I made my original post because I had just got done reading a bevy of "my 2 yo wants to read, how should I teach them" and "my 3 year old is gifted and I'm going to brag what he can do" and what not. Plus, those dang blogs where the kids are reading the NY Times at 1 (exageration here). We all know those blogs though. And the other blogs with these horrible complicated preschool curriculum's based on letters. Where you print out a gazzilion things each week. Aack!
As for an update: my DD is now 5. She doesn't know her whole alphabet but can write her name and read a few books. Although really I'm more wondering if she memorizes the books rather than read. But that is a different story. None of this was taught. I did a few letter crafts here and there and read read read to her.
I do regret in this thread saying "delayed academics" but hind site is 20-20. I felt delayed. I truly did. But as a pp said, it's just right academics. If they do it naturally than fine, but don't push.
As for another update: I've shed most blogs out of my daily life and I'm finally no longer feeling like a homeschooling reject. I'm becoming happier to it my way and my childrens way. Which as of late is just read. read, read, and read some more.
Glad you've shed the stuff that made you feel bad! I honestly haven't read a lot about what you're talking about, so perhaps I'm living in a bubble, but I can see how that would be worrisome if you were reading about it on a semi-regular basis. It's funny, I think back to when dd was younger (she is almost 8 now). I had plans to homeschool from pretty early on (when she was 3), but I didn't really understand what that meant. Every year I'd say to my husband "this is the year that I'll get serious about homeschooling" and then the year would end and it would seem we never did get "serious" about homeschooling. Until one day I realized that she was just learning all the time, just by the way we were living our lives. That was pretty cool. This is the first year that we've gotten more serious about doing specific things each week (spelling, science, math, etc.) but up until that point, she'd still been learning tons, just not in a "this is official school" way.
I read a book a while back specifically about boys, and in fact, the thought was that they were about 2 years behind many girls in terms of being ready for "school" stuff, and when pushed too early, they ended up hating it. I definitely have seen huge benefits in just following my kids' leads, and still I think they're fairly advanced from school peers their own age, and sometimes I truly wonder why. It also makes me question what they are learning all day while in school and for the hours of homework they have each night. That's one that has me baffled. Especially because I just read in another thread about science not being in many schools until grade four. I truly don't mean this to be a bash public schools post at all, but I truly am curious why.
I suppose I should join...when I first saw the thread title, what I had in my mind about delaying academics was waiting until around age 8 for any formal instruction to begin. I personally am not an unschooler, and I wouldn't be comfortable waiting until 8...but I'm totally in agreement with skipping academics for preschool age kids ! Our DS2 turned 5 a couple of months ago. I have never pushed academics with him. He watches Letter Factory for fun and learned numbers from the chart on the kitchen wall (that was put there for DS1). He is pretty good with letter sounds. He is not reading any words yet besides his own name...really he is just now a tiny bit interested. He attempts to write his name sometimes. I have him spend a little time in a Kumon pre-writing book with a marker, so he gets some practice controlling the marker. He has free access to writing materials of all sorts.
I have always felt like an oddball in this area. I feel I am surrounded by ladies whose kids basically taught themselves to read at age 3 or 4, and just started writing one day. Our older son is almost eight. He has some vision and visual processing issues and learning to read and write has been a difficult struggle that's been going on for the last two years. I did begin at age 5.5 with him. At that age, he had a difficult time learning the alphabet and letter sounds. That was before we began to learn about his vision problems. He has glasses now, and he patched daily for six months to recover his vision in one eye. He's been in vision therapy for almost a year now and meets weekly with a reading tutor and he works hard every single day. I have to do a lot of research to find what works for him. There is no way for him to learn to read and write that isn't going to be hard. I believe DS2 will have it much easier...he is already picking things up easily and quickly when he wants to. I do not feel any reason to hurry or push him.
When I hear of kids who learned so easily, and so young, I hope their parents appreciate that gift of not having literacy be a struggle. I also often feel that others look down on me as some sort of slacker homeschooler who must not take it seriously or do a very good job of it, or conclude that my kids must not be very bright because their child was doing at 3 or 4 what mine is just doing at 7.5. I wish they could see and appreciate the tremendous effort that our older son has put into getting to where he is with reading and writing so far. He hasn't let it get him down, and he keeps plugging away at it. Coming from this experience, I am in no hurry to push our 5 yo. He is showing me that he can remember which letters make which sounds from one day to the next, he remembers what the letters look like, and that his fine motor skills are improving as he matures. I am not seeing any of the same red flags with him, so I am relieved and relaxed, and feeling like he is doing exactly what is right for him at this age.
I know there are kids who are not pushed and really do start learning to read or write at an early age through nothing but casual exposure - I do believe that can happen and IMO there's nothing wrong when it does. But much more often I meet parents who are concerned that their child is (gasp) almost four and not yet reading anything beyond CVC words and who are wanting to spend an hour or more a day teaching the child to read and write and do addition and subtraction....so they will not be behind in kindergarten !!!! It bothers me that this is becoming the new normal. IMO it's a needless rat race for young kids.
and 3 , in our happy secular
I'm personally tired of "my 3 year old can read at first grade level" or "my 4 year old can multiply." or "my 2 year old is gifted." It makes me feel like a crappy mama and I haven't figured out why. I'm really happy that my 4 year old can't read. I don't want her to read. I want her to be a child.
He took an interest in math and I did some Saxon with him, but we haven't touched it for well over a year because he's just not interested anymore... and that's fine.
So we waffle, but more because I'm following him (or trying to anyway) and he's not exactly consistent. Part of our process isn't just figuring out what to do with/for him, but also how to "find myself" with the whole thing. I really only know that 1) at this age, I really only want him learning if he really wants it; and 2) that I don't want him doing worksheet/answer key kind of learning for anything he DOES learn about.
I really admire you for not having to find yourself with it. I'm finally there, but you definitely got there long before me.
I know in my heart I am doing the right thing but have a hard time in this early academic oriented society. Anyone else?
You know, I may be one of those moms who "say they believe in delayed academics but then follow up with..." but I just wanted to tell you that you sound like you're an awesome mama, teaching your kids a lot about some absolutely cool stuff. I wish my 6 yo knew how to clean our chicken coop.
I'm sorry that you are feeling badly about yourself as a mama when you hear about what some other kids are doing on the academic front. It seriously sounds like what you are doing is totally engaging and connected to your kids. That's so awesome. I'm thinking that maybe some of those other mamas who are pulling out the curricula may also be engaged and connected, but I won't get into that.
There is a such a wide, wide range of developmental achievements that happen in this 4 to 7 year old age. I want to commend you for looking to your kids for guidance on where they need to go, and I also just want to gently suggest that you unsubscribe to the those homeschooling blogs.
We certainly went through an early year (when ds was freshly removed from preschool) of trying to figure out where we were going and what we were doing. I reviewed a lot of curriculums so I've gone through phases where I've contributed to threads with a "we're using..." (and you'll notice that over the period of that year, the ending to that is different . I tried a few out, but by "trying out" I mean literally 1-2 lessons max (except for math for a period when ds SERIOUSLY ate it up). If my son wasn't into it, we just didn't do it. In retrospect, I didn't realize that he was deschooling--I thought he wanted to be schooled, ya know? For a while, he was definitely a "worksheet kid".
As we approach 7yo, I'm now struggling with "how long to we really delay"? I have mixed feelings about unschooling because I'm not really sure we'll always be able to keep him home. At the same time, I'd really just like to continue following his lead. Fate kind of intervened and threw chaos into our lives and kept me from really having to face that issue before now: I simply couldn't devote my time to educating him formally even if I wanted to. But the mental argument was not even on the table with everything else on our plate. I'm thankful for that. I mean, I think the life circumstances have taken their toll on all of us, but I'm grateful not to have had that mental tennis match going on.
My ds is only 5, so I still haven't "found myself" as a homeschooler and I go back and forth with what I do. But, Heatherdeg, I just wanted to thank you for writing the bolded above. This is us exactly. And I thought I was the ONLY one who has "wasted the gift." My ds1 started reading at 3 and I had no idea what to do. This is the primary reason I started thinking about homeschooling and I'm glad that it led us here! But I didn't figure out what the heck I was "supposed" to do and then ds lost his hunger for learning to read. I need to relax about it, and knowing I'm not the only one....really helps :)
just thought I'd share
Great article on "delayed" math! We are definitely of the unschooling bent, but as my kids have gotten older, they have requested more 'formal' type classes and books and of course I've obliged. Just this last week, my 14 yo who really hasn't done much formal math completed a very complex carpentry project virtually on his own and this was his 'introduction' to fractions. He learned on the fly and by the end, he was adding/subtracting/converting like a pro. When he needed to know, he figured it out in a few hours rather than years of instruction and worksheets and stress on my part to drill it into him.
~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister
Livin' in the sticks with my chicks and lovin' it!
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