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   Here I am, working one on one with Matthew, in third grade. It was so rewarding to see my children learn. Matthew was so much fun to teach! He was eager to learn, and learned quickly. So did many of my children. We studied wherever we felt like being. Lying on the floor, sitting at the table, sitting at each child's desk, sitting outdoors beneath the trees, or on camping trips. Often we had cats wanting to sit on our books. There was humor tucked into our learning. We fit together like a hand in a glove. I understood the way he learned, and he understood the way I taught. This was the way it felt with them all.

 Kindergarten and first grade were fun. Teaching my children to read was a particular joy. The intense fascination on their faces, and the spreading radiance when they understood at last, how to interpret those marks on the page, into words that they knew! If only I had pictures of Matthew, Michael, Starr, Sarah, Sheena, Katie, and others, as this wonder dawned upon their dear little faces! What a privilege and honor it was for me to be the one to teach them how to read! Skyla and Cherise had just begun to read in the public school special ed system, at ages eight and nine when I began to homeschool them, so I had the joy of teaching them through a K-first grade level, right through high school. I didn't miss much at all. Noelle and Kyle were attending a Christian school when they learned to read, but I helped at home. That was before the homeschool years.

 I put emphasis on creating writing. Learning to print and write in cursive were important, of course, but also important to me, was developing the ability to express one's thoughts and creativity in words. Naturally, some of my children had more ability in this than others. Some, like Matthew, wrote long chapters of thrilling adventures. Others could barely muster up one original sentence. But I was happy with them all, for what they were able to accomplish in this area. It was a favorite of mine.

 Groups of my children loved taking turns listening to stories on headphones, while I was working with others. Each child had a book to go along with the story, and there was a grand selection of stories. One tape deck had wires to up to eight children's earphones at the same time. In fact, the headphone sets are still regular items in the Lakeshore Catalog, where I found them so many years ago.

 For years, every morning, while the children ate breakfast, I read to them. First we had a short family worship. Then I would read books that kept them fascinated enough to stay there long after they would have ordinarily left the table. Such intense eyes fixed upon me, listening to every word - to find out what would happen next! There was always a kind of moan around the table when I closed the book and said we'd have to wait until tomorrow morning to hear more!

(c) 2004 Rosemary J. Gwaltney