After raising children of my own, I’ve come to realize that patience is one of the most important virtues of parenthood. From the "Terrible Two’s" to their teens, they test and try one’s patience. I look back at a few incidents and think I deserve a halo. Speaking of halos, I visited my neighbor the other day. She’s a stay at home mom with 4 kids aged between 4 and 12; that alone warrants a halo. Beyond that, her second child, her 10-year-old boy, has Down’s syndrome.
To be honest, I have never known anyone with Down’s syndrome or have had any firsthand experience. My neighbor is the only person I know that has a child with any learning challenges and with all the times my patience has been tried, I have never seen anything quite like theirs. I see it affects the whole family system. The affected child gets the attention, mostly out of necessity and consequently, but the other family members feel that time is taken away from them. Additionally, in getting to know the mom, I understand so much more about this genetic condition and how much the severity can vary. The day I happen to be over there, she was in the middle of home schooling her son.
We had made plans to get together for a little chat, but I dropped in shortly before the end of their math lesson. Her exuberance towards the lesson was no less than noble when I thought about her doing this day after day. Even though we had set up a time for me to come by, I told her I could come back a little later because I did not want to interrupt their lessons. She insisted that she would be finished in less than 5-10 minutes and then she would have a nice break until her other kids start to come home. It was okay with me; it was very interesting for me to watch her teach.
Sure enough, less than 10 minutes later, they were finished with math. Next, she told her son, would be their "learn how to read" time. She didn’t just say this, she said this as if she’s Michael Buffer announcing "Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!" They skipped over to their computer area, as her son did a drum roll with his hands, while the computer logged on; and then this online phonics reading program comes up. He says, "ClickN KID! ClickN KID!"…and she turns to me, points to the dog onscreen and enthusiastically tells me that he’s the leader of their pod, chamber, cube, or whatever and proceeds to show me how well he’s been doing with this program. In a matter of minutes, as we’re talking, her son is drawn in by this program and we’re able to catch up on our lives as we planned.
I was so impressed; I looked up this online phonics program. It is designed and created by a renowned research professor, has won multiple awards, and has numerous accolades. There is nothing to ship, as it’s completely online, so it’s ready to go and can be used wherever and whenever anyone has a computer with an internet connection. It’s aligned with the kindergarten through 3rd grade U.S. core curriculum and phonics lessons are taught in a game-like environment. I found out that the "ClickN KID" is the teacher dog of the animated program that leads children through the lessons.
Any product that can capture the attention of my neighbor’s child, and has him learn as I saw with my own eyes has to be worth mentioning. My neighbor wins mother of the year, and this line of reading programs for kids, as far as I’m concerned wins product of the year. That said, I bought it for my grandchild.