It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was helping Gemma-Rose learn to read.

She’d choose a book and we’d sit side-by-side on the sofa and we'd enjoy the story together. Actually, I don’t know if ‘enjoy’ is the right word. It was a very slow process. We hardly ever got to the end of a book. I’d think, “Will Gemma-Rose ever read fluently?” which was a very silly question because I’d already experienced six other learner readers. Of course, she’d learn to read… only in her time, not mine.

For some reason our shared reading sessions came to an end. Perhaps we just got busy with other things. Maybe I subconsciously decided I couldn’t stand any more slow painful reading sessions. Or did I suddenly become a very patient mother, willing to allow her child to learn at her own pace?

So for a long time I read to Gemma-Rose, but she didn’t read much to me. Then one day…

“Mum, can I read you a story?”

I looked at the book in her hand. It wasn’t a picture book but a short chapter book. “That book may be a little difficult,” I replied. (I know, I know... I wasn’t exactly encouraging, was I?)

“I can read it,” insisted Gemma-Rose as she snuggled up next to me and opened the book at the beginning of the first chapter.

"'Isn't it a lovely day, Mum?' Kirsty Tate said happily, as she gazed out of the car window at the blue sky and sunshine..." Gemma-Rose was off and she didn't stop. I sat delighted and surprised as she read chapter after chapter to me. 

“When did you learn to read?” I asked her and she just grinned and shrugged her shoulders as if reading was the most natural thing in the world to do.

On Friday Gemma-Rose appeared with a huge stack of picture books. “I’ve chosen some books and I’m going to read all these to you.” Obviously she'd planned a special event for me. So she settled herself on the sofa and I climbed up on her lap (only joking) and my youngest daughter treated me to all those old favourites I hadn’t heard for some time. She read each one clearly and accurately, with lots of expression, in between lots of giggles.  She was enjoying the tales too.

“Last time I heard these stories, I was reading them to you,” I pointed out.  Yes, it wasn’t that long ago I was in the reader’s chair. It wasn’t that long ago I had to remind myself that Gemma-Rose would read when she was ready. Now she is in the reader's chair and she took no longer to get to the fluent reading stage than any of my other learner readers.

So I have come to this conclusion: it was just as well I was too busy to worry about Gemma-Rose’s reading. I might have intervened and messed things up. Or was I not actually too busy? Could I be learning? Could I have actually trusted her to go at her own pace? Could I have  finally got it right on my very last child? Sometimes it is me that is the slow learner.

Trusting children to learn in their own time? First, I need to trust God. Do I always do that? And when I don't, does God sigh and roll His eyes and get all frustrated? Or is He a loving Father who has never-ending patience with me, a slow learner?

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  1. I always write my Blogs very slowly because I know some of my readers can't read fast.

    God bless you for your patience. It's a gift that few parents have. I know this to be so in my case as I always pray: "God teach me patience and be quick about it!"

    God bless you and yours always.

  2. Victor,

    I hope you wrote this comment slowly. Your writing may be slow but your humour is very quick.

    "God teach me patience and be quick about it!" I love that!

    God's given me a lot of time and opportunity to learn to be a patient parent. Pity it's taking me so long to learn. I'll just have everything perfectly under control and Gemma-Rose will announce she's all grown up and leaving home!

    Prayers for you too, Victor.

  3. Sue
    What a heartening story!! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Great post. I can relate to it. I had to learn to back off and let my children go at their own pace. We eventually learn dont we? :)

  5. Erin,

    Maybe reading is one of those things every parent worries about. My first daughter read very early and somehow I expected all my other children to do the same. None of them were quite as early but they were certainly not late readers, so I don't know why I ever got impatient and a little bit anxious. And now when I have come to the end of my learner readers, I have learnt the lesson of trust and patience! Hopefully it will come in handy for something else.

    Thank you for your comment!

  6. Colleen,

    "We eventually learn dont we?" Yes! I agree. Maybe I'm doing better with my younger children but I'm still learning to back off with my adult children. Always something to learn!

  7. Oh this is so sweet, It is something younger Brid would have done.
    God Bless little Gemma-Rose,

  8. Leanne,

    I could just imagine a younger Brid arriving with a pile of picture books, snuggling next to you and reading them all out loud!

    Motherhood is full of these sweet moments. I was so glad I could capture this one in a little story. God really has blessed us with so much.

    Thank you for sharing my story!

  9. Dear Sue, I'm so happy to read this. It makes me remember that I'm not just reading to myself when I read aloud to the children.

    PS: I see you made a collage blog header. I still intend to make a how-to on that, but it won't be until after the move, closer to January. Anyways, your blog looks really nice!

  10. Elisa,

    It's so difficult to relax and trust and let children go at their own pace. I've been homeschooling for 20 years and sometimes I still forget! But what a wonderful moment when things fall into place and a child reaches a certain milestone. I treasure those times!

    I've been a bit quiet recently as far as the UC group goes but I read your posts. You and your family are in my prayers as you face changes and separations very soon. Maybe with all that is going on in your lives, keeping homeschooling the same and not making any big changes will bring some security and comfort to your children. Anyway, I pray you obtain peace of heart during the difficult times ahead.

    The header? I had such fun experimenting! I had to think hard about how I could achieve what I wanted and I made loads of mistakes before I found something I liked. Even now I think I could improve the header. But that's one of the fun things about blogging: changing headers and backgrounds regularly.

    You will have lots of interested people when you find time to do your header tutorial. So many people asked me how I made mine. I gave them basic details but a longer tutorial would be wonderful. I'd love to read it too as I'm sure I haven't discovered everything I could know.

    Thank you for visiting my blog today. It's lovely to see you here!

    God bless!


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