One of my favorite firsts was the night that Gerry started walking independently. He was so excited that he was waving his arms and laughing the entire time. He was just absolutely thrilled to be walking!
get-well gift for her - an early reader book based on the movie Brave. I read it
through to her once as we lay in bed together, and then she said, "Let me
try." Then she proceeded to read most of the book to me. Magical.
But learning is so much more than just reading and writing. Learning is everywhere and in everything. It is the first time Marisol swam all the way across the pool last summer without any "floaties" so that she could take her first jump off the diving board that same day. It is all physical activities - like doing the monkey bars on your own for the first time (last summer) or riding a bike without training wheels (a skill still in our future). Learning is trying a new food for the first time. Some of the most important and deep learning is about relationships and spirituality, like working through the first time you hurt a friend's feelings (yes, I remember Marisol's experience of this). It is grappling with the idea of death and heaven and what happens to your spirit (a recent theme for my 6 year old girl).
This magic takes all the competition out of learning. Just like it doesn't really matter whether our babies walked at 9 months or 18 months (once they walk... well, they walk!), it matters little at what age my daughter finally rides her bike or becomes a fluent reader. I know that she will do these things when she's ready, and she will do them joyfully. Also, things that she did early (like waking with math problems on her lips) don't make her better or brighter than other children her age who are more interested in other things than numbers. Embracing your children for exactly who they are at this moment is truly magic all by itself. It will transform your life and your relationships.
I know that not everyone is able to homeschool or desires to unschool. I share because I want people to know what magic is possible. Because other people shared their lives, my mind was opened to a whole new world. This is my desire - to offer parents that same opportunity. Words really can't do justice to what I'm trying to describe here (maybe words can never capture magic), but they will have to do. I hope that mine inspire someone, someday, somewhere, to allow this magic into their lives.