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To Calvin, who is five years old today

Our wonderful boy, another year has come and gone in the wink of an eye. You have grown a great deal over the past year and each day I think that you are beginning to look more like a little boy and less like the baby I have known, and is it any wonder? You have accomplished much in just one year. Last fall you were easily frustrated by trying to pedal your bike, while this spring I have to jog just to keep up with you. Last summer you were wary of the water but you've taken several swimming classes now and are improving with each one. You take the stairs one foot to step now instead of two, and you've had your first dental appointment.

There are many things that I would like to tell you, many things I want you to know about this time. When you read these letters years from now I hope that your heart will remember the love and joy that filled our days, but you aren't likely to remember the specifics of those days, and I write these letters to capture those as well as to mark your growth and your accomplishments, because at four years old your days were always filled with joy and wonder and a whole lot of activity.

At this age much of our time is spent together, and we do a lot between eight in the morning and eight at night. Every day we practice the piano, read books, and straighten around the house. Every week you help me with laundry, with emptying garbages, with the shopping for and putting away of foods. Often you help me bake or cook dinner, you set the table, you clear your place. We like watching birds, taking nature hikes, reading books, and painting at the kitchen table. In the past six months you have discovered Legos, and are quite good at following the directions of assembly all by yourself. You have become increasingly independent, especially now that you can read.

This was the year in which you learned how to read. Last summer you recognized letters and could write your own name. By fall you had begun to sound things out with assistance, and I helped you start a journal. Shortly after that you declared that you would learn to read, and you did. You started with short books of few words, quickly moved up to longer picture books, and already now you are reading real chapter books. Many of the books that we read aloud together last year, like Charlotte's Web and The Waterhorse, you are now reading to yourself, and you have discovered others as well. Your comprehension is wonderful and your vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. This one accomplishment has opened many doors for you and has been very empowering. It has also shown us that learning can occur naturally.

This was also the year in which we (more officially) started homeschooling. In general I try to follow your interests, and you have always made those very clear. Mostly we follow topics of interest from the books we read, and those have taken us to places like Africa and China, and to times like ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, and the Middle Ages in Europe. This year you have continued with your love for trains, and have added knights and volcanoes to your favorites. We have read book after book and even watched videos to fill your curiosity, but you are never really sated and your curiosity grows along with your knowledge and understanding. I want to always remember this as the year that we read together all of the books in the Oz series by L. Frank Baum for the first time, and now you have begun re-reading them to yourself. You love these characters as much as you love trains, and as much as other children love the pop culture characters of this era. Your imagination has made them real for you and you hold them very dear. It is the magic of your age. It was the magic of this year.

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Reader Comments (1) fast they grow!
June 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChelita

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