Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Count of Monte Cristo

Ally has finished The Count of Monte Cristo. Unabridged. The task took her somewhat less than twenty days. She gushed, over and over, "It's my favorite book." A fourteen year old speaks in italics, most of the time. I sagely nod. It will be her favorite until she has finished her next Dickens novel.

I don't mean to boast. In fact, I wouldn't mention it at all, except I think a word of encouragement is in order.


I taught Ally to read when she was four, the over-eager homeschool mom. I was heedless of the simple fact that she had no interest in reading. No problems other than that she just did not care. I was pulling my hair out, trying to exercise great patience as we sounded out word after word.

Ally was a slow reader. There were books the homeschool catalog labeled as appropriate for her grade level. But they weren't and there was no forcing it. She read other books. We read aloud. We adopted a phonics intensive spelling program. We patiently did what we knew was right. For years.

Three years ago Ally's books of choice were still the Boxcar Children series. I thought we should have been through with them years ago. But she loved them. Breathe deep...patience.

I think that is one big secret of homeschooling. This is not an instant enterprise. This is not a better reader in ten short days. This is not one eighty two and home to you. Homeschooling is more like a marathon, or a slog through the trenches. Whatever your trouble: do your best, and keep on doing your best. Pray. Wait. Don't be discouraged. Patience.

I think my patience has been amply rewarded.


  1. I felt much the same after I finished reading it. It has that sort of power over its readers. :)

  2. I loved the Boxcar Children for a while too. I also read through Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc. It took me a while to become more sophisticated. I think if I'd been my mother, I wouldn't have been too excited about my book choice.

    I am tempted to look back at those books as having no value, but there's something to be said for children choosing their own books that they're excited about.

    1. If I'm honest I would also admit I still read some pretty unsophisticated books. Just for fun. After all, isn't that what reading should be?