When Kyndal was in the 2nd grade, which seems like a lifetime ago, she had a teacher named Mrs. Owens. When I think back, I realize this year was Kyndal's best year in school, ever. There were times I would come into the room and it would appear to be in chaos. Kids would be sprawled out everywhere ... under the desks, on the desks, on bean bags, etc., with shoes and socks all over the room. The room was trashed and I just couldn't imagine how any learning was happening. And that teacher is now the school's librarian. Hmmmmm ...... She obviously shared Donalyn Miller's philosophy of not having a designated reading corner in the classroom. She felt that if kids were reading, and enjoying it, that she could stand the smell of stinky feet.
In Chapter 3 of The Book Whisperer, Ms. Miller says that "[b]uilding a trusting relationship with students is easier when you expect them to do the right thing instead of assuming that they are not." (pg. 67) She is referring to not assuming that your students are goofing off when they are gathered in a group talking during reading time. More than once she has caught her students actually discussing what they are reading.
I know that there have been times that I have accused Dawson of goofing off instead of reading, and stomped upstairs to "catch him in the act". But everytime I have gone with that intention I have "caught him in the act" of reading, or doing his other independent work, just like I had expected him to do. I know that our relationship will flourish when he feels as though I trust him to do what is required of him. And he will have freedom to learn in some of his own ways, going down his own rabbit holes without my micro-management.
What stood out to me most in Chapter 3 was the concept of Stealing Reading Moments. In the traditional classroom, I can see how this would be possible ... the second you are done with your assignment, or if you are waiting in line somewhere, or when the class is interrupted, you pull out your book and read. How does this work in the homeschool environment? I don't know.
I know that I do everything I can do to get my work done each day so I can read. I take my book with me in the car, when I think I will have to wait for something or someone, so I can steal moments to read.
During the school day, Dawson and Brynne will have a goal to work hard in the morning so they can rush upstairs to play Xbox over lunch and then again in the afternoon. I would so rather develop a love of reading in the two of them that they worked hard to get all of their schoolwork done so that they could rush upstairs to read over lunch and again in the afternoon.
I don't know how to accomplish this. I am hoping that the rest of The Book Whisperer will give me tips on how to do that.