One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a home educating parent is getting over the obstacle of teaching my daughter to read. There are a lot of reasons for it that could easily be excuses. Home edding parents are a bit hard on themselves sometimes and it’s not until you get past something that you can easily say ‘well, if I’d only done it this way.’
I did well at school, in fact I excelled in English and I used to read several books a week. Once I picked something up I just couldn’t put it down. I think that’s a big reason my spelling and grammar are pretty good. It’s also why I know a lot about random stuff. I’m good at quiz nights 🙂 I don’t read as much now because I simply don’t make the time. I’m busy with my family every single day from morning till night and finding time for myself right now is a bit low down the list. I have lots of books though, waiting for me on my shelf in our cabin. I’m a book junkie. I went into the shop in the photograph below recently and there were books wall to wall, piled on the floor, on top of the rows and in the aisles. I was fascinated. If I had a bookshop it would probably look like this too:
My husband reads to the girls EVERY NIGHT. I think this is key to teaching your kids to read. Show them the wonder of books and how reading can open up new worlds. My Swab mimics her daddy; she picks up books way over her level and ‘reads’ them like a pro. She has struggled with me however, to read basic readers. Probably because they are a little boring! She’s also VERY busy. She cannot sit still for long usually unless she is totally engrossed in something. That’s hard to do when you live on the water and the view is always changing!
Anyway, what did I do? What did WE do? We let it go. I stopped pushing and crying and worrying and fearing the worst and just went with it. She wasn’t ready at all up until a few months ago. I think most of the pressure I put on myself was from seeing other children her age reading and writing. At school they have to teach the kids to read early, they all need to be at the same level because when you have a group of kids to learn you can’t focus on one child or ten different children properly, it’s easier to teach to a mob. That’s not a criticism of the system by the way, I have great respect for teachers and what they do. It’s just a fact. The sooner they get the child reading, the sooner we can all progress to the next stage. But not all children are built the same. What if they aren’t ready? Those are the kids that end up in remedial classes, with tutors and/or stressed out worried parents wondering where they went wrong, was it because they didn’t breastfeed? Lol.
Take the pressure off yourself. Drop it if it isn’t working for you. And when I say drop it, let it go, but still read to your child, EVERY NIGHT. Surround them with words. They will pick it up when they are ready. Baby steps.
How is she going now? GREAT, AWESOME, FABO! I’m so very proud of my little Swab-a-licious! She loves reading, she’s so proud of herself it fills me with joy and I well up to see her. What we struggled with has not come easy and so as a result we are so very grateful. As for writing, it’s still in very early stages. She’s not forming all her letters properly yet but she’s certainly getting there. (So why stress?) The past three days have seen her (both our girls actually) write stories over three pages long. I’m not talking about a few sentences on a page, but lines and lines of stories. Swab’s are somewhat difficult to read, she is still learning to put in spaces (lol) and her spelling is bad, she is sounding out and writing phonetically still but it’s a great start. Check out the photo to the right, her story is the one on the top left.
What I’m most excited about is the PASSION. She is desperate to tell her stories. Last night she expressed to me how she just can’t stop writing, she MUST.
Isn’t that the bit you can’t teach?
Life is tricky, it’s a roller coaster. You have good days and bad. But when the day comes that your child can read, and wants to. When the day comes that your child can write, and wants to. It’s a good day and everything else is icing.