him.
And that’s just a little bit of what I have learned as a home school mom.
Our son currently teaches English in South Korea and shares some of his thoughts on education here.