View Full Version : Giving up on reading and phonics

05-04-2015, 01:30 PM
I give up!

Throwing in the towel.

The kid is just not getting it.

Explode the Code? Nope! He can't even match words.

all about reading? We can't get past the first few lessons. His card pile is huge and he doesn't remember them.

I'm putting this all away and trying again in the fall.

Why should I bang my head up against a wall? It is making us both crazy.

05-04-2015, 01:48 PM

Your 6yo may just not be developmentally ready.

Your 7yo may not be either.

Boys get to be kids longer than girls do--you already know how great 9-14 year old boys are while their female agemates are snarky, obnoxious, hormonal messes.

No sense in making little kids hate books just because of some ridiculous educational fad that doesn't take normal variations in biological development into account. Don't underestimate how much they pick up while they're looking over your shoulder snuggled up on the couch during read aloud time.

If he can read single words, he can help at the grocery store.

If he can recognize letters, he can read street signs in some parts of some towns.

A nice little catch phrase that helps me through the kind of frustration you're describing is "teach the child, not the curriculum". We've all been where you are now. It will be okay.

05-04-2015, 01:59 PM
Yep! That's why I'm giving up. (For now.) He doesn't understand. He wants to understand and give the right answer, but he can't.

He did well all year up to now. He learned all his letters, both upper and lower case and all the sounds. He just can't blend them together. (Except the AT family, he loves the AT family words)

I'm doing this because my 7 year old taught me, he will read when he is ready. He struggled for years. He wanted to read very badly and could not. And then all of the sudden he is reading everything. He went from knowing 1 or 2 words to reading books like Commander Toad.

I've tried everything and the kid is not ready. I'm done, we will try again in the fall.

My first post sounds dramatic, but honestly I'm ok with this. We are still doing plenty. He loves math and his MBTP lessons. That is enough for now.

05-04-2015, 02:05 PM
I feel like the ability to make that choice is one of the great things about homeschooling. Learning to do it can definitely be a challenging lesson for us!


05-04-2015, 03:19 PM
Thinking about giving up and going light all the way around.

No more reading, spelling or grammar.

Math, MBTP and read alouds only. (Maybe journaling, and tea time.)

Lots of games! (Maybe sneak in some educational games)

I think we could all use some downtime.

05-04-2015, 03:42 PM
A homeschooling friend of mine said that one of her daughters could not read until middle school. She tried everything to get that kid to read. She said she needed a little padded room for herself while her kid was playing because she was so frustrated. Then, one day, her daughter started reading...everything! Today, she is a journalism major at a major University. Sometimes you just never know.

05-04-2015, 04:38 PM
Congratulations on taking a break! One of the best things about homeschooling :-)

05-04-2015, 05:15 PM
I did the same with my oldest son. At first it was a hard decision because we were fairly new to hs but after a while I got over it. I started him back around 7-8 and he picked it up really quickly.

05-04-2015, 05:40 PM
Im with the chorus on *yay let it go for now*.... with the caveat that you may want to rule out processing issues.

I feel that I took a lot of peoples advice and reassurance that there was nothing unusual about my baby not talking at 2.5 yrs. He wasnt autistic, so the consensus was that he would talk when he was ready.
But Im really glad that I did get things checked out - it brought to light related difficulties I didnt even realise he had.
So now my advice is *get that checked out*.

05-04-2015, 06:15 PM
To be honest 3 out of the 4 of my boys that can read did not read until 7. If we are still having problems in the fall, I 'll get him checked out.

05-07-2015, 02:27 AM
Yep! That's why I'm giving up. (For now.) He doesn't understand. He wants to understand and give the right answer, but he can't.

He did well all year up to now. He learned all his letters, both upper and lower case and all the sounds. He just can't blend them together. (Except the AT family, he loves the AT family words)

Don't worry, my son just turned 9 he still has trouble blending when requested. I believe he is a natural Whole Language or Whole word reader. He just never got the hang of blending sounds, he always breaks down the individual sounds then can't put them together again. Finally I told him stop sounding out words he knows and just say them. He was visibly relieved, his whole body relaxed, since then he has become an avid reader. Its pretty mind boggling and amazing. I've given up on teaching him to blend (I teach him digraphs, etc) its obviously makes no sense to him and I realize I've been holding him back for it. I may still get him checked out in the future, but for now he is doing well.

05-07-2015, 09:09 AM
This is exactally how my daughter progressed with AAR. She learned the letter sounds super fast. Then the word cards piled up. Blending was tedious. We put it away thinking we'd get back to it in a few months or so. Then bam, she started reading, and we never got it out again (well she enjoyed reading the readers of the other levels - my son used AAR).

So yes a break sounds perfect!

05-13-2015, 04:18 PM
At risk of being convicted as being sexist, the boy norms and girl norms (in aggregate, of course, individual variances are to be expected!) are not the same. I think it would be more fair if they had separate standards and timelines for separate skills, but the ACLU would probably sue the pants off anyone who did it, kind of like how they went to war against single-gender classrooms in private schools, that the parents approved of, that results and research supported...but they cried foul on sexism, and poof, doesn't matter if it benefits the kids, because most of the time boys and girls have different learning, speaking, and participatory styles, nope, gotta be politically correct which means for now, gender-blind.


Boys should have a year or two subtracted from their age for certain skills and when they are expected, and girls should have the same done, for certain others, and then if someone identifies as the other gender, well, let them pick! Or if they need to zoom ahead, let them. Seems so reasonable in my head, why can't it be that easy in real life? ;)

That's one of the things I hate most about the standardization of learning in schools: that every kid should be able and ready to learn certain things at certain ages, and if they aren't, that means there is something wrong with them, by definition, rather than something wrong with the expectations or the standardization of people.

05-13-2015, 04:21 PM
..and in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention I suffer from "unable to shut my mouth disorder." hehe I think the technical term is glossarrhea. Well, I made that up, but it works, because "gloss-, glot-" is the root word for 'tongue' and that would mean running off at the mouth... ok, shutting up now.

05-13-2015, 10:26 PM
LOL crunchynerd! I was thinking about this today, too.... how in the name of political correctness and equality we put on blinders to admitting that people are different.

05-13-2015, 10:33 PM
I don't know, my DD who is 9 has a whole lot of difficulty with blending and phonemics and my DS who is 6 is reading at a 3rd grade level. I also notice that people who when they have a youngest who is quiet it is because he/she is the youngest and everyone else is talking for them, and if they are talkative because they learned so much from the older kids. So my point is that I'm not sure what the truth is, but I would be really interested in the educational theory on this - any teachers out there who can enlighten us?

05-14-2015, 01:06 AM
My guys have all hit milestones at around the same age.

Potty training........




I have seen no jump because the younger kids are learning from the older ones.

05-18-2015, 10:48 AM
Thanks for posting this, this was just what I was looking for when I came here today. I gave up last November with my soon-to-be 7 yo boy. We took a 3 month break and then together decided to extend it to a 6 month break. He'll be 7 next month. I'm definitely scared about reintroducing, and I might not reintroduce at all! He just really lowers his head and butts anytime he is made to perform or produce in any way.

I go back to the chorus I hear here. "Is he progressing in other ways?" Definitely. So hard to stay in the present and not jump to "OMG, he's going to be a struggling reader when he's 12".

05-18-2015, 11:39 AM
Kimmyann--I think we could make the argument the other way, though, too. Force him to read (especially in a classroom), he feels stupid, continues to struggle, and it isn't long before he decides reading is dumb and he can't do it. Bam! Struggling reader into the teens and beyond.

It's the #1 reason I HS my youngest. There are so many different reasons, but it's the one I go back to when I doubt myself. He is 8 1/2 now and is starting to read words on his own (not books). He can read books, now we just have to do it every day; but there is that hesitation in both of us because of too many days of struggling. I ditched all readers and just went with funny picture books that are light on the words and have simple pictures. Too many words and he gets overloaded. Too many detailed pictures and he gets distracted. He gets offended with "readers" written to get in so many sight words or to work on certain sounds. At least there is that--he knows what a book is suppose to be for, and that isn't it!

My oldest struggled for a little bit, but then took off--like crazy off, jumping from struggling to 10th grade level in less than two years. I have this to contend with in my youngest, too. But I have really enjoyed our journey. Because his reading is developing later, and at a plodding rate, I get to see each step in the development process (which I didn't in eldest). It is really exciting!

BTW, Youngest still has trouble with knowing some letters (we're almost done with that!). He flat out didn't know some letters until last year about this time. He still gets yellow and orange (as in the colors, not the words) mixed up. I've just let it all go. Experience and everyday use has helped him more than any harping...erm, teaching... I have done.

05-27-2015, 09:45 PM
Thanks for posting :) I'm on my third child and I'm still freaking about the reading thing. She is almost 8 and is not a fluent reader yet. BUT when I think back, my oldest son did not really pick it up until after he turned 8...my middle son was probably 8 1/2...so I'm giving it a little time before she just starts reading on her own. They all excel in math and the reading took a while...even for myself, I honestly don't remember reading until I was 9 (I don't know how I made it through to third grade!)

09-07-2016, 06:44 PM
I agree with everyone with what they said about taking it slow I just have 2 additional pieces of advice!

1) please just look at this book https://www.amazon.com/Teach-Your-Child-Read-Lessons/dp/0671631985 and know that the instructions to parents about this book says that each of these short 20min lessons should only be done when child seems interested and done in in a light-heated fun way! It also says that each lesson should be done over and over again (on different days) until mastery is achieved.

2) know that the best thing you can do to help a child read is to read everything out loud to your child while they can see the words (even pointing out the letters , naming them and sounding out the words slowly sometimes help). This includes books, newspapers, cereal boxes, signs at stores...everything ;)

don't worry too much things will happen when they are suppose to!! :D

09-14-2016, 01:43 AM
I'm in the "get things checked out" camp because sometimes getting an expert involved removes a lot of frustration.

We did everything to get our son to eat solids. He just threw everything up. He was a year old and couldn't eat so many foods. I had a lot of "food before one is just for fun" thrown at me but I suspected something was wrong.

By this point I was crying half the time he threw up and ready to tear my hair out the rest of the time. I thought I had failed him, I was the worst mom ever, all that. I understand so much the frustration of your kid not doing something that other kids appear to do so easily and naturally.

I caved to my instincts and talked to his pediatrician, who was awesome about it and got us to a speech therapist. He was dx spd with neuromuscular issues, abnormal joints, and fine and gross motor skill delays. So was our other kid. Now we have therapy and HELP. It was hard at first knowing that the kids have special needs. But it also took away so much stress and frustration because we have someone trained in addressing these issues working with the kids and making all our lives manageable.

It doesn't hurt to put concerns in front of a pediatrician and ask if it might warrant further testing. If they say no, you can keep going with more confidence. But if they say yes then they can hopefully direct you to people who can help not only address the issue but give you your life back.