About "falling behind," I think you have to ask yourself, "behind WHAT?" (or maybe that's WHOM?
) One of the joys of homeschooling is that kids can develop at their own pace, without the pressure of being compared to the kid sitting next to them.
This subject is a sensitive one for me, as my oldest attended school for a few years. When he wasn't reading when they felt he should be, all kinds of extra practice, drill, remediation and other "help" was used. He went from a preschooler who absolutely ADORED being read to, to a kid who HATED reading. It took years, literally, before he discovered a love of reading.
Dd was not taught to read. We read, often, to her and she began reading on her own at 5, moving on to chapter books and everything else a few months later.
That said, this is what's going on with my 5 y/o. We do these things at his request--it's not something I have mapped out for him.
I'm reading, a LOT, to him. He memorizes some simpler books and "reads" them to me, but he's quick to point out that he's only "'membering in my brain" what the story is, and not reading each word.
He likes to write and will often copy words from a book and then ask me what he wrote. When he asks what a sign says, I tell him. Sometimes I run my finger under words as I read them, but usually he tells me to stop--for some reason that bothers him. We play some oral word games--listing all the words we can think of that start with a certain sound, or finding rhymes. He loves poetry that rhymes, so we read that. We have letter tiles, so sometimes I'll spell out something like, "_at" and he'll put different letters in front of that and ask me what it says.
We don't do these things every day (well, except for reading to him) they're just games that we play because he likes them.
Some kids will read at the age of 4, others will read much later. It's important to me that he's enjoying what he's doing. I'd much rather have a "late" reader who's in love with books than an early one who thinks of it as a chore.