“I’m so frustrated, my son is just so behind in school. He can’t read. He’s extremely smart and creative, such a great boy, but he hates reading and I can’t get him to sit still so we can work on his phonics books. Oh, my son is 6.”
Over and over I hear this scenario from homeschool moms. The child is 5, 6, 7, 8 and beyond. “Why isn’t my child reading yet?” or often I get the question, “How do you teach reading?” Please take note, I was once a homeschool mom just starting out, asking all the curriculum questions, wondering how and when my child should learn what and why. 5th Graders in California learn about the CA Missions, so naturally I needed to wait until 5th grade to learn about the missions, and so on and so forth. I would track my kids’ public school friends and take note of what they were reading and learning about. My checklist of when to teach what was getting extremely behind. And we know how much I love checking off things on my list! Then I realized my child was becoming just a statistic in my mind, a student that needed to know facts, multiplication tables and how to read.
Of everything that us homeschoolers face, I believe that our kids’ success rises and falls on the ability to read and to have a love of reading. If they don’t learn to love to read, at least they know how. If they know how, then most likely one day they will enjoy it and it will be a gateway to whatever future they desire. I do know of some cases where the mother has done everything right, and still the child grows to despise reading, this most likely is due to a specific reading learning disability.
All the homeschooled child really needs is access to the outdoors and a mother who will read aloud to them.
Reading aloud. There is no other greater joy for a child than to be pulled onto his mothers lap and read to. He may squirm and whine for a moment, but as the pages are flipped and Lucy gets her first look at Mr. Tumnus, or the Robinsons build their treehouse, or Pa builds a fireplace for Ma, that little boy will be hooked, and hooked hard. “Just one more chapter!” They cried when I shut the book, “Nooooo! We were just getting to the good part!” How can you say no even though it is past bedtime and you’re reading with blurry eyes? You don’t say no, because THIS is how they will learn to read.
Your child is not behind, he is a child. Your child does not need help, he needs your lap. Your child does not need more curriculum, he needs to be left alone in a corner of the library. Your child doesn’t need to be pushed, he needs to be embraced and allowed to be the wonderful 6, 7, 8, 9 year old that he is.
Homeschool is not a sprint, it is a marathon, which hopefully ends up with a voracious lover of books at the end. And what if he isn’t a lover of books? What if you did everything right and still he doesn’t see the joy?
Because of how you “taught” him to read, he will one day put aside his dislike of reading, take his children in his lap, and read to them…just like his mommy did.