I got a new stack of books for Z from the library last week. One of them is Leaves, Leaves, Leaves.
As usual, I read him the book, and he was attentive and quiet. Reminds me of the days when he didn’t have that much of an attention span.
And as usual, he didn’t say much about the book after I was done. I commented on the art in the book, as I tend to usually do with him. This book has an interesting artwork for the pictures. I started pointing out the details of the artwork to Z a while back. One of those books was Eric Carle’s books. I think, I did it because at the time, he was into painting, and I wanted to give him some painting ideas, so I started paying attention to the pictures in the picture books. I never did that with the older kids though. So this is new.
He didn’t seem too fascinated with the artwork in this book though. He seemed more interested in the facts.
But it was at the farmer’s market yesterday that I realized how much he benefited from the book. We were walking back to the van after buying our weekly produce, and he had picked up a leaf off the ground. As I was walking, he showed the leaf to me and said,
“What are these lines?” while pointing at the veins on the leaf.
At first, I didn’t realize what he was asking about. I thought he was asking about the edges of the leaf, because in the book, it also talks about the jagged, wavy, smooth edges of different leaves.
So when I figured out what he was asking about, I said,
Then he pointed at the stem part of the leaf and said,
“And this is the stem?”
MashaAllah! It’s really interesting how the learning process is. You read a book to a child. You tell some facts to a child. They may seem like they’re not paying attention, or you may feel like they’re not ‘getting it’ because you’re not seeing any output from your input. But by Allah’s guidance, they’re getting it. They are absorbing it at their own pace, in their own individual ways.
They may not output it right away, so as to assure you that they get it, but they may output it at their own time, and this is when being a teaching parent is rewarding. Because you get to be there when they output what you have inputted. A teacher in school may only be able to see this output from frequent interactions or from tests.
And when tests become a means of making sure the students ‘get it’, it can veer off to a path where learning is no longer happening. Learning is a life process. It happens in the real world. It happens sometimes at random times. Sometimes, it may seem as if you’re not spending a lot of time ‘teaching’ this child, but the little moments that this learning takes place, something very deep and meaningful is unfolding. The child is learning, and making connections in his brain. As a teaching parent, all you need to do is give, and give, and give.
I learned this from Glenn Doman. He says we should just give and give and don’t demand. In other words, avoid testing as much as possible. From this, I have learned that especially with young children, just keep giving (input) and don’t worry too much about the output. They will output in their own times. They will.
Recently, N pulled out one of our carrots. Subhanallah, this is the first time I am seeing a carrot harvested without going through the process of being prepped up for selling. In its true form. It’s exhilarating for Z to see this, I’m sure. He asked if he could eat it. I nodded. He ate it.
Our Okra plant has also flowered. When I went out for Z’s therapy in the morning, I noticed the beautiful flower, just one, but it was beautiful! I wanted to take a picture, but the camera’s battery was exhausted and needed recharging. By the time it was ready though, the flower had closed up. So this is what I got.
The flower had fallen off
The lone okra fattening up and emerging
By the end of the day, the flower had fallen off! What was left in its place was a small yet growing okra! Amazing, subhanallah! I showed all this to Z. He took it all in in his quiet manner, just smiling and nodding when I asked him questions. So far, he hasn’t said anything much, though I did ask him to go and check out the plant to see if any more flowers had come out.
Subhanallah, I was worried that I wasn’t spending much time with him or teaching him much, but come to think of it, I actually really enjoy this kind of learning. I’m just guiding one child, as opposed to 3 children at the same time like I did when the older kids were younger. I always thought handling Z is harder, when I expected it to be simpler because I had handled 3 before. It was like having triplets, almost. But with Z, the dynamics are a little different. I had a lot of learning curves to go through with him, allergies, speech delay and all. But now, I think he is flourishing, beautifully and wonderfully too, alhamdulillah. I love hearing him talk and ask questions. I enjoy seeing his learning process unfold even if it takes the course of a few days or interspersed throughout a few days or even weeks. It’s amazing, just amazing. I am actually able to witness this without having to juggle between 3 kids. It’s a different experience. I’m starting to enjoy it. With the older kids, it’s more nagging. A little frustrating, but as I came to realize very recently after talking to a sister (this deserves its own post), I am thankful that’s my problem with the older kids. Other people have it worse so I should really be grateful that nagging is my main problem with them. So Alhamdulillah.