On the other hand, sometimes people pipe up and say that they feel that their child might not find his own way to reading or math. Some say this after allowing time for them to do so - but often no matter how old their particular child is, someone on the internet will come forward and say, well my child didn't read till age [a number that is higher than what the OP posted].
Recently dd learned to ride a bicycle - she had been trying without training wheels (and having me first hold and then let go) for a couple of years, on and off, to no avail. She lost interest as well. Then I came up with a different method, and she learned pretty quickly.
I think what I learned from this experience is: dd needed some very step by step instruction to learn to ride a bicycle. (And also a bit of a push from me.) Similarly, other children might in fact need step by step instruction to learn to read or do math. Unschoolers aren't opposed to instruction but tend to leave the ball in the child's court to seek out that instruction.
Real life did not create a demand for my daughter to learn to ride her bicycle. Of course, once she learned, our opportunities expanded. But we did not wait for the day that she felt limited by her inability to cycle and then take steps to fill the demand.
I would like to hear your thoughts.