I guess me being interested in this thread comes from my worry that, when academics in their most boring form are set way ahead of other forms of literacy learning, say free play (read: story telling). The kids are done a disservice. They may read early, but will they tell a great story, will they be critical thinkers and problem solvers?
One advantage to reading early in school is that class size increases as they age, reliance on homework and tests as the main assessments of learning increase every year. It's told that underprivileged kids benefit from the early learning and I imagine assessment of any learning disabilities as well. That way, they don't fall through the cracks when class size increases and kids are increasingly in charge of their own output. It might even flag them for one on one attention from aides who can work with them specifically on the needs that have been identified.
I know that's just the current model. Homeschoolers can ignore all that. There is no pressure to have a certain skill level by a certain age. Assessments can be done in all kinds of formal and informal ways. Homeschooling can be more hands on, and consequently not lean as much on literacy skills. Mild forms of reading disabilities can be worked through.
Since I last posted, my youngest, now 7yo, is reading a wide variety of books. Usually non-fiction. She reads to her animals, and she really loves it. My oldest, now nearly 9yo, still doesn't read for fun. She does read because she *wants to know something*, and that might be how it will be forever, or she might learn to love it more when it comes as natural as walking does. Some kids will never love reading as a pastime. Others will pick it up later. My now 30-yo nephew "discovered" the book store when he was 26!
Well now I've been posting on this and have forgotten what the OP was all about. Off to reread.
BTW: Follow up. "Knee" was once pronounced "ca-NAY". The printing press helped standardize spelling (well, sort of) and "freeze" words in their old forms while the pronunciation changed. (Same for "knight", etc.) Positive outcome: we are able to read centuries-old English writings with very little help. Negative outcome: the need for memorizing sight words. One book I read since I commented last called English the most "Chinese" of European languages, due to the sheer number of (now) non-phonetic spellings which need to be read more like pictographs than a series of sounds.