A couple of weeks ago, I attended a three-day Zoom conference on self-directed learning, unschooling, deschooling, liberation education, and all the other things. SDE Weekend by the Alliance for Self-Directed Education was brilliant and well worth the money.
Some of it made me realize how radical we truly are. But one thing excellent came out of it:
As you know we have struggled since @PanKwake discovered her text-to-speech function on her iPad and emmersed herself in fan fiction on WattPad. Is that ‘reading’ or listening? I have contended that it is. But lacked a word for it.
That weekend I reluctantly attended a workshop, Deschooling Literacy: An SDE approach to reading, writing, and dyslexia by Justine McConville, a literacy director at a democratic school. I say ‘reluctantly’ because as I said before we are so ‘radical’ and beyond the ‘norm’ even of radical unschoolers that I usually find their approaches… Unsatisfying would be the polite British way of putting it. Especially the ‘experts’ and that was definitely the case in the other workshop on neurodivergence.
And for the most part, this too followed that same line of ‘how to get your non-reader to learn reading.’ But you know me, do I ever just sit back and shut up? Rarely, especially about something I am passionate about. So, I unmuted my mic and even had the courtesy to turn on my cam (something my autism detests). And I announced that @PanKwake is 15 and does not read. I went to explain our situation in more detail.
Justine glowed…and validated my assertion that @PanKwake is ‘reading.’ She explained that there are 3 types of readers.
- Eye readers (most of us)
- Finger readers (blind)
- Ear readers – @PanKwake
Of course, the truth is that ‘ear reading’ is becoming a norm even for those who can eye read. I became an ear reader this week myself. I am definitely a visual learner. So I have resisted the Audible craze until now. Though @PanKwake is attempting the tale of a certain young wizard written by a TERF who shall remain nameless. I struggle with memory, an executive functioning issue for many neurodivergent people. So I feared that I would not be able to follow along or appreciate the content.
But as I approach my sixth decade on this tiny and inconsequential green, blue, and brown rock in the vastness of the universe, I am focusing to learning and growing into a Wise Woman. The Facebook wizard that knows what you are thinking before you thought it binged me with a series by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, writer of Women Who Run with Wolves. It is only available on audio format. So I gave it a try and signed up for Audible.
Since another portion of my path to Wise Woman is to enter that third phase of life healthier than I have ever been, as well as wiser, multi-tasking makes sense. Listening to audiobooks as a I walk, especially on the treadmill, which I hate, increases productivity as well as enjoyment.
I found this espcially useful this week when I woke from a nap to discover it was 4 P.M. and I had barely 3K steps for the day. Seven thousand steps in only a few hours? In the past, I would have written the day off and just said ‘tomorrow is another day.’ But as I get more committed to this Wise Woman path, I refused to give up. Since it was raining, I walked on the treadmill and paced the family room as I listened to The Late Bloomer: Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype.
My experience with ear reading? As I feared my long term memory made it challenging. Normally for such ‘serious’ reads, I sit down with highlighters and yes, I mark my books. Perhaps, if I had taken notes? There is certainly a numbered list of points towards the end that she made which I will listen to again and take notes on.
But I remind myself – learning to eye read was challenging, especially as I too struggled with dyslexia though not as much as @PanKwake. Will ear reading become easier for me over time as eye reading has? Only time will tell. I’m not giving up yet.
Thank you to Justine and ASDE team for the workshop and validation. And to WordPress for making it so easy to make this blog available to ear readers too.