Journal Categories
Journal Tags
« Turning six, the party edition | Main | Caterpillar update »

To Calvin, on your sixth birthday,

    Good or bad, happy or sad, no matter the day it is not hard for me to remember why being your mom is the best job I’ve ever had. Learning with you, guiding you, and especially stepping back to give you room to grow, more often the older you get, add a continuous novelty to my life that I could not possibly have found in any other vocation. Our every day is full and we squeeze activities into the tiniest of moments, so that your fifth birthday does not feel like yesterday, but instead like a lifetime ago, though in reality it has been just exactly one very full year. Your sixth year saw you learn to swim, to multiply, to draw, and to ride a bike. It scared your parents with a series of nighttime seizures that exposed us to the world of neurology, its frightening tests and its wonderful doctors, its uncertainty and frustrations, before slipping as memory into a hopefully soon to be forgotten corner of the mind. It took you on a not soon to be forgotten trip to Disney World (planting a seed of general longing to return to that happiest of places on earth). Yes, it has been a very full year.

    So what are you like now, a year older and wiser? You are still the little boy whose trusty blanket is always by his side. You are still one to watch carefully, hanging back before deciding to join in, or not, and just as content playing alone as playing with others, if not more so. You are still deeply curious and eager to learn. You are still a very happy child, and gentle, considerate, and kind. You are still very much yourself only more so, for we are past the years of the personality emerging and into the time of its growing and maturing. This means that you have begun to approach things with a confidence of spirit. You know what you want, and what you don’t want, and you are neither hesitant about expressing your opinions, nor easily swayed from them. And though this has meant an increase in arguments over the past year, solidarity between generations is often an elusive goal, and watching you stretch your wings is worth the occasional head butting. And occasional it is, for as a general rule you assist with chores willingly, are flexible and open to changes, and usually approach must-dos with little reluctance.

    This year we have continued our journey of learning together at home, and you have shown yourself to be a dedicated, eager, adept, and independent learner and are very advanced for your age. We spend our days learning by reading, trying, and doing. I have always wanted our home learning process to be dictated entirely by your interests and desires, but you are interested in anything and everything, so we started following some curricula as a guide this year and you have responded with enthusiasm. You have completed three grade levels in math and are more than half way through memorizing your multiplication tables; this week we are taking turns reading chapters in The Hobbit out loud and you are reading Tik-Tok of Oz to yourself; you memorize poems and write in your journal with ease and regularity; we have just finished learning about the ancient civilizations of the Indus Valley and are embarking on a study of ancient China, having already tackled Egypt and Mesopotamia; we are learning about energy, life cycles, and evolution; you continue to advance in piano.We joined a local homeschooling group this year and through them you have taken art (emulating great artists) and theater classes (you just performed in a stage production of The Wizard of Oz). You truly love learning, especially when it occurs on your own terms, and pursuing a home education with you has turned out to be a wonderfully rewarding decision.

    Our days often take us out of the house as well, for hiking, biking, swimming, exploring museums, and more. Physical activities, like biking and swimming, provide a challenge for you that subject learning never has, but you are steady in your practice of them, and unconcerned and happy as you go about it, so that you continue to become more comfortable. You love being outside and being physically active. We work in the garden often, hike in nearby preserves, play at the park, and go birding in the nearby field, but your favorite outdoor activity might simply be drawing with chalk, or running in the sprinkler.

    It is this kind of variety, from book reading to bird watching, multiplication tables to chalk drawing to giggling in the sprinkler, that makes life interesting and keeps me constantly guessing. Truly I could ask for no better vocation. And since every year has been even better than the last, every moment more full of wonder, I expect the same from the coming seventh year and look forward to the challenges I’m sure it will bring.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.