My techniques and ideas surrounding homeschooling have changed significantly over the years. I began as a little too enthusiastic, and was determined to have a fluent four year old reader. That came back to get me, and I quickly realized that there’s no reason to push a child to read that early. Thankfully, Josiah has still gained a love for reading, despite my early pushiness in that department. You live and ya learn, and I’ve slowly bid farewell to many of my attempts to mimic typical school in the home setting, only because homeschooling offers a freedom to learn in a variety of ways (and actually enjoy it)! I’ll save that for another post I have slated out in my brain for later. 😉
Anyhoo, by the time Amaus came along, I had relaxed my approach some. He had been sitting in my lap for all of the letter sound practice I’d done with Isaac. He had enjoyed sitting in as a one year old as we sang the alphabet. Now call me an idiot, but I just wasn’t aware of how much he was picking up on in that totally laid back environment. That is, until one day when he was a year and a half old, he started pointing to letters on our alphabet puzzle and telling me what they were. It was so unbelievable that I had to video it to prove to Danny what Amaus was actually doing!
We’ve kept that same relaxed approach going each year. He’s known his letter sounds for about a year, and in recent weeks he’s started sounding out words. He thinks that’s the funniest thing ever! What’s pretty amazing though, is I’m watching him glance at words and read them without even really sounding them out! Not every time, but many times! Could it be that this gentler approach to gradually and daily incorporating the alphabet and letter sounds into learning, opposed to drilling these as necessary learning skills on a timeline, actually produces an easier and more enjoyable route to reading? I’m believing so!
Amaus just turned five in September. We’ve been working through our My Father’s World kindergarten curriculum. Yesterday I was going through our children’s books and I found some of our first grade readers. I decided to let Amaus give a go at a story. He read it wonderfully! Boy was he proud!
I want learning to be fun for all of our kids. I’m still learning how to make that happen, but I love it when a mental light goes off, and I realize something so obvious that I couldn’t see before! All kids have an internal desire to learn and a natural curiosity for the world around them. Being able to tap into what’s already there, directing them and learning with them, is far more helpful than checking off a list of skills with deadlines; mainly because the latter doesn’t take into account individual children and their learning types or abilities. I want to be better about leaving a desire in my kids to dig deeper, discover more, figure out how things work…all without any motive other than them having a great time, and being able to use that knowledge in some way in the future.