Wednesday, July 9, 2008

But He's The Last One!

This is an excerpt from an article that I'm planning to have D read - the problem is I know he will be clueless as to what it means. I don't know what level this is, obviously I'll help him through it:

The young nation's size and diversity defied easy generalization and invited contradiction: America was both a freedom-loving and slave-holding society, a nation of expansive and primitive frontiers, a society with cities built on growing commerce and industrialization.

This paragraph is merely an introduction, I could explain it and let it go at that. But later on is this:

One overriding issue exacerbated the regional and economic differences between North and South: slavery. Resenting the large profits amassed by Northern businessmen from marketing the cotton crop, many Southerners attributed the backwardness of their own section to Northern aggrandizement. Many Northerners, on the other hand, declared that slavery -- the "peculiar institution" that the South regarded as essential to its economy -- was largely responsible for the region's relative financial and industrial backwardness.

The vocabulary is way over his head. That shouldn't be so bad, he can look up the words and read them in context. Mostly, though, I'm concerned that he still won't understand. If I have to go through lessons and rephrase everything, shouldn't I just look for something simpler? The thing is that he's almost 14 and I get the feeling it's time for him to start learning to read on a higher level than he has been. It's time for him to kick it up a notch. It just took so long for him to be able to comfortably read near his "level", I don't want to horrify him by requiring too much all of a sudden. We've been pretty laid back, I've been working on the premise that getting as much information into him as possible is more important than serious depth in his thinking and reasoning skills. Now it's changing, time for a shift of focus.

It's a little frightening, I don't want to lose ground, don't want HIM to lose ground. I wonder how much of my desire to push him now comes from the fact that he grew close to an inch taller in the past two weeks! Seeing that makes me realize he's getting older, can't stay an indulged child much longer. But he's the baby. He's my youngest, the last one, the "little guy". It was always fascinating to see his brothers grow from boys to men, I took great pleasure in seeing all the steps, a course in human development in front of my eyes. But now...been there, done that four times already. Poor kid, good thing he's not short, I'm afraid he's going to have to fight to be allowed to grow up.