There is a very old Christian song I used to sing, “When God closes a door, look for a window.” I’m learning that the same could be said for teaching; when a door closes, you have to look for the open windows.
I actually love that part of teaching. I love the challenge of making something clear to a learner. And one of the things I love best about getting to teach my children is that moment of overcoming with them.
My daughter is a daily challenge. She is extremely independent, and even though she’s only four, I do try to allow her to be as independent as possible with her work. And of course, as with any area of parenting, what worked with one child rarely works with the next. So even though I’ve just been down this road with her brother not much more than a year ago, I’m still teaching it as if for the first time.
For example, I remember my son struggled with some sight words, including the word “the.” To help him, I wrote the word on a post-it-note and hid it in his pockets each day until he finally recognized it. Middlest, however, just couldn’t recognize the word at all. She’d try to sound it out, recognize the “th” sound, and guess “this” every. single. time. I admit that I would get extremely frustrated, and so would Miss Do-It-Herself.
Finally, I started looking for a window.
She wants to sound out the word, so why not give her the tools to sound it out? I gave her two rules: th says th in this; and e says e in me. She immediately read it all by herself—pronouncing it as thee). I figured that eventually she will naturally make the transition to the other pronunciation once she starts recognizing it. But for now, we’ve made it over that hurdle.