I think the process of learning something new...especially learning to read... is such an exciting one and really enjoy as my children develop new skills. I sometimes feel guilty but I've felt very little sadness about having my children start school. Partly, I think, it is because I work and I'm not home with them during the day. But partly, I think, it is because I always loved school and I find each new school year so exciting...a chance for new opportunities to learn and grow, meet new people, make new friends, learn from a new teacher (or for me to learn from new students). This process was never sad for me as a child...and only a little bit scary...and I take my own positive feelings about school into my parenting. I think it is wonderful that my children will have a chance to learn things from other adults and develop relationships with other adults who can also become role models for them.
I get a pretty good idea about what they are learning from talking to them, watching them as they do homework and listening to them read. I get a very good idea about how their teachers teach and what they say and do by watching my children play school...which is a favorite activity around our house. And I am amazed on a regular basis how much they pick up.
Two quick examples: 2 weeks ago I picked the girls up from after school program and Michelle spent nearly the entire 30 minute car ride telling me all about the history of the flag. She remembered so many details about the flag that I was quite impressed. She was excited about it too, asking me several times, "Did you know...?"
Last night, Ella was reading to me. Her teacher has obviously talked about reading fluently (as she uses that word a lot) and modeled paying attention to the punctuation and using expression as you read. Last night as she was reading, when she saw a sentence with an exclamation point, she would read it loudly, excitedly and sometimes would even be jumping up and down as if shouting hooray about the sentence. She is applying what she is learning. She must also have learned a little about compound words ...or just figured it out on her own, because she pointed several out...I told her they were compound words and for the rest of the time she was reading she would shout excitedly "compound word!" every time she found one.
Even as an adult I find learning new things to be an exciting process and hope that I can help (along with their wonderful teachers) to instill this love of learning in my children.