Originally Posted by ReadingMama
He didn't want to learn how to read because it was too hard. Testing showed visual processing issues and eye muscle problems. We did vision therapy and worked with sight words. Two years after learning to read, he tests 5 grade levels ahead in reading and he is proud of that. It makes up for his continuing difficulties with writing, spelling, and math. Most importantly, reading has opened up his world and brought him joy.
Although he resisted reading initially, he says he's glad that I insisted. And this outcome helps him to trust me more about other skills that I encourage him to work on.
Thank you for this post. It is very encouraging. This is almost exactly DS1's situation. He's in vision therapy now. I feel it is necessary to insist that he do these things now that are hard for him and that he would rather not do, so that he will even have the option
to do them by choice later; instead of not being able to do them at all because of problems that were not addressed. The work he is doing is really hard, but I am trusting my parental instincts that it is worthwhile and necessary even if he doesn't really want to do it. I do feel it is my responsibility to provide the external motivation that he needs to get it done.
When people feel that unschooling works well for their child, I would never argue with that, because they know their kid best. I know without a doubt that for basic 3Rs skills, our DS1 would not have acquired them without parental insistence and professional help.
I was intrigued by unschooling early on but after a brief exploration decided it wasn't a fit for me. That was before we knew about his vision and processing problems. When I first began more structured and parent-led work with him, I admit I felt a little guilty and wondered if I was making a mistake and if I was going to "ruin the fun of learning" for him. But now I am glad we were on a more traditional path because my internal pressure to "get him reading" is part of what led to his diagnosis. Someday he will have the option of reading for fun, or some other motivation of his own, because he will be able
to do it. Right now it is still too hard
to be fun for him, but I have faith that this will eventually change.
I came back to add - I'm not saying that he would not have been diagnosed if we were unschooling - but I know it would have been quite a bit later. When I first started noticing reading problems, I was told more than once (not necessarily by people at MDC) "Maybe he is just not ready. Wait a while." I think that if I had been in an unschooling frame of mind, I might have just backed off reading and writing until he showed more desire to do it. I am not sure how long I might have waited before I decided that in his case, readiness wasn't what was missing.
IMO the greatest thing about homeschooling is that we can always adapt our approach to what works for our children, even for each individual child. The OP of this thread can switch to a more structured approach. Someone who has been very structured and wants to loosen up a little can choose to do it in a more relaxed way for a while or permanently. What homeschooling looks like for a family can change as often as it needs to change. And that's wonderful.