I hate to judge HOP too harshly, though, because I bought an older edition that seemed like a bargain at $20. It wasn't. We never made it past the first tape, because Big Sis couldn't stop laughing as a smooth-voiced female intoned (to a background beat and music) "read ... out ... loud ... sounding ... out ... words ... say ... and ... together ... say ... the ... sound ... " I suppose the idea is for the child to begin associating the words printed on the flash cards with the spoken words coming from the tape, but Big Sis just memorized the "song" and then tried to be as silly as possible when the tape began. In short, our experience with HOP turned out to be a real disappointment considering all the hype we'd heard about how great a reading program it was.
Frontline was altogether different. No tapes except for a CD of songs about each letter of the alphabet which really were helpful. The order in which the letters were introduced was logical, not sequential. M, A, P, S, and T are the first letters to which youngsters are introduced, and very quickly they are reading "books" filled with words like Pam, Sam, sat, and map. That very early success spurred Big Sis on, and she was begging me before too long to "do reading lessons". Now, at the end of kindergarten, she is easily reading on a second grade level and will probably be at least a grade higher by summer's end at the rate she is going. The child LOVES books and thinks an hour spent at Barnes and Noble is an hour in heaven. (The apple sure doesn't fall far from the tree, does it Mom??)
All of that to say that when we started this program, I promised to reward her with a new book of her choosing when she finished the entire program. The end came this morning as I stood at the stove stirring up our usual Saturday morning biscuits and gravy. Sis sat on the floor a few feet away with the last reader of the series in hand, and a smile as big as Dallas on her face. "So, do I get my new book today, Mom?" she asked. I assured her that as soon as the breakfast dishes were washed and everyone was dressed, we would be off for the bookstore and she could pick her reward.
I'll spare you the details of the "search for the perfect reward," but let it be said I discovered quickly that giving my 6 year old free reign in the kids' section of B&N was probably not the smartest idea. It took her all of about 2.6 minutes to amass an armful of selections she "HAD to have", none of which was anywhere close to what I had envisioned her selecting. (Jump back to the previous paragraph and note the "of her choosing" part. I'm rethinking that at this point). I tried steering her toward a couple of chapter books that looked interesting, but the "50 Outfits for Barbie" book with the three-piece pages that would have allowed her to assemble outlandish clothing ensembles for America's favorite blonde bombshell from now till Kingdom come held a firm grip on her attention.
In the end, we left the bookstore with nothing in hand and wound up at Target where she spotted "My Fantasy Wedding" and nearly hyperventilated on the software aisle. With stars in her eyes, she gazed at the description on the back of the box and gushed with excitement. "Oh, Mom, LOOK!" she said. "You get to pick the ring and the groom and the dress, and the flowers!" She was absolutely giddy just thinking about the fun of playing Comput-A-Bride, and I had to smile.
The desire for romance, to love and be loved, is present in a girl's heart from her earliest years. We all long for Prince Charming to sweep us off our feet, to pursue us with holy passion, to capture our hearts completely, and to give us the happily ever after that we've spent years imagining.
I pray that my daughters will experience all that and more. That my future son-in-laws will esteem them as highly as their daddy does their mommy and that they will not settle for anything less than God's absolute best choice of a mate for them. I hope they will be content with singleness until His choice is revealed to them.
And most of all I hope -- here's the big one -- that they can be satisifed with playing "My Fantasy Wedding" until they are at least 30!