or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › Need some help in an unschooling frump.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Need some help in an unschooling frump.

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

In a nutshell, I need some creative new ideas to push my 9 year old to get proficient at reading, I am feeling super neglectful or something, I've been very child led and he has NO interest, it's almost an argument these days.

 

Back end of the story is that I was working for a few years, and he was in a private waldorf school that was ALL french.

He basically learned nothing, all that tuition down the drain, we pulled him out and decided to homeschool again when we moved back to our province and I was not working.

 

Has anyone dealt with anything like this before?

How can you entice a reluctant reader to get proficient without being forceful and too directed.

My other kids are all fine with the process of learning to read, it's the one thing I feel firmly about because reading alone can open up so many self directed doors.  (my experience as a kid)

post #2 of 29

ANy programs at the public library? Maybe he just needs someone else to get him going (ie not mom the authority figure) or maybe there is a pets/animals reading program out there? Pay a high school kid to 'tutor' him?

post #3 of 29

I opted out of unschooling the reading. Same with REAL basic math, and writing. I told him that those things are his "toolbox" that he will need in order to pursue the things he really loves. And I treaded really lightly with what I made him do. It was not rigorous by any stretch. (Talk about walking on eggshells!) Ours didn't really click with the reading until he was about 6 or 7, I think. I was so nervous about that! Now I can switch my nervousness to math.  :-)

 

He really doesn't want to be TAUGHT math (and who can blame him), yet with no evidence of self-teaching going on it is easy to get nervous. He sort of refuses to do those everyday things that one needs math for (cooking is "boring" and with regards to his allowance and saving up for/buying toys, he just throws up his hands....but we have been guilty of rescuing him, which will stop.) He has told me (as we bid the math tutor goodbye) that he wants to teach himself. I'm all on board with that and now want to find some good resources and/or books or games that he can have and just pick up and work with whenever he wants. I ordered two things from Amazon today:

 

--a "Math Shark" learning toy and

--a copy of "Homeschooling our Children, Unschooling Ourselves" because clearly I need it.

 

 

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flightgoddess View Post

ANy programs at the public library? Maybe he just needs someone else to get him going (ie not mom the authority figure) or maybe there is a pets/animals reading program out there? Pay a high school kid to 'tutor' him?



 

Good idea, I don't know if I would flaunt it around my local library that my 9 year old kid cannot read properly that would be asking for trouble! LOL 

However I like the idea about maybe asking an older kid to help out. He's not to phased by pets, we have 4 after all.

2 cats, a Skinny pig & a dog.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

I opted out of unschooling the reading. Same with REAL basic math, and writing. I told him that those things are his "toolbox" that he will need in order to pursue the things he really loves. And I treaded really lightly with what I made him do. It was not rigorous by any stretch. (Talk about walking on eggshells!) Ours didn't really click with the reading until he was about 6 or 7, I think. I was so nervous about that! Now I can switch my nervousness to math.  :-)

 

He really doesn't want to be TAUGHT math (and who can blame him), yet with no evidence of self-teaching going on it is easy to get nervous. He sort of refuses to do those everyday things that one needs math for (cooking is "boring" and with regards to his allowance and saving up for/buying toys, he just throws up his hands....but we have been guilty of rescuing him, which will stop.) He has told me (as we bid the math tutor goodbye) that he wants to teach himself. I'm all on board with that and now want to find some good resources and/or books or games that he can have and just pick up and work with whenever he wants. I ordered two things from Amazon today:

 

--a "Math Shark" learning toy and

--a copy of "Homeschooling our Children, Unschooling Ourselves" because clearly I need it.

 

 



Yes this is tough sometimes isn't it! I like your idea about the "tool box" it's basically so true isn't it? my guy will do math, it's just the reading! But when you think about it if you want to teach yourself how to do math you at least have to know how to read ;) 

I will check out that book you ordered, perhaps I need it as well!

post #5 of 29

My eldest boy is about to be 18. We unschooled for several years, he attended a Waldorf school for a couple years, then homeschooled with support thru our local charter school and now he is a senior on campus of the same school. He was NEVER interested in reading (I and my next two boys were all self taught early readers). I held the position that he would learn when he was ready and reassured myself with stories of kids who didn't read till 10 or 12 or 16 even. While in the Waldorf school, he was evaluated and determined to have some learning issues with reading. Since he has been in a more regular school system, I have tried to get him some more assistance but they haven't been able to do anything particularly helpful, just kind of inch him along towards graduation. He gets by, but will probably never be proficient or derive great pleasure from reading. I say all this not to discourage you from trying, by all means, don't deprive him, but  #1, he may need some real help/tutoring by someone who knows about specific issues (not what we have in mind when we choose unschooling, but sometimes necessary) and  #2 he may need to focus more on his strengths and interests as he grows (what we do like about unschooling smile.gif). My son is great with anything hands on, he has an innate sense about music (I am NOT musical) and he has a very high "social intelligence" (also not my strong suit), so while it would be good if he was more of a reader (I totally agree with your last sentence), he seems to have a different path and different methods to get where he is going. For all he doesn't read, he gets out and actually DOES, which is great. Make sense?

Good luck with it, I really do empathize.

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

Anyone else have any suggestions?

post #7 of 29

One big question is, do you want to stick with ideas in the unschooling vein, or try other ideas somewhere outside of that?  These kinds of issues can really test the resolve of unschooling parents.  Where do you find yourself now?

post #8 of 29

In an unschooling light:  what activity/ skill/ hobby with inspire him to read?  Maybe we're not talking literature here.  You might never convince him to sit down and read a good work of fiction, or critically acclaimed non-fiction, but you could entice him to do some functional reading if he's doing something motivating.  Robotics, for example.  Also a good idea: let him loose with this activity and let another trusted adult gently mentor him.  Kids can be like brick walls around their own parents.  Like you haven't noticed! thumb.gif

post #9 of 29

I've shared this before, but with my later reader, "not reading" became part of her self-identity.  She seemed to believe that reading was just not something she'd ever do well, and so she was very reluctant to try, because who wants to work at something and not succeed, KWIM?

 

We ended up trying a few different programs-- Time4Learning, ReadingEggs, and finally ProgressivePhonics.  ProgressivePhonics.com is a completely free website with primers you can either download and printout or read on the computer.  The primers have funny little stories, and the child only reads the large red words on the page-- you would read the rest.  So it takes a lot of the pressure off, and lets the stories be a little more interesting than "Fat cat sat on mat".

 

I did have to announce to my dd that we would be working on reading every day.  She didn't always like it, but it was only 10 minutes or less, so it wasn't a huge struggle.  In a few months, she was able to do basic reading on her own, and she has built on that over the last year and half, and now reads about grade level and enjoys it.

 

In addition to trying some kind of formal program, have you had his eyes checked?  Also, here's a list of dyslexia symptoms: http://www.dyslexia.com/library/symptoms.htm

 

Best of luck.  I know how hard this is!

post #10 of 29

I am bribing my daughter.  Yeah, very non USy - but whatever works.  Reading is important.

 

DD, my soon to be 9 yr old, can read, but rarely does.  

 

She would like an allowance - so I have decided to link it to reading for now.  1$ per small book, 2$ for bigger ones.  It has a cap of 10$ per month.

I am going to do this for a few months - and then maybe morph into a reading for charity program - such as MS Readathon, or this organisation:

 

:http://www.wegivebooks.org/

 

I have also taken to reading alongside her.  I literally invite her upstair, we cuddle up under the blankets, and read.  

 

Hopefully the above will help her catch the reading bug!

 

You can also try books on tape (maybe get him sneakily hooked on an easy series - then start getting him the paper format) as well as books online, such as Tumblebooks.  Tumblebooks is free through with my library card (Ontario)  - check out what online free books your library offers for kids.

 

http://www.tumblebooks.com/library/asp/customer_login.asp?accessdenied=%2Flibrary%2Fasp%2Fhome%5Ftumblebooks%2Easp


Edited by purslaine - 11/7/11 at 2:31pm
post #11 of 29

Kathy-- what seemed to really help my daughter break through was a book club.  She would read the books because she wanted to fit in during the discussion, and it got her to practice and improve her skills, and also exposed her to better books than what she was choosing on her own, so she could see the point to reading.  So many of those "fun" books people put out that are supposed to appeal to reluctant readers are such junk, they aren't worth the effort to read, at least for her, but she'd picked up on the implication that those "other" books were worse than the "fun" books, and wouldn't consider them.

 

I'd definitely recommend starting a book club, if the idea is even remotely appealing.

post #12 of 29

As far as reading motivation goes, how about video games? They often have enough text to make an inability to read frustrating, but unlike a book, they can still be fun for a non-reader. He'll play them and thin, "This is fun... but I can tell it would be more fun if I could read...." It really motivated me when I was a kid. (Twice, in fact! Once with my native language, and later with Japanese. Actually, another game I've been playing recently has made me really tempted to pick up some Russian...) And video games tend to have much more interesting stories than books that are written at a low reading level.

 

Other games have a lot of voice acting in the story scenes, but still have subtitles on screen. Maybe that would interest him too.

post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

Just came back to read the replies, thank you everyone SO much!.

I'm exhausted right now but I will come back tomorrow and reply everyone's ideas individually!

 

Thanks love.gif

post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyllya View Post

As far as reading motivation goes, how about video games?


And a similar idea would be board or card games.  For ex. my friend's 9yo ds has become much more interested (and fluent) in reading since getting hooked on Pokemon cards (collecting them and gaming with them), as you need to be able to read about special attacks and attributes etc on each card as you play.

 

For a fantastic resource on all things gaming check out boardgamegeek.com (reviews of games, forums to ask advice, etc).

 

ETA - OP, by coincidence the aforementioned son of my friend also went to Waldorf school all in French here in Montreal (I think it's the only Waldorf school in the city?) - your ds didn't by any chance go to the same school did he???

post #15 of 29

We have some friends that have an 11 year old who was not reading and they decided to give Explode The Code a chance.  They use the computer based program and have had huge success. We know another family that has used the book based program with their 7 and 8 year old and have seen huge improvements as well.  It supposed to be about 15mins of self paced discovery.  I have never seen it, but it may be worth looking into.  Good Luck mama

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jess in hawaii View Post

My eldest boy is about to be 18. We unschooled for several years, he attended a Waldorf school for a couple years, then homeschooled with support thru our local charter school and now he is a senior on campus of the same school. He was NEVER interested in reading (I and my next two boys were all self taught early readers). I held the position that he would learn when he was ready and reassured myself with stories of kids who didn't read till 10 or 12 or 16 even. While in the Waldorf school, he was evaluated and determined to have some learning issues with reading. Since he has been in a more regular school system, I have tried to get him some more assistance but they haven't been able to do anything particularly helpful, just kind of inch him along towards graduation. He gets by, but will probably never be proficient or derive great pleasure from reading. I say all this not to discourage you from trying, by all means, don't deprive him, but  #1, he may need some real help/tutoring by someone who knows about specific issues (not what we have in mind when we choose unschooling, but sometimes necessary) and  #2 he may need to focus more on his strengths and interests as he grows (what we do like about unschooling smile.gif). My son is great with anything hands on, he has an innate sense about music (I am NOT musical) and he has a very high "social intelligence" (also not my strong suit), so while it would be good if he was more of a reader (I totally agree with your last sentence), he seems to have a different path and different methods to get where he is going. For all he doesn't read, he gets out and actually DOES, which is great. Make sense?

Good luck with it, I really do empathize.


This is the basic view I wanted to express. YoungSon, 15 with dyslexia, couldn't really read at all till last year. It is still not much of a pleasure for him. I occassionally mourn the loss for him in his future, but reading will never be fun for him. We tried specialized tutors and many programs over the years. Don't give up, but remember that he will provide the motivation on his own schedule. I would occassionally offer help (programs, tutors, or whatever)but try not to let it become an issue.

 

post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

One big question is, do you want to stick with ideas in the unschooling vein, or try other ideas somewhere outside of that?  These kinds of issues can really test the resolve of unschooling parents.  Where do you find yourself now?


I think we definitely want to stick with "unschooling" we are a very laid back family and we don't like rigid schedules or guidelines.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

In an unschooling light:  what activity/ skill/ hobby with inspire him to read?  Maybe we're not talking literature here.  You might never convince him to sit down and read a good work of fiction, or critically acclaimed non-fiction, but you could entice him to do some functional reading if he's doing something motivating.  Robotics, for example.  Also a good idea: let him loose with this activity and let another trusted adult gently mentor him.  Kids can be like brick walls around their own parents.  Like you haven't noticed! thumb.gif


Yes he is very very into video games, lego.. building things. So all good ideas.

And yes, he does seem like a brick wall sometimes! eyesroll.gif

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post

I've shared this before, but with my later reader, "not reading" became part of her self-identity.  She seemed to believe that reading was just not something she'd ever do well, and so she was very reluctant to try, because who wants to work at something and not succeed, KWIM?

 

We ended up trying a few different programs-- Time4Learning, ReadingEggs, and finally ProgressivePhonics.  ProgressivePhonics.com is a completely free website with primers you can either download and printout or read on the computer.  The primers have funny little stories, and the child only reads the large red words on the page-- you would read the rest.  So it takes a lot of the pressure off, and lets the stories be a little more interesting than "Fat cat sat on mat".

 

I did have to announce to my dd that we would be working on reading every day.  She didn't always like it, but it was only 10 minutes or less, so it wasn't a huge struggle.  In a few months, she was able to do basic reading on her own, and she has built on that over the last year and half, and now reads about grade level and enjoys it.

 

In addition to trying some kind of formal program, have you had his eyes checked?  Also, here's a list of dyslexia symptoms: http://www.dyslexia.com/library/symptoms.htm

 

Best of luck.  I know how hard this is!



His eyes are ok, they have been checked.. he's not dyslexic just supremely stubborn :)



Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I am bribing my daughter.  Yeah, very non USy - but whatever works.  Reading is important.

 

DD, my soon to be 9 yr old, can read, but rarely does.  

 

She would like an allowance - so I have decided to link it to reading for now.  1$ per small book, 2$ for bigger ones.  It has a cap of 10$ per month.

I am going to do this for a few months - and then maybe morph into a reading for charity program - such as MS Readathon, or this organisation:

 

:http://www.wegivebooks.org/

 

I have also taken to reading alongside her.  I literally invite her upstair, we cuddle up under the blankets, and read.  

 

Hopefully the above will help her catch the reading bug!

 

You can also try books on tape (maybe get him sneakily hooked on an easy series - then start getting him the paper format) as well as books online, such as Tumblebooks.  Tumblebooks is free through with my library card (Ontario)  - check out what online free books your library offers for kids.

 

http://www.tumblebooks.com/library/asp/customer_login.asp?accessdenied=%2Flibrary%2Fasp%2Fhome%5Ftumblebooks%2Easp



The allowance idea is a good one, his recent interest is money and collecting and counting coins he finds around the house. 

He would probably be very motivated by that as he likes saving money to buy things he wants.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyllya View Post

As far as reading motivation goes, how about video games? They often have enough text to make an inability to read frustrating, but unlike a book, they can still be fun for a non-reader. He'll play them and thin, "This is fun... but I can tell it would be more fun if I could read...." It really motivated me when I was a kid. (Twice, in fact! Once with my native language, and later with Japanese. Actually, another game I've been playing recently has made me really tempted to pick up some Russian...) And video games tend to have much more interesting stories than books that are written at a low reading level.

 

Other games have a lot of voice acting in the story scenes, but still have subtitles on screen. Maybe that would interest him too.



Right his frustration IS coming from video games, he plays a few of them and gets stuck when he cannot read what's going on.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post


And a similar idea would be board or card games.  For ex. my friend's 9yo ds has become much more interested (and fluent) in reading since getting hooked on Pokemon cards (collecting them and gaming with them), as you need to be able to read about special attacks and attributes etc on each card as you play.

 

For a fantastic resource on all things gaming check out boardgamegeek.com (reviews of games, forums to ask advice, etc).

 

ETA - OP, by coincidence the aforementioned son of my friend also went to Waldorf school all in French here in Montreal (I think it's the only Waldorf school in the city?) - your ds didn't by any chance go to the same school did he???



Yes that is the school he went to. 

Was NOT very impressed to be honest it felt like tuition down the drain, at the end of year he could not even write his own name! 

Yes Pokemon.. he loves those!

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2mama View Post

We have some friends that have an 11 year old who was not reading and they decided to give Explode The Code a chance.  They use the computer based program and have had huge success. We know another family that has used the book based program with their 7 and 8 year old and have seen huge improvements as well.  It supposed to be about 15mins of self paced discovery.  I have never seen it, but it may be worth looking into.  Good Luck mama


I've heard of explode the code before! I should check it out...

 

post #18 of 29

A year ago, my son was still asking me to read bits on computer games, or those pokemon ds games which have quite a lot of reading.  He is reading very nicely now (at age 10 1/4), but not actually reading books yet.  He gets overwhelmed or maybe has trouble tracking a whole page of text.  But he has started reading graphic novels on his own which is very exciting to me.  I always read to him before bed but he was eager to read what happened next in this graphic novel series and started picking them up and reading during the day.  My unschooled niece didn't really settle down with books until she was 10, either.

 

Last year, sometimes I would set magazines or catalogs of interest in the back seat where he would ride.  I'd just leave them there without comment.  I was impressed when he started reading snippets aloud.  It's always been hard to figure out how well he can do something (like read) since he doesn't like to demonstrate knowledge of things he isn't sure about.  So strewing the magazines and catalogs was good because they were mostly pictures so he would have found them interesting to look at even if he couldn't read them.  But it turns out that he could.  And it was a no pressure situation since no one was watching him or anything.

 

One of the first books a friend of ours read was the Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  I don't personally care for the series but I do like how the author breaks up all the paragraphs with sketches in between.  It really keeps the text from looking overwhelming to kids like ds.

post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

A year ago, my son was still asking me to read bits on computer games, or those pokemon ds games which have quite a lot of reading.  He is reading very nicely now (at age 10 1/4), but not actually reading books yet.  He gets overwhelmed or maybe has trouble tracking a whole page of text.  But he has started reading graphic novels on his own which is very exciting to me.  I always read to him before bed but he was eager to read what happened next in this graphic novel series and started picking them up and reading during the day.  My unschooled niece didn't really settle down with books until she was 10, either.

I want to second the graphic novels.  Word bubbles and lots of pictures were *the* kickstart to my daughter's motivation to read.  Comics collections, especially Garfield.  I've written before about her saying the sounds while I read some of the longer text.  Same for the GNs--I would read the narration and she would read the word bubbles.  Catalogs, too, but she reads them to find out how much the toys are.  She used to love secret code puzzles, especially if the answer was a joke.
 

 

post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yummymummy74 View Post

Right his frustration IS coming from video games, he plays a few of them and gets stuck when he cannot read what's going on.


Most moms would happily spend an hour a day teaching reading to a receptive child. So how about sitting with him for an hour a day while he plays video games, reading out the stuff he's struggling with? Take up knitting or cross-stitching, or read your own novel, or do sudokus or something if you don't want to follow every moment of game-play, but be there as his "reader." Give him the prompts he needs, read the text aloud when he asks. Help him connect words on-screen with meaning in his game play. Don't be all teachy about it unless he seems to want that. Just read aloud what he asks you to do. Chances are he'll ask for less and less help as he begins recognizing the words you've read frequently to him.

 

Early reading programs for later readers rely on three components: text that is meaningful to the learner, a format that is motivating to him, and text that has a tendency to be repetitive. Video game text gets three for three on this count, I would say. 

 

Miranda

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Unschooling
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › Need some help in an unschooling frump.