My oldest two children, both girls, read by age 4. The next two children were boys and they did not read by age 4, or 5, or 6, or …. I am not sure when they finally learned to read. They eventually did learn to read, but the process was not pleasant. And then I read Raymond Moore’s book, Better Late Than Early. In that book I was encouraged by his research that all children are different, some are ready to read earlier than others, and that requiring children to read before they are ready could actually damage their eyes. Here is a link to an excerpt from the book! Finally being convinced that reading is a lot like toilet training (when they are ready it is much easier to teach/train) I did not stress over the age that my five younger children learned to read. My fourth child, the one who first benefited from this new found knowledge, became one of my most avid readers. By the time my eighth and ninth children came along I was so comfortable with idea of not putting pressure on my children to read that I purposefully did not teach the youngest two to read in order to see what would happen. Would they learn on their own? If so, when? If not, when should I step in and teach them? The Old Schoolhouse magazine includes a more in depth article on what would happen if you didn’t teach your child to read.
As I travel and speak to homeschool moms I find many moms worried about accomplishing academic goals, often at times much earlier than necessary. I was fortunate to have a mentor in the 1980’s when I began homeschooling who told me the following:
- Do not bring school to the home. Make learning an extension of life. (That’s what we did from birth to age 4, right?)
- You do not need curriculum until middle or high school. It is there for your use, but do not become enslaved to curriculum.
- Read aloud. Read, read, and read some more.
- Spend a lot of time outdoors.
Great advice! Advice you should consider!