"Katie's Phat Stack of Library Books" by Becky Carleton
About a week ago Katie saw the book Diary of a Wimpy Kid at her friend's house. The next day she asked me to order it for her. I placed a hold on book one, and it was available for me to pick up the next day at work. I brought it home. She read it in one day. All 217 pages of it.
Then she asked for volume two. She finished it and asked for three. I forgot to place it on hold right away. She asked me about it the next day. I told her I was sorry, that I'd forgotten, and didn't she have something else to read? Her bookshelf is full and there's a stack of about 30 library books over on her table.
She said OK, sat down in the comfy chair, cracked open book two, and began re-reading it.
The kid really likes this series.
She's taken to playing a pretend game where she has a brother named Greg who is in sixth grade. And another brother named Rodrick who is in high school. When I hear her whispering something off on her own, she answers, "Aww, just talking to my brother Greg" when I ask her who she's talking to.
I finally remembered to bring home book three from the library. I went ahead and checked out the whole series. At the rate she's tearing through them, she'll be able to return them before their three week due date. Unless she decides to re-read them over and over like she does when she goes full fangirl.
She was asleep last night when I brought them home from work, so she didn't see the stack until the next morning, first thing, as she wiped the sleep crud from here eye and mumbled "Boo Berry cereal" when I asked her what she wanted for breakfast. Her face lit up as soon as she saw the stack.
She looked up at me and smiled big. "You got all of them?! Thank you!" She ran off with book three before I reined her in.
"Hold on, Punk. You need to eat your breakfast and get ready for school. Put the book down for now and you can read it after school," I said.
"But, Mom!" she protested.
"Come on. You can be patient. You've waited this long. You can wait til this afternoon. It will give you something to look forward to when you get home from school and you just want to chill with a good book."
She smiled and put the book down.
It's weird to encourage a kid to stop reading so she can go to school.
Katie often reminds me of my favorite fictional character Scout Finch from my all-time favorite book To Kill a Mockingbird. I don't know if this is because I admire Katie so much I associate her with a character I also admire, or vice versa.
When she put the book down and came to the breakfast table, it reminded me of that scene where Atticus encourages Scout to just go to school and listen to her teacher despite the fact that she already knows how to read. Katie's also somewhat of a do-it-yourself learner. I'm sure she could learn many things she does at school simply by staying at home and reading a never-ending supply of library books.
But I like to send her out into the world so she learns about life outside of books. So she makes more friends than imaginary brothers named Greg. Not that Greg is unwelcome in our house. He's welcome with open arms. Imaginary friends are spectacular for helping creative kids learn about life. But I like to see her play with real life kids too.
Not that I'm against home schooling. At all. It's a great option for many kids. They even have social events, so it's not as lonely as it sounds. I see ads for "Homeschool Skate Parties" and other activities for home school kids to meet up and hang out. If Katie ever gets bored with school, I'll consider homeschooling as an option. But for now, she loves going to school. Even enough to quit reading her favorite book and get ready for school.
For the majority of kids though, I like the idea of public schools. I like supporting public schools by sending my daughter to one. I remember when President Jimmy Carter sent his daughter Amy to a public school and there was a lot of brouhaha over it, how anti-elitist of a gesture it was. I think all kids should be provided with a quality education no matter how much money their parents make or how many library books their parents let them check out. Ideally public schools and public libraries make our children brighter, healthier, happier, and stronger. They give children ways to explore their world in their own unique way. Our family is privileged to live so close to a great public library system and a great public school. I wish that for all the world's children. If only our great nation would spend less money on bombs that kill innocent children and spend more money on public access to books and education, parents all over the world could be blogbragging about what bookworms they're raising.