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#1 of 13 Old 07-06-2011, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am totally clueless at this point I have put severalposts up regarding this subject, but nothing has changed on our end.  My almost 7 yr old DD refuses to do anything that she may even think might be considered learning, schooly type of work.  We have tried several on line programs video games, we have tons of curricuclum, none of which is being used.  I am trying to help her read because all her peers are reading (all of which are homeschooled) but she refuses, I know that she is familiar with words , cat hat sat eyc but she is unable to open a book and read or atleast states she can't she is unable to read directions on a new toy or game.  I dont know what to do, she is starting to shy away from her once friends because she is i guess embarrased she isnt reading, We do not make a big deal about it, becasue we don;t want that exact thing to happen, but it is happening now.  I try to help her out but she refuses and just want s to do her own thing, which we do allow.  It is almost like she is rebelling against anything that she feels as though would be considered lessons ( I know she is learning everyday but what I am talking about) is lesson type of learning examples are reading practicing her writting, learning about history ( 4th of july) learning how to add, subtract etc...

 

i would love to hear from you who have experienced this same thing and any others who could give me some advice on what I should do , if anything :) thank you!

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#2 of 13 Old 07-06-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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Many kids IN school are barely starting to read at that age.  I remember being in 1st grade and having to memorize lists of words.  I was 6 1/2 and reading was making no sense to me WITH conventional schooling.  That reassured me when ds turned out to be a late reader.  What I did with him was simply answer his questions whenever he asked what something said.  He gradually asked me less and less.  One issue was that he would become very resistant to any kind of manipulation (trying to get him to sound it out or guess words based on phonic clues).  Another issue was that he hated to demonstrate any knowledge he wasn't sure about (a touch of perfectionism). 

 

Also, I noticed was that games and activities designed to be educational were often poorly designed.  The child has to do things in a very specific order, get everything right to proceed, etc.  Games designed to be fun, are just as educational but less tedious and more appealing.  Many computer games have the player earning or accruing points which are then used to buy equipment.  They provide plenty of adding and subtracting.  My ds started out with just the general idea of some numbers being bigger than others and getting a sense of place value.  So he wouldn't calculate to the penny, so to speak, but he would get a good sense of the numbers in a more approximate way.  As he has matured and developed, he started using them more precisely.

 

I would read to my ds every night before bed.  I'd pick books with his enjoyment in mind.  Sometimes he'd putter and do other things while I read.  Sometimes he'd lie next to me and even pick out letters or words on the page of text.  I think he liked to pretend the text was a maze and trace through the spaces with his eyes.  But he'd notice things while he did that.  And he'd work out things in his own mind.  He'd be able to look at a word and see if he was right when I'd get to it.  So he could check his knowledge in a private way.  Once in a while I'd trace my finger along but I stopped because that gets tiresome and ds found it a bit annoying.  But he got good with following along, regardless.


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#3 of 13 Old 07-06-2011, 06:15 PM
 
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We are not having issues with a late-blooming reader as you are, but I did see that my daughter's  ability preceded her actual reading by a long time, at least year and a half if not more.  Clearly she recognized what words were for, she knew her alphabet and their sounds, knew what letters began each word, and recognized a few words but she had no desire to actually begin to read.  She, too, hated anything that resembled a lesson, including following the words with my finger.  (Also it was distracting.)

     What finally pushed her to reading for herself was graphic novels and comics: anything with word "bubbles".  She has little patience for phonics, and this approach can be mind-numbingly dull at times.  Obviously, sounding out some words is necessary and she is slowing down a little on those words.  Mostly she reads by sight.  

     Good luck.  Every day is a learning day, even for parents.  It's hard to know when to back off enough or when your input is welcome.  I think this issue looms so much larger for unschooling families than it does for more structured homeschoolers.  

     

 

 


"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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#4 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 06:07 AM
 
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If you are looking for an unschooling perspective, the first point is that "almost 7" is way too early to start "worrying" about reading. A couple of years from now, maybe, and there are stories of late bloomers that make me think they waited till just the right time.  But at this point I would not even call your dd late. 

 

The fact that you have curriculum lying unused or that her friends are reading is irrelevant to when she will start reading.  There is something to the idea that we have an internal clock ...

 

I say this, but I admit that when my 7 year old was not writing I worried about it.  She pretty much knew all the letters (though she got some backwards), but any attempt to write a sentence or even a few words was met with resistance.   Though I am not a hard-core unschooler by nature, I had to take a leaf from that book and stop thinking about it.  I mean really stop, not only stop talking about it but also stop thinking about it.  Sure enough, one fine day she showed me a two-page story that she had written.

 

What are the things your dd enjoys doing?  If you can find some of those that you too find interesting and put more energy in to them, I think that would be a good way for you to feel confident that

- she is using her senses, developing thinking skills, etc

- she is getting better at something she likes

- she is gaining confidence in her ability to learn

 

and if it is anything involving physical work then there is an added plus.  Getting out to museums and parks and swimming pools is probably a better use of the summer.  All those signs that are around everywhere will also quietly invite her to the world of reading.

 

personally, I think that once we learn to read we tend to depend on reading a lot - and those early years where we depend on our own senses should be cultivated to the fullest. 

 

all the best :-)


relaxed-unschooler mama to dd (2003). hoping for second one. love being a mama!!
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#5 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 08:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cheery View Post

 

personally, I think that once we learn to read we tend to depend on reading a lot - and those early years where we depend on our own senses should be cultivated to the fullest. 

 

all the best :-)


That is so true.  I'd be there reading the directions for something, getting bogged down in the words.  Meanwhile, ds would be looking at the pieces and putting the thing together.  Or we'd be on the bus and I'd be reading signs while he is paying attention to other things and navigating just as well.  Once you are reading fluently, you start reading all the words that cross your eyes and it limits your observations of other things.  You read the directions instead of figuring it out on your own.  There's value to both but the skills developed by pre-readers aren't valued enough, imo.  There is such an emphasis on reading young and skipping over all those wonderful opportunities to learn in other ways.

 


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#6 of 13 Old 07-08-2011, 08:48 PM
 
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Saying this gently ....

 

It sounds like you entered into unschooling in the expectation that your dd would naturally choose to learn more or less what you thought she should learn, on more or less the same schedule as you expected it. It's not like that. If you give a child autonomy over her learning you can pretty much be guaranteed that what she will choose to do with that autonomy will differ from your expectations in some pretty fundamental respects. If you really believe in unschooling as a philosophy, rather than just as a kinder gentler way to get a traditional education, you'll need to get over your expectations. Your dd will not do things on the "normal" schedule, or in the normal order. She will not necessarily start reading at 6. She will not necessarily respond to mini-lectures on American history with smiling attentiveness. If you're in the habit of trying to sneak little things into her life to satisfy your educational agenda for her, she'll get really good at sniffing them out. She'll be like the kid who once discovered his parents trying to hide broccoli in his pasta sauce ... suspicious of everything, always looking out for sneaky attempts to hide vitamins in favourite food.

 

My older three kids have really high autonomy needs and have always been very sensitive to attempts to sneak my own learning agenda in. Through stubborn refusal, eye-rolling and simply ignoring such attempts they taught me to let go of my agenda and trust theirs. Reading between the lines it sounds like your dd is trying to teach you the same lesson: "Don't try to control my learning. Trust me to be in charge of it myself."

 

Rather than trying to dress learning to read up in all sorts of games and lessons and attempts to help her catch up with her peers, make a deal with yourself to just let it go for six months. Instead of trying to engage her in what you want her to be learning, spend your energy observing what she is actually learning. Observe without interfering but observe keenly and carefully, with your mind wide open. Record what you notice, whether in a note-book, with a camera, on a blog or a word document. Play a mind-game with yourself: imagine yourself writing a report to your school district, making the case that your homeschooling is providing her with the rich and supportive environment your daughter needs in order to thrive, giving her opportunities to learn in her way, driven by her interests and learning style. Write down whatever you see that supports that spin on it. Change your outlook. See the learning in play and chatter and daily life. Support, rather than prod.

 

I can pretty much guarantee that within a couple of weeks of making an effort at regular reflective observation and cumulative journaling you will be getting a much more positive view of how and what she is learning. You will no longer need to worry so much that she's not learning what you expect, because you'll appreciate all the unexpected things she is learning. And as you see her pouring her enthusiasms in this direction or that, you can gradually start thinking of ways to support her learning. NOT ways to direct and redirect her interests so that she learns what you want her to learn, but ways to feed her enthusiasms because they excite her.

 

If you feel she's close to being able to learn to read but just isn't motivated to do so, is resistant to the instruction, you need to recognize that the only way for her to get motivated in an unschooling paradigm is to motivate herself. You can't do it. You probably just need get out of the way. She needs to feel it is her choice before she'll want to do it. She needs to "own" her own learning. Autonomy is very important to some kids. It may take her some time with the pressure completely off for her to feel like she can come to it of her own accord. 

 

Good luck!

 

miranda


Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#7 of 13 Old 07-09-2011, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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omg that so sounds just like my DD!  You got it, your right...  As soon as she thinks I am even trying to sneak some learning in, she shuts down and walks off to another room, amazing, that is why i love asking for advice from the experience of others, so helpful. thanks for replying and I am going to take your advice ,chill out and watch it happen =)
 

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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Saying this gently ....

 

It sounds like you entered into unschooling in the expectation that your dd would naturally choose to learn more or less what you thought she should learn, on more or less the same schedule as you expected it. It's not like that. If you give a child autonomy over her learning you can pretty much be guaranteed that what she will choose to do with that autonomy will differ from your expectations in some pretty fundamental respects. If you really believe in unschooling as a philosophy, rather than just as a kinder gentler way to get a traditional education, you'll need to get over your expectations. Your dd will not do things on the "normal" schedule, or in the normal order. She will not necessarily start reading at 6. She will not necessarily respond to mini-lectures on American history with smiling attentiveness. If you're in the habit of trying to sneak little things into her life to satisfy your educational agenda for her, she'll get really good at sniffing them out. She'll be like the kid who once discovered his parents trying to hide broccoli in his pasta sauce ... suspicious of everything, always looking out for sneaky attempts to hide vitamins in favourite food.

 

My older three kids have really high autonomy needs and have always been very sensitive to attempts to sneak my own learning agenda in. Through stubborn refusal, eye-rolling and simply ignoring such attempts they taught me to let go of my agenda and trust theirs. Reading between the lines it sounds like your dd is trying to teach you the same lesson: "Don't try to control my learning. Trust me to be in charge of it myself."

 

Rather than trying to dress learning to read up in all sorts of games and lessons and attempts to help her catch up with her peers, make a deal with yourself to just let it go for six months. Instead of trying to engage her in what you want her to be learning, spend your energy observing what she is actually learning. Observe without interfering but observe keenly and carefully, with your mind wide open. Record what you notice, whether in a note-book, with a camera, on a blog or a word document. Play a mind-game with yourself: imagine yourself writing a report to your school district, making the case that your homeschooling is providing her with the rich and supportive environment your daughter needs in order to thrive, giving her opportunities to learn in her way, driven by her interests and learning style. Write down whatever you see that supports that spin on it. Change your outlook. See the learning in play and chatter and daily life. Support, rather than prod.

 

I can pretty much guarantee that within a couple of weeks of making an effort at regular reflective observation and cumulative journaling you will be getting a much more positive view of how and what she is learning. You will no longer need to worry so much that she's not learning what you expect, because you'll appreciate all the unexpected things she is learning. And as you see her pouring her enthusiasms in this direction or that, you can gradually start thinking of ways to support her learning. NOT ways to direct and redirect her interests so that she learns what you want her to learn, but ways to feed her enthusiasms because they excite her.

 

If you feel she's close to being able to learn to read but just isn't motivated to do so, is resistant to the instruction, you need to recognize that the only way for her to get motivated in an unschooling paradigm is to motivate herself. You can't do it. You probably just need get out of the way. She needs to feel it is her choice before she'll want to do it. She needs to "own" her own learning. Autonomy is very important to some kids. It may take her some time with the pressure completely off for her to feel like she can come to it of her own accord. 

 

Good luck!

 

miranda



 

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#8 of 13 Old 07-12-2011, 04:13 PM
 
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I have just read an article about engagement in relation to home educating.

 

The writer says that not destroying a child's engagement with the world might be the defining characteristic of home education and be the most significant reason why autonomous learning is so much more successful than schooling.

 

He talks about that spark of interest a child might have, a tug of curiosity or passion that draws them in and leaves them wanting more. If children are engaged in something of their own choosing, they become lost in the experience and don't need prodding. The more you try to force engagement, the effort used up in doing things they don't want to do reduces their energy for engaging with things they *are* interested in.

 

Why should she be interested in adding up numbers on paper? Or reading about history? At 7, my dd was not interested in the opinions of the writers of the world; she was far more interested in telling people what *she* thought about the world. As she has realised that there are in fact things that she doesn't know and would like to find out more about, she has taken to reading books to find out stuff. She has been welded to a book she heard about on tv called "Do Igloos have Loos?" Last month she read Horrible Histories every day and told us all about the horrible things that the Greeks or Romans or Saxons used to get up to. She is 8 and a half now and is a happy reader because she wants to read.

 

This writer I was reading suggests that we need to keep our children's engagement intact so that they are still raring to go when they come up against the big stuff of life. I thin khe is right which I s why I won't be expending energy trying to make my children learn anything. Someone please remind me of this if I freak out in a couple of years' time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#9 of 13 Old 12-22-2011, 05:23 AM
 
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I have just read an article about engagement in relation to home educating.

 

The writer says that not destroying a child's engagement with the world might be the defining characteristic of home education and be the most significant reason why autonomous learning is so much more successful than schooling.

 

That sounds like an interesting article! Do you remember its name, or where you read it? Would love to read it!
 

 

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#10 of 13 Old 12-22-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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It was an essay in a book called Free Range Education by Terri Dowty which was published here in the UK ten years or so ago but I'm not sure you can get it elsewhere. If you haven't read Moving a Puddle already you can find similarly thoughtful and stimulating essays in that book.

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#11 of 13 Old 12-22-2011, 08:26 PM
 
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I bought a large white-board that sticks on the wall (repositionable, like post-it notes) and it was the best idea ever. My son doesn't like formal "lessons" either but he does love to learn about the world around him, and to be competent & all that. And I can't help but want to help things along. So I write stuff up there for him to see, no pressure. He's curious so he checks it out.

 

Also, if we were reading or had occasion to talk about a word or how it's spelled, I would go up and write not only THAT word but a bunch that were spelled similarly. So he could see the pattern. Actually we did that today. Recently, my son (8) had done a comic in which he tried to write the word "psyched" but sort of mangled it. I don't correct his spelling when I look at his comics; I don't want to dampen his enthusiasm. Today, (days later) in the car while dad pumped gas, I thought of that word so I wrote a few like that on a little notepad, to show him the pattern, and handed it to him:

 

psy.chol.o.gy

psy.chi.a.try

psy.chic

psy.cho

psy.ched

 

And I said "psy" has that silent p. It's Greek. Can you sound out the words now that you know that? And he did. End of story. All very casual, on the fly. I do this all the time. I sprinkle words throughout the day, as they fit in with what we're doing. No pressure, no drilling, no copying. I write his misspelled words (correctly spelled) up on the white board and he can read them when he walks past the white board. At his leisure. Sometimes I will put up a sentence or a math problem up on the white board and ask him to spot my mistake. He regards this as fun, finding my errors.

 

Once in a while I will say, just humor me. I am going to do something on the white board. Just watch! (and literally I do something that takes 5 minutes or less). I say, don't do anything, just watch. (Because he sometimes tries to do math, and then being a perfectionist, gets all emotional and upset. So I say Just Watch! So at some point watching me do it, it will "click" with him) I do this with math because I consider it a "toolbox" item (we are not pure unschoolers as you can see). He watches me do the math but can't just WATCH for long. Soon he goes "ooh ooh let me try it." But had I insisted that he try it in the first place? He wouldve shot me down.

 

So my advice would be to sprinkle the learning here and there, as it comes up in the course of your day. We unschool-y types sort of never get "time off" from facilitating the learning because unlike kids in school, we're doing it 24/7. But for kids who resist formal boring drills & all that, it's the best way.  :-)

 

I hope that wasn't too incoherent. I am exhausted. Utterly exhausted today. A day in the city at a museum, walking all around the city, then hours of Christmas shopping. I am ready to croak but wanted to chime in because that white board was a GREAT purchase that I'm so glad I made. And I hate the idea of hanging big heavy boards so when I saw the removable stick-on whiteboard at Staples I was very happy.

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#12 of 13 Old 12-23-2011, 03:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by orangefoot View Post

It was an essay in a book called Free Range Education by Terri Dowty which was published here in the UK ten years or so ago but I'm not sure you can get it elsewhere. If you haven't read Moving a Puddle already you can find similarly thoughtful and stimulating essays in that book.


Awesome, thanks - will check it out!

 

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#13 of 13 Old 01-27-2012, 07:18 AM
 
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FWIW, when there is something I can't let go, my kids respond better to my sitting down and saying "I'd like for us to start working on X.  There are a lot of different ways we could do that, what do you think?" and then working out an approach with them, instead of trying to sneak it in as something "fun."  But often the best thing to do is take a step back and give the child some time.  There is a developmental component to reading that is hard to push.

 

I have a child who didn't take off with reading until @7 1/2.  I know it's difficult to deal with--  it's so easy to be theoretically ok with a kid not reading until 9 or something, but when it's your kid, and you're faced with family pressure and your own doubts and all the rest of the social pressure to "keep up", it's just hard.  hug2.gif  

 

Best wishes!

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