Saturday, 8 March 2008

Childrearing for Fun (a guide for amateur parents)

Managed to get some child-free time today and spent a few hours at an annual secondhand booksale. It's always huge, with loads of books on all subjects and at cheap prices. I filled up several carrier bags of books and hauled them home on the bus in my granny shopping trolley (fondly known as 'the cow' because the bag has a cow print design all over it).

It's always a bit demoralising when I see other people choosing really nice fiction books for their kids (and their kids are choosing books for themselves) that they are confident will be read. I sometimes wonder if I just buy fiction books to make the bookshelves look pretty {g}. Ok, so perhaps that's an overexaggeration, but ds1 isn't yet at a reading level where he could read most of what we have in the house, and most of what he is able to read he doesn't want to because the subject matter/design is too young for him.This isn't really the place to publicly air my anxieties over children's reading abilities, and I'm sure at some point there'll be a match between ability and desire, but it's difficult sometimes to keep the faith... Atonomous education often seems to be a mixture of experimentation and anxious hope - or is that just me? :)

Ds1 seemed pleased with the Usborne book of real life spy stories that I'd bought him ('I love being a spy!' ), but looked a bit crestfallen when he opened it and realised it wasn't as easy reading as he'd hoped. Ah well, maybe it will motivate him, who knows. Ds2 liked the other non-fiction books I brought home, particularly the 'cutaway cars' book and a book on how cars work (oh joy, can't wait to read those - not!). I wonder if when dd1 is older she will choose to read books that are more to my taste or whether she'll follow in the footsteps of the boys and take to reading about machines and engines. Surely I can't be filling those shelves with non-fiction books for no reason at all?!

I managed to get a few books for myself, which makes a change. Normally everything I do revolves around the kids and their needs, but recently I've been doing more reading for myself. Admittedly most of the books are about educational psychology (!) and similar themes, but it's a start. I did notice a couple of strange books as I browsed. One was titled: Childrearing for Fun (and the word fun was in large letters), with a subtitle across the top saying something like 'a guide for amateur parents'. Yikes! What a scary title! Does anyone actually rear children for FUN?!! That's news to me. Perhaps that's where I've been going wrong all these years {g}. Also if there's such a thing as an amateur parent, I wonder how one becomes a professional parent? One of the other books I saw was titled: 501 ways to be a good parent. Was I tempted? Nah, that one didn't come home with me!

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