Rueben has a lot to do with our being together. Rueben rode the bus to church for many years. Finally his dad started coming with him. Gabe got saved after a couple of years of attending church here. I moved here from Florida to teach in the church’s school. Gabe and I went to the same church for four years. We rarely spoke because Gabe thought I was too good him, and I thought he wasn’t interested in me because I’m not Navajo. But, once Rueben was in my class we had to talk. : - )
When Rueben came into my class from public school his reading level was very, very low. He got a very poor foundation in reading from the public schools. Parental involvement is really needed in the area of reading. In Rueben situation, his mother had left and his father was working a lot so he was with his grandparents much of the time. We have worked on his reading over the past few years, and it has improved greatly, but he is still behind for his age and grade.
It is very hard to make up for time lost in the area of reading. If there is one message I could send to parents of young children, it would be do everything you can to give your child a good reading foundation. Start when they are babies and toddlers. Read to them. Let them see you reading. Teach them yourself. Don’t expect some school to do it for you, because it probably won’t happen the way you expect it to. In just about every student that came into my class from public school, they could not read well. The only exception to this was one family where the mom made her kids read to her and had worked with them on their reading. It was the parent that made the difference not the school, and she was a single mom working as a nurse.
The other evening Rueben’s younger aunt needed help with her algebra homework. Rueben looked at it and said he knew what to do. I was very excited to see him helping his aunt. It was great practice for him, and I could see that he had really learned something from the algebra that we struggled with for two years.
Rueben is my helper with the young ones. I try not to put too much on him, but is nice to have a back-up when it a tight situation. When I need to get all three out of trouble, it is nice to have an extra set of hands. When running errands I can take one child with me into a store, get what I need, and quickly get out again without unloading and reloading every one. He also is a great help with grocery shopping. I shop at the same store every two weeks (I don’t like to shop, so I try to do it for two weeks at a time). I have a list that I created on a spreadsheet that has all the aisles of the store and what items are on that aisle that I use. I make the items needed write in the things that are rarely bought, but needed that week. Then I can give Rueben half the list and one child, and he will get the items on that half while I get the other items. He does carry a cell phone so he can call if he has any questions.
We are taking the month of October off of school. Rueben will go to work with his dad for about five weeks. This will give me time to order his eleventh grade work, and he gets to learn more about surveying from his dad.