Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just Like Riding a Bike

So, I've learned a little bit this year.

My 9 year old learned a little bit, too.  She learned her times tables, long division, how to diagram sentences, all about the moon, our planets, our stars, and energy.  She discovered a love for fractions and writing.  She also finally learned how to ride a bike by 9 years old.

I have to admit; I was a bit embarrassed that my 9 year old could not yet ride a bike.  However, every time I tried to teach her it was a lesson in frustration.  I would run behind her, holding the bike up as my little passenger coasted.  As soon as I let go, she would topple over to the the didn't matter.  She just couldn't grasp it.

Last summer, I gave up.  I was proud of myself for not being the creepy, guilt-producing mom.  I just stopped offering it as an activity.

To be honest about it, I kind of forgot about being embarrassed.  I didn't really care that she couldn't ride a bike.  That is until I saw a little 4 year old peddling his little heart out on a family bike ride. *sigh*

Then a couple of weeks ago she asked for me to pump up the tires on her bike.  Hmmm.  Ok.  I did.  She hopped on and I took my place behind her and we began the same game as every other time.  It wasn't going to work.  Surprisingly, I still didn't care.  I just told her to coast around and when she felt comfortable, to peddle.

I went inside.

I got my coffee mug and heard a shout, "Mom!  I'm doing it!  I'm doing it!"

Yes, she was.  She was riding her bike.

That was it.  She just needed to do it on her time.  She needed to do it when she was the driver and not just the vaguely participating passenger.

And, looking back, her mastery of most everything has been in her time.  She stopped nursing on her own, she walked when she was ready, and she potty trained when she was ready.  This last year she mastered long division in a day after she had mulled it around for a week or so and then asked me how to do the "big" numbers.  The same thing happened with fractions.  I didn't really teach her.  I just guided her.
T reading her Life of Fred book while I'm shopping for flooring

There were some things that I forced the readiness upon her.  Things like swimming.  She knew how to swim before she was a year old.  She hated every minute of it, but we live in So. Cal. where everyone (including us) has a pool.  She learned to swim.  And now she loves it and she loves the pics of her as a baby swimming, but there was no way she was "ready" to learn to swim that young.  I don't regret teaching her that one!

I hope that I've learned to wait for her readiness to be the driver.  I hope that I'll remember how easy it is to teach when your student is primed and ready for the learning.  I hope I'll remember that homeschooling is just like riding a bike.