DS is an emerging reader and ready for more. So far he has taught himself, with us just answering his questions, and I want to keep it that way for a variety of reasons. One of which is that having him enter 1st grade early in fall (by cut-off, he should be a kindergartner) is the only acceleration I can get him, there is no high ability or gifted programming until 5th grade, and he'll have to sit through reading instruction no matter what So while I would love to accelerate the process, having him too far ahead of his classmates will just lead to frustration on his part and probably get me in trouble with his 1st grade teacher. (Our schools aren't big on differentiation).
So I let him play around on starfall, the free stuff of which is too easy for him and won't get him much further in reading or math but has the added benefit that it's English instruction, which is not his first language. (Come 3rd grade, he'll have to sit through English instruction in school too, but for some reason working ahead on foreign languages is acceptable, while instruction in reading and math would be "pushing" and "trying to create an unfair advantage". No I don't get it either, it's just the predominant culture where I live.)
DS has complained that the stuff I let him do is too easy, that it's "just games" and "not real learning" and that I won't give him reading lessons. I told him he'll have those in school come 1st grade anyway and until then he can practice by himself as much as he wants ("so you won't help me?" - "sure I'll help you, but there's no point in giving you lessons now if you get them in school anyway, right?". No idea what I'll do if early entry doesn't come through, we'll know in early April only and he'll have to wait until school starts in mid-September to start out with the letter A or whatever) . We're trying to keep him busy with violin and swim classes, and DH is giving him "drawing lessons" and I answer his detailed question on phonics and then tell him to go find words with that spelling in one his books to practice on by himself. Which I suppose is reading instruction only we can all pretend to his 1st grade teacher that it wasn't.
So my idea is to feed his hunger for learning on the computer with free online stuff that will divert him towards English aquisition as opposed to accelerate the reading process. Any ideas?
DH says that I am way overthinking this and by September he'll read fluently anyway, no matter what we do, and we'll just have to cross that bridge as we come to it. Looking at it like this, I should probably just pay for the starfall subscription for a year and let him go to town and to heck with what the 1st grade teacher will think.