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Hi everyone,

I need to feel better, so let me just type and if you have any advice please let me know. Thanks for listening, if nothing else.

I have a son who is 6 1/2 (will be 7 in Jan). Of course here in Florida children start reading in PS at age 4, so needless to say my son is being compared to them. He is not reading, and probably not really close to be able to do it either. He is just now getting the hang of what sounds letters make. We do mainly unschooling, and I don't want to push him, but how can I help my son to deal with his friends who are in PS and are reading, and doing a lot of what I would consider work that is not necessary for a child of their age. (ie - a 4 year old doing subtraction and addition problems, reading, and doing book reports). I just don't get it. I want my son to learn at his own pace, but I am also concerned that he will feel like he is some how inadequate because he is not doing all that his friends are. It would be great if there were other unschoolers close by that we could hang out with, but that is not the case.

Anyway, how do you help your children? Maybe there is no answer other than just helping him do what he is ready to do? What is the age that an unschooler boy will typically start really "getting" reading and be able to do it? Is there is a statistic on that? What about writing?

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your time.
 

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Well, I can't give you an unschoolers opinion, but I can say that many very bright children learn to read later than 6 1/2. My friend's son is highly gifted and was probably 8 1/2 when he started reading. She played all sorts of phonics games and activities, but kept it fun and low pressure. She read to him constantly and he listened to audio books. By the time he was 7 1/2 he could laboriously sound out words, but didn't really read. Around 8 1/2 he discovered Calvin and Hobbes and became an avid reader. He's now 9 and reading all the time, things like The Series of Unfortunate Events and the Harry Potter books.

If your son is interested and I would play with some phonics, just to see if he can distinguish the sound differences in phonemes. It will help you decide if he does need any assessment for dyslexia problems. Keep reading all the time, take a deep breath, and don't worry too much - I've known many bright boys who didn't read until around 8!
 
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