My concerns about reading

Every month, maybe more than once, I question our choice to homeschool our kids. Mostly I think this is because we’re unschooling. I know in my heart that this is right for us. I know that my children, day by day, are growing into who they are meant to be. I know this path will allow our children to be free, independent thinkers. I couldn’t ask for more.

I cycle back and forth as to whether or not we’ll continue with homeschooling. I question if we’re doing enough.  I cycle to the not side when I think of Cas and how he isn’t reading. I know that if I stick with what we’re doing and we continue on this path, one day I’ll read this post and laugh at this. Just like a first time parent is concerned with every one of their baby’s milestones and if they’re on “track”. By the time you get to the second, third, fourth baby you just learn to appreciate each and every milestone and hope they don’t come too soon.

Now mind you, Cas is five. When we started him in kindergarten (for three weeks before pulling him out to homeschool) he was just four and turned five less than a week after school started. So I don’t know why reading is on my mind. Its still early. I know reading is different for everyone. I know that children will be more affluent readers if they aren’t forced to read and we don’t quantify their reading. I have a book I started with him a while back, but he didn’t enjoy it so its been set aside for now. Maybe I’ll pull it out again this summer or try another approach. Maybe I won’t. Maybe he’ll learn to read on his own like all the unschooled children before him.

I’m not entirely certain, but I’m pretty sure Siri is reading above a first grade level. Probably above a second grade level even. She learned to read in kindergarten but where she’s gone since then I can’t attribute to school or any curriculum. She reads text everywhere. She plays games, watches YouTube and reads whatever interests her. I don’t force her to read. I myself, love to read. I always have. But I remember when I was younger, immediately losing interest in reading if we had to read a book in school. And book reports?! Forget it. Those did me in. I detested having to analyze what I read. Siri was the same when she was learning to read in kindergarten and would have to answer questions that went along with the book. She also didn’t like having to read books selected for her for a set period of time. Kind of like what Alfie Kohn talks about in his article on how to create non-readers.

I want my children to make choices about their learning. Reading will come for Cas. I don’t know when, I don’t know if I’ll play a part, but just like a child will eventually walk Cas will eventually read. The age when he walked is insignificant. The same will be true for reading. I need to remind myself of this. We are on a journey, together as a family. What we want for our children is so much more than what they would have inside the walls of a school. We want them to feel free. Free to make their own choices. Their own decisions. Why should that stop when it comes to education?