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View Full Version : Tell me about learning to read and unschooling...



MrsJadeDragon
03-09-2014, 03:01 PM
We're coming up on the middle-to-end of our first homeschool year and I'm definitely feeling more of an urge to unschool. I have a kid who is crazy interested in science and if that's what she's interested in, I'm sure as hell not going to discourage it. The one area I don't intend on not using curriculum is math; she likes it anyway and we'll be moving to Life of Fred come summer so I'm not to worried about it.

I am concerned about reading. It's not her strong point and after pulling teeth since September, she's finally starting to recognize rhyming words, CVC words, etc. Aside from reading, reading, and more reading, what are some other ways to encourage it while unschooling? We let her play video games and reading menus and such, she's starting to get the hang of it. I also have her write some, things like "shopping lists" for me, maybe notes to say thank you, things like that.

Avalon
03-09-2014, 11:52 PM
Maybe she would like to play with Scrabble tiles (or any kind of letter tiles) to make up words. You could just play with them and try to sound out the silly combinations she makes, and make up silly combinations of your own, and then of course some of the combinations will be real words, etc...

Have you ever seen those poetry magnets? The ones that have a word on each magnet and you rearrange them on your fridge to make poetry or interesting word combinations? They have sets for kids, which might inspire her.

I have a card game called "silly sentences" that I played when the kids were small. It has a bunch of cards with nouns, verbs, adjectives, and conjunctions. There are silly pictures on them, too, of course. You choose cards and make hilarious sentences like "hairy elephants dance and sing" or "pink penguins slide and swim." You could make up your own using a few words she knows and a few she doesn't and fool around with them. Lots of laughs.

You could also write little stories together. Have her dictate them (encourage her to keep it VERY simple) while you write it down, and then she can illustrate and "read" it back to you.

At this stage, I think you can do almost anything, just do it together, so she has the support (at least that's what my kids wanted.)

Accidental Homeschooler
03-10-2014, 12:04 AM
Have you looked at progressive phonics? My dd is doing really well with it and LIKES it. We just do fifteen to twenty minutes a day and she has made amazing progress. It just teaches the rules that most words follow and then the exceptions.

Peaceful
03-10-2014, 06:51 AM
We don't unschool but my son did teach himself to read. I provided an environment rich with good books, I read to him for hours(because he wanted me to) and we visited the library often. When I read aloud I followed the words with my finger but never drew attention to it. It was an amazing process to watch.

kidsx2
03-10-2014, 07:23 AM
My ds "struggled" with reading when he was 6 (1st grade). I was convinced he would never read fluently. Then, one day he was a reader - a beautiful reader! It was about 2/3 of the way through his 1st grade year. I wouldn't worry too much - just surround her with books, read to her and encourage her.

Norm Deplume
03-10-2014, 09:18 AM
For my daughter, reading didn't really "click" until she was almost 7. She was in public school, had learned all her letters in kindy, etc., but the real ability to read just didn't come to her until the second half of first grade. So my very non-expert advice is: don't stress about it. Make the world of books available to her, and she'll get it eventually. If for some reason a little later she's still not picking it up, you can start to worry then.

Juno
03-10-2014, 09:40 AM
Just keep it enjoyable and don't stress. Play word games, we played I spy on cereal boxes and books. Also reading say fifteen books according to her level and then having a party makes it fun. OK my daughter didn't truly get it until nine, and we surrounded her with books, read to her every day since she was a baby, it was really discouraging. So don't sweat it at five, enjoy her play games. Now my daughter loves to read.

dbmamaz
03-10-2014, 09:54 AM
I dont consider myself an unschooler, but Raven was late to read. We did some sight-word games, i read to him a lot, and i found books he was willing to struggle through by 2nd grade - elephant and piggy. He was always just slow, I never used a reading program (tho I did use a phonics-based spelling program eventually) and now he's in 5th grade and reading Harry Potter, which is about grade-level-appropriate.

Keep reading to her, point out words as you go in easy (dr suess) books, get a few very early readers and let her read the words she knows . . . unless she gets frustrated that she cant read, i would just keep slowly encouraging.

quabbin
03-10-2014, 12:23 PM
It sounds like she's doing fine. One more thing she might like is to dictate stories to you. You read them back to her, and eventually she'll re-read them.

popsicle1010
03-12-2014, 02:40 AM
Is she already reading and writing (or dictating) in formal or playful ways about science / topics of interest to her? I bet so, but if not that might be a hook. I don't know what kind of science she's into but maybe she could write lab reports (these could be age appropriate and fun), design a naturalist manual, etc to give her a reason to use words for something she's passionate about (which may not be 'learning to read'). Good luck! She's still young and it sounds like you're on top of it. :)

sells_kate
03-12-2014, 08:44 AM
I wonder if the leapreader would work? We have never owned one, or a tag reading system but I've been wanting to try it. The fact that they have to use the pen to point to the actual words. I do point to words as I read sometimes, but this way they HAVE to. Could also be good for Long car rides.

crunchynerd
03-12-2014, 09:45 PM
I'm on this same fence, because I was worried about Spaceman Spiff needing more guidance and nudging than I was hoping to have to provide. How can we know if one kid or another just simply needs more time, or actually needs help, until it's pretty late in the game, at which point we wish we had gotten help sooner? A catch-22.

I know I have to get on the ball with his phonics, because he did make a readiness breakthrough, and start sounding out words on his own, figuring out what we were spelling to each other, but I'm not confidant that he'll spontaneously do it all, on his own. Maybe if I sat back and waited, but I'm not going to, because following my nose didn't work out so well with DD, who ended up needing systematic phonics to overcome some problems she developed as a result of my first attempt at a laid-back method.

But my father taught himself to read at 4, and so did the son of another homeschool mom I know in real life...so it's not true across the board that everyone has to start with the same approach or at a specific age, or that everyone necessarily even needs to be taught phonics. Some kids come by that stuff naturally. We just never know how each kid is going to be, until we're there. There is a happy bit of reassurance though, that most of the time, our mistakes aren't fatal or irreversible. And thank goodness, since none of us has a working crystal ball!

BakedAk
03-13-2014, 12:02 PM
If she would like to listen to/read some funny little books written (and read on video) by a homeschooled/unschooled 7 year old with his own blog (just to see what's possible with the world of language), check out The Independent Kid (http://theindependentkid.com/my-writing/). This link will take you to the contents page for his writing. My Boy thinks this kid is great. Three of the books are in his "Gross series" - "Nosey Posey," "Pull My Finger," and "Arms Up!" (by B. Oh).

Keiran'sMom
03-13-2014, 12:39 PM
The boy is 6 and is reading pretty good now. The school started him on sight words, which gave him a bit of jump. I personally hate them but we found ways to make them fun. I started getting books from the library that had rebuses in them. This is great because most of them have the picture and word together. They were usually for nouns that are pretty hard words like; balloon, cloud, or someone's name. The books are also usually things like barbie, nickelodeon shows, or other popular things like TMNT or Star Wars Clone Wars.
We also love Piggie and Elephant, with the boy acting out the parts of Piggie. I also found lots of free activities that augment the books online. The husband has been really impressed with the progress we have made.
We also have a deal...I read one and he reads one with help. I choose mine and he chooses his. I have been looking for ROL books but so far he has showed no interest in just sitting and listening to me read for longer than 5 mins. Working on that.

ikslo
03-13-2014, 12:45 PM
I have been looking for ROL books but so far he has showed no interest in just sitting and listening to me read for longer than 5 mins.

Why does he have to "just sit and listen"? My son plays with his toys near where I am reading. I know he pays attention because he'll raise his hand to ask a question about something I just read, or to tell me when it makes him think of something else, or to give his opinion. If I hear him talking to his toys, I sometimes stop and ask him if he is even listening, and he always is able to repeat what I just read - not always verbatim, but he definitely knows what is going on in the story. Now, maybe not every kid can do this, but if your kiddo is the type that can't sit still, I say find a book that is interesting to you, and just start reading it out loud and let him move around.

ETA: Last night, for example, we were finishing The Art of Racing in the Rain, and I looked up and he was crying. He was still playing, mind you. He was simply crying silently. I asked him, "What's wrong? Did you break one of your toys or something?" and he said, "No, it's just this part of the story is really sad, and I couldn't stop the tears." And then he turned back to his Playmobil scene (he is 7, after all) and said, "Keep reading, mom!"

Keiran'sMom
03-13-2014, 03:48 PM
Why does he have to "just sit and listen"? My son plays with his toys near where I am reading. I know he pays attention because he'll raise his hand to ask a question about something I just read, or to tell me when it makes him think of something else, or to give his opinion. If I hear him talking to his toys, I sometimes stop and ask him if he is even listening, and he always is able to repeat what I just read - not always verbatim, but he definitely knows what is going on in the story. Now, maybe not every kid can do this, but if your kiddo is the type that can't sit still, I say find a book that is interesting to you, and just start reading it out loud and let him move around.

ETA: Last night, for example, we were finishing The Art of Racing in the Rain, and I looked up and he was crying. He was still playing, mind you. He was simply crying silently. I asked him, "What's wrong? Did you break one of your toys or something?" and he said, "No, it's just this part of the story is really sad, and I couldn't stop the tears." And then he turned back to his Playmobil scene (he is 7, after all) and said, "Keep reading, mom!"

Yeah, he will not even do that. I call him my little distracted hummingbird. If something holds his attention he would not move from at my feet or beside me on the couch. Otherwise he will start running around, playing ball, or just interrupt with "Can I go play now?" I have tried the toys or letting him draw but nothing seems to help. When he was little the doctor said just let him run around at least he is listening. So that is our usual thing. He acts out the story as I am reading it or just sits and listens. With longer read aloud books he losses interest, so we stick mainly to picture books. I did find a series called "CatWings" that I thought I might try with him, he loves cats and one of his favorite shows has a flying cat in it. This is something we have struggled with, his attention span has no equal when it is something he likes, but is non existent when he doesn't. Once he asked me to stop reading out loud because he was playing.
Sorry for the ramble, as I said I have been trying to peak his interest in this for awhile.