Friday, August 15, 2014

Unschooling, Our Fall-Back Mode

I often call our family Eclectic Homeschoolers, but we are so UNSCHOOLY that I can't keep using the first term. We have used books and materials whenever the urge hits us, don't get me wrong, but we aren't married to anything. We put the books down as soon as we lose interest, returning to them if and when the feeling strikes.

I was talking with another unschooling mom earlier tonight on an unschooling board on Facebook and she was very angry with me and felt like I was being unhelpful. Her original question was something along the lines of:

Help! My three year old son is obsessed with reading!
What should I do?

I replied something cray cray like this: 

 SERIOUSLY?!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just give him books!
My daughter honestly and truly started learning how to read, TEACHING HERSELF HOW TO READ, at the age of 2 and a half. People kept accusing me of PUSHING her! LOL
If your son wants to read, (why use the term "obsessed?") Encourage him, find out what books interest him, and sit back and let it happen!

And she writes back:    

Yikes Karen, I was using the word obsessed in a funny sense, not negative. And as much as I give him books if what he is asking for is a bit more involvement from me why not give him that? He's expressing an interest, which is child led. Not everyone just naturally teaches themselves to read, but it's nice that your daughter did. I remember as a child being frustrated that I couldn't read and was extremely happy when started helping me learn phonics. 
I find your reply to be a bit abrasive and not the least bit helpful.

Well, OK.
I'm abrasive and unhelpful.
I wrote back that I had not intended offense in the least and I apologized.

Man, Facebook and other social media sites 
can be freaking EXHAUSTING.

But it is true, my daughter did teach herself to read when she was 2 1/2 years old! She asked for more and more phonics help with books that she carried around and I gave her any help that she asked for.

She had one book in particular that she carried with her, it belonged to my husband. It was a huge, heavy book on how to manage a team of computer professionals and she loved it! Ten thousand books in the house and she chooses one entitled something like The Death March of the Project Manager. LOL. I remember my aunt asking me in an appalled way Why did you give Elizabeth that book to read?!

Elizabeth started out by looking through the words of the books she perused until she found one or two words that she could read. She would look and look and then say, Look, Momma, here is the word moon! I would be in a state of complete FLABERGASTEDNESS and amazement at my 2 1/2 year old toddler daughter doing such a thing. Reading!

But my family, did they find it amazing?
NOPE. They accused me of pushing her and controlling her and micromanaging every aspect of her life. 

As if this amazing child of mine would allow me to control her...HA!

Anyway, my point is not that my family didn't get it, that's another post entirely, my point is that Elizabeth taught herself in her own time. 

On the other hand John didn't want to read until he was past twelve years old. I fretted a bit.      (understatement)

But now he has a book going all of the time and he can be found kicked back on the couch, feet on the back cushion, arm thrown up over his head laughing, tittering, celebrating, generally enjoying the read! In his own time.

I had to remind myself again and again to trust the process, to recognize his strengths, and that this child was going to be OK regardless of his interest in reading or not.

Reading Percy Jackson isn't the be all - end all. But he is enjoying it and he is learning that he enjoys the story far more from the book than from the screen.

Too bad I was pushing him so hard...Pshaw.


  1. I enjoy the Percy Jackson books (and I'm old). My kids and I read them together. I had 2 kids who read at about 6 and 1 who waited until he was 10. They all love reading. None of them were pushed but all were read to. :-)

    1. I enjoyed them too! LOL
      We read the books together several years ago too, I think that is why John has chosen to reread them himself. We all loved them!
      I worried about this child, I'll be honest. I am such a HUGE reader and it was weird for me to have a child who didn't care for it. I'm so happy that he is finally getting pleasure from the BOOKS!


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