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#1 of 41 Old 10-05-2011, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a son who will be 7 in November and is showing no interest at all in learning to read or write. He can write his name in capital letters. Anything other than that he will NOT do. He does however like to say the ABC's skipping a few here and their. He does not recognize letters, he does love to count and i hear him counting to himself through out the day.

I am worried that he show's no interest in wanting to do anything schoolish at all.

My 3yo is showing a huge interest in learning to read, he sounds out letter sounds and loves startfall.

I am also concerned about what family will say about him. We have been out of the USA for quite sometime and we are planning a return in the next few months. I really do want to work with him more, but he refuses all my attempts.

Am i doing something wrong?

Have I not done enough?

 

 


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#2 of 41 Old 10-05-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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Sounds like you have a normal boy to me!

 

My oldest son will be 9 this month, and is just really starting to get the hang of reading. He's not reading books yet, but is starting to understand decoding words more. We practice together, and he is slowly getting the hang of the concepts of it. I believe he will really grasp reading when it seems to be something he truly has a need to do.

 

When he was 5-7, he loved numbers, recognized them easily, would add up and subtract and even multiply numbers in his head, of his own volition, occasionally asking me or my husband questions about numbers. He could write his name, like your son, but beyond that, had little interest in reading. His brother who is turning 7 this year is the same way--I believe boys more than girls tend to be later readers, but this is just a hypothesis. BUT the thing hardly anyone talks about is what boys are really GOOD at: numbers, for instance, or creative play, or building Lego and other inventions, and exploring the outdoors.

 

Something that helped me understand my son better was reading about Raymond and Dorothy Moore's research about reading and that for many children left to learn to read on their own timetable, learning to read at age 8-10 was common. There are actually physical reasons why some children read later than others. The research I have found by looking online is that there is no difference in reading level between early readers and 'late' readers, which is a big comfort to me, being the parent of two children who would be considered 'late readers'.

 

My belief is that children learn best when they have that desire within them, and then they follow it. It wouldn't do much good to try to force something he is not interested in or ready of, yk? If he is not ready right now, you could be patient and continue reading aloud to him, asking him what he wants to learn about, and that way, when he shows more signs of being ready to read, you'll be right there to assist him. 


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#3 of 41 Old 10-05-2011, 04:28 PM
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I don't think it's interesting to look back and judge a parent of a 7yo for their educational practices.  It sounds like your ds is giving you some feedback, at this point, that some intervention is warranted.  It is concerning that your ds can't recognize all 26 letters at this point.  It wouldn't hurt to step up his exposure to print. 

 

Strategy is tricky with a resistant kid.  You could encourage him to "help" his younger brother play some of the starfall games, or show his brother some alphabet toys (books, blocks, what have you).  

 

I know that not everyone is a fan of direct instruction for reluctant learners, but I think sitting down with a child and letting him know that you know this is hard for him and it's time to work through it can be a really loving, caring thing to do.  If you take this approach, he might appreciate workbooks and flash cards because they look more "mature" than baby books and toys with the alphabet all over them.  

 

Whatever you decide to do, reading aloud to him is going to be important for the next several years.  There's no point learning to read if you don't know for certain that books have neat things in them.  Set aside some time where you read to him.  Pick a book to start, and then let him choose between a couple when you finish it.  Read short books first, that you can finish in one session, and work up to longer books that take a week or a month of daily reading.  Comics can be a great place to start with boys in this age group.  Reading aloud can make a HUGE difference in motivation.  Boysread.org has a bunch of suggestions.

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#4 of 41 Old 10-05-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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As a parent of three boys, with experience in unschooling, I don't find it concerning or alarming or any of those matching adjectives that he is not interested in reading. Some kids are at that age, and some kids aren't, and unless a person has actual real-life experience in unschooling or homeschooling with a relaxed attitude, it's pretty hard to understand WHY people might think that way. Or understand why it might not be such a cause for panic or alarm or worry. Consideration? Research to understand? Sure. 


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#5 of 41 Old 10-05-2011, 05:44 PM
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If a child isn't reading at age 7, I agree that it isn't necessarily a big deal.  I'm more concerned about this situation because this child does not yet recognize letters and a younger sibling in the same environment is developing increasing confidence with letter-recognition and other pre-reading skills.  I'm concerned that as the younger child continues to develop in this area, the older child's confidence will suffer and motivation to learn to read may suffer as a result.  

 

I think it's best to face these potentials head on.  I think it's healthier to have a frank conversation where a parent says, "Hey, your brother is just getting into this and you haven't been as interested, but it's an important skill, so let's do some work on it now," than to wait for the natural arrival of motivation in a kid who may be in the process of deciding that reading is way too hard for him and comparing himself to his younger brother is increasingly embarrassing and maybe he just shouldn't bother.  

 

It's great that he's interested in numbers.  Reading is really important too - you find a lot of people who read late but knowledge of numbers without literacy does not work out well in the world.  Seven is an entirely reasonable age to work on letter recognition and be read to by a parent for 30 minutes - an hour a day.

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#6 of 41 Old 10-05-2011, 07:41 PM
 
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I guess I am the voice of dissent here.  If a 7 year old isn't reading, that's one thing.  Not knowing all of his letters (either verbally or visually) is another. 

 

I would really recommend getting his vision tested.  That's a first step, and it would be the first step an educator or physician would recommend.  This is likely not the advice you wanted, but it's the advice I'm giving since you asked.

 

If there isn't a visual or hearing issue, it may just be a matter of readiness and exposure to a different kind of instruction than you've used thus far.  I don't mean it has to be from a different person or a school, just a different approach.  Just a thought.

 

Good luck with your son!


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#7 of 41 Old 10-05-2011, 07:42 PM
 
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Sitting a child down for forced reading sessions, and for work with flashcards and workbooks he's not interested in, doesn't sound very unschoolish to me.  WHY is it so disconcerting that he doesn't know all his letters at age 7?  Not having an interest in something isn't the same as having a difficulty in that area.  OP, if your gut tells you he just isn't interested, then I would go with that.  If, on the other hand, he seems interested but lacking in confidence, that's another story, and some additional guidance might be helpful.

 

Because there are so few unschoolers out there, it's hard for people to imagine how things might look--how much variation there might be in the age at which different kids learn letters, begin to read, etc.--if all children were allowed to direct their own learning..

 

I agree that it is important to model reading for pleasure, to have a house full of interesting reading material, to visit libraries and such, but if one is already doing this, that seems like enough.

 

As far as being concerned about a younger sibling "passing up" an older sibling, my experience is that unschooled kids tend not to be so bothered by this sort of thing, probably because they grow up in an environment where widely different interests and skill levels are embraced and accepted without judgement.  For example, my eight-year-old son has little interest in learning to swim underwater, and isn't bothered in the least that his six-year-old sister is becoming quite a good swimmer.  Some people also expressed concern that he "still" didn't know how to ride a bike without training wheels, as if he COULDN"T do it or something.  We knew he just wasn't interested, and guess what?  When he had the chance to go trail riding with his scout troop, he mastered riding a bike in less than a week.  Being physcially adventurous just isn't his thing.

 

I recently found it helpful to re-read Allison McKee's Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves because she talks at length about how she dealt with her fears when her kids weren't reaching some "milestone."  And guess what?  Her kids turned out great!

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#8 of 41 Old 10-05-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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Just wanted to add:

 

About the vision testing, that is a good idea for all kids.  I think my kids all had their vision tested as part of their well-child visits when they were five or six.

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#9 of 41 Old 10-05-2011, 09:48 PM
 
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I don't think this is a big deal.  Writing:  my 6.5 daughter struggles with writing.  It is hard work, her muscle coordination is not as breezy as it was for me or is for our 5yo.  She, too writes her name in only block letters.  Reading has to come first before writing.  Does he draw?  

 

You cannot say definitively how learning clicks.  I could totally believe that a child could eventually learn whole words without breaking them down into each part.  I mean, when you read you say a sound associated with a letter.  That a letter would have a name in addition to it is completely irrelevant to learning to read.  I mean, "double-u"?   "A" only sometimes sounds like that.  My oldest completely skipped the sounding-out stage and dove into word recognition while my youngest painstakingly sounds....out......every......letter......  (She is just beginning.)  Does he like being read to?  (Don't make it a lesson, don't ask him to read, don't run your fingers under the words, just read!)  Does he like to play games?  Play Monopoly and he'll start some word association, even if you read the cards for him.  Battleship?  "A-8"!  

 

Sometimes it's just the right books.  I checked out the graphic novel "Perseus and Medusa" for dd1 and that finally pushed her to read.  Garfield books are great, too.  She reads mostly by word recognition and has been impatient sounding out words, but she worked beautifully figuring out "Sploit!"  and "Fwump!"  Of course, this was after she had found some confidence reading.  She still loves to be read to--really big books like The Hobbit and LOTR.  We just found a copy of the full Beowulf story and is begging for me to read it to her.  We just finished the Twelve Labors of Hercules.  That is the only "lesson" she has ever had.

 

You could argue about this until the sun supernovas and still not agree about anything.  What does your heart say?  As for your family, if they are the understanding sort you could say quietly and privately that he's having trouble with his reading skills, but he'd love to talk your ear off about numbers.


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#10 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 05:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ya know the more replies i read the more i realize he can do, he loves banana grams and puts all sorts of "words" together. He speaks 2 languages, spanish and english and has never been to school. He learned spanish from friends and cousins. He's taught himself how to ride a bike...we never stood behind him and held the seat. He got on the bike and just rode away.

He loves to be read to, we do not live in America thus no libraries, so when we do come across a book, we absorb it to it's fullest.

He can play high level gaming and does so with word or symbol recognition.

He loves to watch videos on you tube about all subjects and can most days find the videos that interest him.

I do think that he is unsure about his capabilities, he will ask repeatedly about certain things. So he maybe lacking his confidence about what he does know.

However my 17 year old can read and write, he was schooled and didnt start to really read until he was about 11-12. When it clicked he couldnt put a book down.

His writing is the same way, he was slow to pick it up and still he is not a fan of writing.

This has helped me, that's what were here for...support and i am very thankful that i can come to a forum and was able to get all angles of the triangle of life.

 

 


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#11 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 06:17 AM
 
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So, I only read in this forum occasionally because I have a toddler, but am interested in learning about all different choices about how to educate our children (which we will choose based on their needs).

Im I reading correctly that a child who is not reading is playing high level gaming? Why would a parent allow their child to play high level gaming when they cant read yet? Most high level gaming has words to go along with the game, so the boy is just getting by on symbols? To me, it seems like that seems like a lot hours playing video games that could be spent encouraging them to care about books, pen and paper. It seems like a lot of gaming and not a lot of learning, but maybe I have just misunderstood what unschooling is altogether.

I know kids read at different ages, but I cant imagine what person I would be if I had missed out on 3- 4 years of reading during the 7-11 age group. That was the time that I really developed a love for books, because I was too old for a lot of toys and not old enough for a lot of unsupervised social time.

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#12 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 07:09 AM
 
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I haven't read the whole thread yet but really wanted to say yay to this "BUT the thing hardly anyone talks about is what boys are really GOOD at: numbers, for instance, or creative play, or building Lego and other inventions, and exploring the outdoors."

 

So incredibly true. SO incredibly true I could almost cry.

 

And just quickly, if it helps, my just-8 year old was not reading much at all until pretty recently, he didn't have the patience or inclination to read a whole fiction book (although he would read non-fiction). Anyway, today he is sick and has just read (and understood) a long fiction book aimed at the 12+ age range in terms of language (kind of a fairy tale thing). No problems with any words, that I can see. It does happen. I assure you I'd given up hope.

 

All I can say we did, aside from checking he had basic phonics knowledge (eg what letter was which) , and making time for him to read to us from time to time (car journeys are good for this), was to read to him, every single day, stuff beyond his level and we'll carry on with that.


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#13 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post

Sitting a child down for forced reading sessions, and for work with flashcards and workbooks he's not interested in, doesn't sound very unschoolish to me. 



It doesn't need to be sitting him down with flashcards. There is a whole world of ways to teach between doing nothing and using flashcards. And there is also a whole range of personalities between kids who'll go out and invent the wheel off their own bat and kids who'll spend twelve years playing WoW. After all, we spend tens of thousands of years as illiterate manual laborers, so it's not surprising that many people have no innate drive to learn everything the world has to offer. As the person responsible for preparing these kids for life, you need to find the right kind of instruction for their personality.

 

Some things that could be fun are filling a tray with sand and tracing letters, making letters out of playdough or bread dough or pancake batter. Cutting paper letters out and sticking things that start with that sound on them. Having a letter of the week and really focussing on that letter. You could pretend it's for your two year old's benefit and have the seven year old do the crafts and activities as well if he's embarrassed that he is so behind. How is his phonemic awareness? That's a very important literacy skill, too. We play with rhymes and jokey words a lot in our house. I'm not big on learning letters before you're close to five, but understanding sounds and hearing those sounds in language is something they need to learn over time.

 

I think that video games and unschooling are pretty much atithetical to each other. To develop a spirit of discovery and follow interests that teach you about the world you need to not have that massive time and attention suck and deficits in attention span that video games offer. It's like trying to get a child to eat normal food for dinner when they have McDonalds for lunch every day.

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#14 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 07:52 AM
 
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ok i think this is a valid question. One thing I'd point out is that we don't know how much time the OPs son spends gaming. It might be a few times a month at a friend's house. Its not necessarily every day. My 8 year old does not use computers much recreationally, however if he is at a friend's house the I'm not going to stop him playing a computer game, assuming its not inappropriate.

 

But to answer the question, I think one reason homeschooler often do allow*** unlimited computer use, even when there is no reading, is that computers and reading are not, in all people's mind, opposed. Kids who use computers heavily do also often read heavily, both are quite sedentary, cerebral pursuits. Computer games often tie into novels, fantasy writing, etc.Waldorf thinking, for example, discourages not just computer use but also reading before age 7.  They are similar things, in some people's minds.

 

I encourage reading and discourage computer use for other reasons than a sense that they are mutually exclusive. I do think that computer games offer little, not just educationally but generally, for life, and certainly at this age. I think computer games are far more commercialised than your average book, and I don't like that. I dislike the images and the easy gratification of computer games. Interestingly, my partner, who is a computer scientist and has written games, is incredibly anti our kids having much screen time. The only time my 8 year old spends on a computer really is when he is programming one, he doesn't play any games except those he's written himself.
 

Just one more thing. I too had a great childhood spent reading. However my brother, who didn't learn to read til he was 9 (severely dyslexic), also had a great childhood. Just not reading books. He had a great childhood taking apart every single electrical item that anyone threw out (kind of suprised he survived really), he has (predictably) ended up an electrical engineer, while I have ended up with a totally useless degree in ancient languages/literature, now scrabbling to educate myself a bit in the sciences. He also now reads to the point where, tbh, it is borderline antisocial ;-). Just saying that there are different ways to a happy adulthood. My dp, a highly gifted child who graduated from our equivalent of Yale with a first in math, holds a doctorate, etc, again did not read much as a child. Boys often don't want to spend those years 7-11 reading, in the same way that a lot of girls do, even if they can. I am finally starting to make peace with this, but I think we must, as mothers, continually remind ourselves that our boys-and indeed our girls-are NOT us, they have their own paths, and they have a right to walk them without criticism. 

 

***I know that radical unschoolers are often happy for their children to use the computer freely because they feel that their children have a right to do so if that is what they want. I'm talking about less radical unschoolers and run of the mill homeschooler.
 

Quote:
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So, I only read in this forum occasionally because I have a toddler, but am interested in learning about all different choices about how to educate our children (which we will choose based on their needs).
Im I reading correctly that a child who is not reading is playing high level gaming? Why would a parent allow their child to play high level gaming when they cant read yet? Most high level gaming has words to go along with the game, so the boy is just getting by on symbols? To me, it seems like that seems like a lot hours playing video games that could be spent encouraging them to care about books, pen and paper. It seems like a lot of gaming and not a lot of learning, but maybe I have just misunderstood what unschooling is altogether.
I know kids read at different ages, but I cant imagine what person I would be if I had missed out on 3- 4 years of reading during the 7-11 age group. That was the time that I really developed a love for books, because I was too old for a lot of toys and not old enough for a lot of unsupervised social time.


 


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#15 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 07:59 AM
 
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I really do agree with this. Our approach, for our son, has been to make sure he has basic skills with an aim of letting him unschool from around age 11. (I know this will seem Very Wrong to some of you and I apologise for this ;-)

 

I think that video games and unschooling are pretty much atithetical to each other. To develop a spirit of discovery and follow interests that teach you about the world you need to not have that massive time and attention suck and deficits in attention span that video games offer. It's like trying to get a child to eat normal food for dinner when they have McDonalds for lunch every day.



 


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#16 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 08:12 AM
 
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ok i think this is a valid question. One thing I'd point out is that we don't know how much time the OPs son spends gaming. It might be a few times a month at a friend's house.
 



 


You are right. I just assumed it was a long amount of time if he can play high level gaming that he must have spent a lot of time getting there. However, we dont really know what the OP considers to be "high level" and if these are educational computer games or video games.

I hope my kids take things apart and write their own video games at 8! That is amazing.

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#17 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He went through periods of spending several days in a row days gaming, he gets the hang of certain ideas really quickly and other things...it takes forever. He spent periods of time playing out side and periods of time watching movies, and periods of time learning spanish. He goes through time spans of involvement in one particular idea or area and it changes after a few days.

We live on the beach, we have gone out to the beach and drew letters in the sand, cut out letters, i even started Teach Your child to read in 100 easy lessons, he wants to "get it" but he gets frustrated and needs to get up and move. We've done the play dough and even made homemade dough, we do science activities with Usborne books. He just doesnt want to do anything schoolish at all.

I didnt mention and i guess i should of that we did send him to a private school in Mexico for 2 weeks and he became so frustrated that he refused to continue to go to school. The teachers did not work with him at all. They expected him to already "know" everything. It really took a hit on his self esteem.

I go from feeling like a complete failure of a mother to thinking...maybe if i get a program..like Sonlight...and really really work with him he may come around. I just dont know what to do.

 

 


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#18 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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High level gaming is keeping up with my 17 year old at playing Halo Reach on xbox live!


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#19 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 12:43 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mamato3wild ponnie View Post i even started Teach Your child to read in 100 easy lessons, he wants to "get it" but he gets frustrated and needs to get up and move.

 

I go from feeling like a complete failure of a mother to thinking...maybe if i get a program..like Sonlight...and really really work with him he may come around. I just dont know what to do.

 

 


You already have a program, you just need to use it. Have you tried five minute stints, like the 100 easy lessons is set up into? Do the five minutes, then get up and move, then do five more minutes. Then do some moving incorporating the things he needs to learn.

 

I'd also get rid of the video games. Nothing seems fun compared to them, you're fighting a losing battle there.

 

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#20 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 12:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post

 

WHY is it so disconcerting that he doesn't know all his letters at age 7?  Not having an interest in something isn't the same as having a difficulty in that area.  OP, if your gut tells you he just isn't interested, then I would go with that.  If, on the other hand, he seems interested but lacking in confidence, that's another story, and some additional guidance might be helpful.

 

 



I don't know about this.  I think that very, very often, what appears to be a lack of interest really is a lack of confidence or a reluctance to try for fear of failing.  Many children resist what is hard for them, and usually they need some guidance and support to work through this.  There are many ways you could provide this guidance without making it unpleasant or too "schoolish."  

 

Another thing to think about:  children for whom reading doesn't come easily often lack phonological awareness -- that is, the understanding of how sounds work together to form words and the ability to identify and manipulate sounds within words.  People who have strong phonological awareness typically learn to read easily; those who don't tend to struggle, and poor phonological awareness is a hallmark sign of dyslexia (I'm not at all suggesting your son is dyslexic.)  So, this means that lot of the foundation for literacy development is oral, which is why practicing things like rhyming, clapping syllables, changing around the sounds within words will develop those pre-reading skills that aid in reading development.  The best part is that these activities are really easy to do informally and children usually like them.  

 

If you want to pursue this, you might want to learn more about phonological (or phonemic) awareness.  Here are a few good links for you:

 

http://phonologicalawareness.org/

http://www.speechlanguage-resources.com/phonemic-awareness-activities.html

http://teams.lacoe.edu/documentation/classrooms/patti/k-1/activities/phonemic.html

http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/543

 

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#21 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 01:07 PM
 
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Ok I think the big thing is to decide what you want to do.

 

If it were MY son? Yes, I'd get him reading, using whatever I had to hand but primarily, for a logical child, a phonics approach like 100 lessons or something like reading eggs. The reason I'd get my son reading at this age, if he wasn't already, is that I know he'd find it highly frustrating not to be able to read. I know that reading has opened up an enormous amount of information to him-and he is a child who likes information. Another issue is that kids, IMO, don't always have the experience to know that sometimes you have to do unpleasent things to reach a desired goal-you have to do stuff you don't want to make it so you can do stuff you do want. That's just how life is, sometimes you have to work hard to get where you want, and sometimes working hard isn't fun.

 

So I know my boy, I know he loves books and he loves knowing things, and I know he would love reading if he tried it, but I also know that he is a perfectionist and is unlikely to try reading if it means, inevitably, failing in front of us. Based on my own 3 kids I do think that perfectionist kids can really struggle with reading, because they often struggle with getting things wrong and there's a lot of guesswork in early reading (my middle child is not a perfectionist at all and has bascially just taught herself to read). So, as tactfully and gently as possible, I did insist he learnt to read-I didn't give him a choice in the matter-but I didn't force the issue, I made as much effort as possible to let him learn and practice with others, to read in situations where he was guarenteed sucess (eg reading to his youngest sister in the car-little kids books that he didn't find hard at all), etc. I didn't come home with 100 easy lessons and say, every day you will read for 30 minutes and if you don't I will make you stand in the corner. I think that might have been a bit counterproductive. And now he is reading and he LOVES it, he is really happy that I did insist he learnt to read.

 

The point is though that this is YOUR son. What do you want? Do you want him to WANT to learn to read? If so, I'd say back off and wait. He will learn eventually. Or do you want him to read now, regardless of what he wants. If so, you need to be sure in your own mind that that is what you want and you need to go for it. IMO it doesn't matter that much what program you use, so long as its broadly the right approach. Don't fret too much about the program unless its obviously a really bad fit-phonics for a kid who learns best by the whole word method, or vice versa. Be sure and confident and say, or at least think, "every day, we are going to do x amount of reading work. Some days, this will be horrible. Neither of us will be in the mood. Some days it will be great. Either way, we are going to do this every single day until you are reading on your own.". And then do it.


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#22 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 01:36 PM
 
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But to answer the question, I think one reason homeschooler often do allow*** unlimited computer use, even when there is no reading, is that computers and reading are not, in all people's mind, opposed.

Fillyjonk, I agree that they are not necessarily opposed, but it depends entirely on how you use the computer. Halo on xbox, for example, is not encouraging of read, or of learning.

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#23 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 02:00 PM
 
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Fillyjonk, I agree that they are not necessarily opposed, but it depends entirely on how you use the computer. Halo on xbox, for example, is not encouraging of read, or of learning.


This was kind of how I was thinking about it. If a 7 year old can keep up with a 17 year old on a video game, but he cant read, maybe priorities arent put in the correct order. It sounds like the kid is playing video games and not getting an education. What kid wouldnt want to be allowed to do that?

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#24 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 02:28 PM
 
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Certainly there are reasons why some children may have difficulty reading, and I think any responsible parent should be on the lookout for these.  And if the issue is reluctance/lack of self-confidence, then by all means it makes sense to try different approaches (that the child enjoys) to encourage literacy skills. 

 

What I'm objecting to is some underlying attitudes here that just don't seem unschoolish--even in the broadest sense of the term.  If you've read John Holt's work, or the studies showing that students who began formal reading and mathematics instruction later catch up to and even outperform those who begin formal instruction early; if you consider that in some countries like Denmark compulsory schooling doesn't even begin until age 7; if you read other respected accounts of unschoolers who now have grown children, you know that the idea of a not-even-seven-year-old not reading freaks us out only because we have been conditioned to freak out.  Historically, children learned reading and writing at a later age, and in a much more concentrated period of time, than is the current practice. 

 

The OP might find it useful to search the forums for posts about late readers--there are several really good ones, I recall.

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#25 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 03:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post

 

Fillyjonk, I agree that they are not necessarily opposed, but it depends entirely on how you use the computer. Halo on xbox, for example, is not encouraging of read, or of learning.


eh - but so what?  Not everything has to be educational.

 

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#26 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 04:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

eh - but so what?  Not everything has to be educational.

 



It depends how much of the day you're spending doing it, doesn't it? If they're spending two hours day on a first person shooter game after spending six hours cooking and reading and building and asking interesting questions then of course it's not a problem. If they're on the computer so much they have not learned all the letters by the age of 7, then that is an issue, and I'd be looking for computer time that helps rather than hinders their development. There are some amazing apps and websites that help develop vital skills. And they don't require an adult to sit there, or the child to be strongly self-motivated. However, at age seven there might be an interest problem with the alphabet-teaching software. Scholastic has a word for it that I can't remember right now - it's where the interest level and the reading level are out of step with each other. (ETA: Scholastic's category is high low)

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#27 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post

Certainly there are reasons why some children may have difficulty reading, and I think any responsible parent should be on the lookout for these.  And if the issue is reluctance/lack of self-confidence, then by all means it makes sense to try different approaches (that the child enjoys) to encourage literacy skills. 

 

What I'm objecting to is some underlying attitudes here that just don't seem unschoolish--even in the broadest sense of the term.  If you've read John Holt's work, or the studies showing that students who began formal reading and mathematics instruction later catch up to and even outperform those who begin formal instruction early; if you consider that in some countries like Denmark compulsory schooling doesn't even begin until age 7; if you read other respected accounts of unschoolers who now have grown children, you know that the idea of a not-even-seven-year-old not reading freaks us out only because we have been conditioned to freak out.  Historically, children learned reading and writing at a later age, and in a much more concentrated period of time, than is the current practice. 

 

The OP might find it useful to search the forums for posts about late readers--there are several really good ones, I recall.


Luckiestgirl, with all due respect, there are people who can get to sixteen with no education and decide to teach themselves everything they need to know to advance in life, and that's all well and good, but there are other people (the majority) who will not have anywhere near the options they could have had if no-one had been watching over and guiding their education. IIRC the OP has had the same problem with her oldest child and it sounds like this child has the same motivation issues. It sounds like she's worried about the same thing happening with this child and is trying to get the courage to face it and deal with it. And good for her!

 

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#28 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 06:30 PM
 
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Delicateflower, you seem to think I'm opposed to parents being concerned, or trying to provide the optimum environment in which their child can learn.  Both of these are crucial to successful unschooling.  But you seem to miss some basic tenets about unschooling.  Many--if not most?--people who consider themselves unschoolers don't draw arbitrary lines between what is "educational" and what is not.  From an unschooling perspective, it simply is not POSSIBLE for someone to get to age sixteen with NO education.  Because, to quote the title of one of John Holt's  works, children are LEARNING ALL THE TIME.  The OP's child is SIX YEARS OLD.  By OP's account, he speaks two languages fluenty, is good at math, and engages in a number of other productive activities.  MANY, MANY, unschooled children (and yes, it does seem to be more common with boys) don't start reading and writing until age eight or nine or ten.  Two or three years can make a huge difference.  You seem very hung up on the fact that he is "behind." 

 

I don't mean to be rude, but are you yourself an unschooler?  Have you read John Holt's work?  Or Alison McKee's Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves?  Both of these contain accounts of children who didn't begin reading and writing until between the ages of eight to eleven.  A well-respected study showed that students in Steiner (Waldorf) schools who didn't begin formal reading instruction until age seven caught up with their public-schooled peers who began reading instruction at age five, between the ages of ten and eleven. .  The majority you talk about, who have schools "guiding" their education, may have been far better off guiding their own. 

 

 

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#29 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 07:03 PM
 
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BTW, I'm really not interested in arguing for the sake of arguing.  But this is an Unschooling support board, and it seems a shame that the OP, who has gotten some really good feedback from other unschoolers, has to deal with all these other posts that are basically questioning unschooling itself.  If you believe that kids are destined to be lazy without a parent strongly directing their learning, why are you on an unschooling support board?  I understand the debate about how to handle media--that is a tough and complicated issue--but the idea that kids are fundamentally interested in learning is pretty integral to unschooling, isn't it?

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#30 of 41 Old 10-06-2011, 07:45 PM
 
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OK!  Unschooler here.... but an inexperienced one I admit.  7yo really is too young to be really concerned about his actual reading skills.  What about his true feelings about reading?  If you approach this from the same standpoint as the school he rejected so adamantly you will run into the same troubles.  *Completely* ditch anything that smacks of school and call it "fall vacation".  Start a calender for your family and write down--as detailed or general as you wish--write down anything they've learned that could be counted as vaguely schoolish.  Making pancakes is both home ec and math, and science too.  Erector sets and Legos are math and engineering.  A whale sighting is biology.  A Harvest Festival can be social studies--whatever.  Don't force anything schoolish, don't mention it, don't push.  Remember, you are on vacation.  If the gaming is bugging you, deal with it, but if it's not then don't.  Just remember that time sitting is time not outside and exploring, and it's not physical exercise.  (I am soooo not going to join that debate!)   After a week or a month or three of keeping track of all the comings and goings and revelations of your kids, you will be amazed.


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