Our daughter just graduated Salutatorian from a major university!
We home schooled all the way through high school.
I remember fearing our children would never learn to read and write. It seemed as if everyone’s children where reading novels and writing novels while our children where busy with self directed imaginative play and artistic activities.
Our children were what some would call late bloomers. But were they really late bloomers or did they simply learn to read and write when they were ready physically, cognitively and emotionally in their own way? In my experience, the later is most certainly more accurate in the nature of how children learn.
Being a parent, you worry; compare your children to those of others. Seemingly, there is a cultural push to prepare children academically to excel in school at a very young age. David Elkind wrote extensively about the pitfalls of “The Hurried Child” and the importance of play.
As I look back through our home schooling years, I now marvel at the ease our children learned to read and write despite how much I worried. We read to them starting at a very young age and continued to read to them well into their teens. Books, magazines, newspapers and maps filled the house and were always accessible to our children. Because we surrounded our children with the printed and spoken word, they understood the value of words ~ that words mean things and convey thoughts and ideas. (They were even in a Shakespeare play as pre-readers, one as the major lead role!)
If you are considering homeschooling or currently homeschooling and worry about how to teach your children to read write and do math, trust your children. They will learn to read, write and do math in their own way given the freedom to do so. Who knows, they may graduate as Salutatorian one day! 😉
Articles of interest on the subject of “The Hurried Child”:
- David Elkind: The Hurried Child Syndrome
- David Elkind: Learning Through Play
- Learning To Read The Waldorf Way By Barbara Dewey of Waldorf Without Walls [We had the pleasure meeting Barbara Dewey on several occations. She is a fantastic teacher and mentor ~ so patient, wise and kind. I shared with her my concern about our children not reading as compared to other children we knew. In her calming demeanor, she assured me that our children will read when they are ready and encouraged me to continue to read to our children and to relax. And that we did! Both now read and write mellifluously.]
- Self-Directed Education and Late Bloomers by Patrick Farenga
- Joseph Chilton Pearce (Author of The Magical Child): Play Is Learning Excellent interview with Joseph Chilton Pearce!