I picked up my iPad today to use the Internet and found that the last person to use it had been googling 'Otnos'. I assumed it must have something to do with Oliver's work initially, and then it clicked...Joseph loves the Cbeebies show Octonauts and so he must have been searching for the games he likes playing on their website! Once I sounded it out for myself, and thought about how he and his brothers often pronounce the word, it was obvious.
Little moments like this make me very happy, and it feels important that I record the process of his unfolding literacy skills because although I have never doubted that without schooling and phonics lessons Joseph and his brothers will learn to read and write, watching it happen is magical, and it feels a privilege. He may not receive 'teaching' but he is read to by people who love him a lot and who will always read the books he wants to listen to, he has access to words in all kinds of different places, he has someone to ask questions about all of the words he sees every day in a real and useful context, ("Mummy what does that sign post say?") and he has as much access as he would like to the things that interest him and which provide a motivation to read and write. It's happening, and while I'm excited Joseph takes it all in his stride! To him I'm sure this is just another skill he is discovering he has, no more important that when he realised he could jump 5 steps down the stairs! That, in my mind, is exactly as it should be.
Reading and writing for Joseph will never be loaded with expectation, fear or shame and this makes a life without schooling seem more than worthwhile. Words and language are Joseph's to use for his own purpose, within the context of his life as he is living it right here, right now.
On a side, Joseph chalked this on our garden path this morning, and said its a picture of his Daddy! His drawings are changing all the time and becoming more detailed as his fine motor skills develop...this one has a particular detail that made us chuckle, and reminded us what a great sense of humour he has! :-) I'll be using the lovely sight of this 4 year-old's chalky handwriting to cheer me up on many a cloudy day across the years!