Friday 21 July 2017

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."

It is always great as a parent when your kids take a keen interest in something that you love, or something you loved as a child yourself. I think we are all guilty of introducing our kids to things that we are interested in because we either want a reason to relive them or it can just make your own hobbies a little easier, letting you enjoy them guilt free. Parenting has been one long exploration into my own childhood so far, the boys have always loved hearing stories about what I was getting up to at their age and things like base building, Lego creations and tinkering with bikes are things that have definitely rubbed off.

I loved reading comics when I was a kid and I'd get lost in the trials and tribulations of Peter Parker's complex life, juggling his everyday teen issues, School and of course his secret identity. It was something that I had hoped Seth would have got into but he's not really shown an interest as of yet. Recently though Opeie has discovered the wonders of comic books and has become quite the avid reader.

It all started with the show Teen Titans Go! Opeie loved it so much that I googled it, pretty sure that there was a run of comics to accompany it. Not only did I find that, but I also found Tiny Titans which got me thinking "what else is out there for young comic enthusiasts". So I began my hunt to find some of the best Comics suitable for an 8/9-year-old reader. I'm a firm believer that if you can install a love of reading into your children then that is the best groundwork for their education. We read all sorts of things together and have done for years but what comics have given us now is fun reading time alone for Opeie, which is great as it takes out the 'having to get it right' element and replaces it with extra confidence and more questions. "Dad what does this word mean?" etc.

Since Opeie's new favourite past time started a few weeks back I have found some great titles to add to his collection, including 'itty bitty Hellboy', itty bitty Mask, Li'l battlestar Galactica and Super Hero Squad which have been great as I've been able to get complete runs of the comics for his iPad. Our weekly trips to the library have also given us DC Super Pets (Art Baltazar), Mighty Mighty Monsters (Sean O'Reilly), Monster heroes (Blake Hoena) and the Monsters Like Us series (Steve Barlow/Steve Skidmore). 

When I think back to Seth learning to read at school, Opeies learning has cut out all those boring reading in stages books and has replaced that tedious learning with a real love for the written word.  I have always said that comics have a bad rep in the world of literature but there are so many levels to the stories and they are ongoing (like an intelligent and creative soap opera). Sure, when it comes to the super hero comics there is action and adventure (which is great) but when you start delving into the personal lives of these heroes there is a deep understanding of emotion. For a 6-year-old, Opeie is getting a great start into understanding the complexity of relationships and the way we feel through comics (and all the questions he asks about Country songs that he loves helps too). This to me is so much more important than a lot of the unnecessary academic information that is thrown at Seth.

Home schooling has so far given Opeie the chance to fully explore his imagination and pursue the things that he is passionate about learning, which for a 6-year-old is what they should be doing. This way of learning has taken out the anxiety and the stress of preparing him for standardized testing in mainstream schools, making him a far more well rounded child with a real love of learning. 'Concentrate on the reading an the rest will come organically'  is what I told myself from day one.

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