I have never read any books about home education despite being an avid reader of all sorts of things and a great researcher of pros and cons. I’m not sure why home ed didn’t get the full research treatment unlike to name a few, Protein S Deficiency in pregnancy (lucky if you carry to term and luckier if you inject heparin daily) or 7 seater cars that still have boot room (Honda Odyssey) or washing machines (Siemens) or sewing machines (vintage Singer) or flooring (Marmoleum)

Miss Amoo didn’t get on with the nursery class and before that she didn’t get on well in pre-school either so when it came to committing to 5 days a week and proper school we weren’t sure. After several weeks of wondering what to do, the idea of just not going to school came out of nowhere and the relief that accompanied the thought convinced us that we should do it.

Last Tuesday I took three home ed books from a friend in order to return them to another friend. The second friend is on holiday so the books are at our house. I picked up John Holt’s Learning All the Time last night and read the first half of it. It was interesting to read his descriptions of children writing before they want to read and then reading whole books because they want to find out what is in them rather than learning letters then words then rules and using those to learn to read.

This is more or less how Miss Amoo has learned to read and just this week she has begun to pick books from the shelf at random and read them. She doesn’t seem to have any fear of reading pages full of text and is wanting to sit by me on our ‘reading chair’ as she calls it, for about 15 minutes at a time. I am amazed at how she is doing it because other than playing on Reading Eggs for a couple of months a year ago, she hasn’t had any specific input from us or anywhere else.

Both the boys were reading avidly by the time they were six and Miss Amoo is now 7 and a bit but I’ve been trusting that it would happen for her when she wanted it to. If I had read this book sooner I would have been able to explain justify to doubters why I didn’t need to push or help her too much and that a year or more of being busy playing wasn’t a terrible thing for her to do instead of learning to read and write like they do at school.

Last night I also read this about Carol Dwecks’s research into why labelling a kid ‘clever’ isn’t helping them and then this about The Talent Myth which is kind of related and makes me wonder how many more big businesses think in this crazy way.


5 Comments to “Reading”

  1. I made the HUGE mistake of taking what I thought was a lovely gently gently approach lifted from our Steiner days – taking each letter one day at a time etc. 3 years on my 8 year old boy still cannot read and refuses to hold a pen. I had John Holt on my bookshelf all the time – and had even read it and loved it – but somehow forgot to do the trusting thing and did the pushing thing – albeit ‘gently’. Totally ridiculous – as if they learn to speak one letter or one syllable at a time.

    Have backed off – but he’s so confused by it all I’ve started trying to ‘help’ again, but with whole relevent to him sentences. God help him. AND I keep telling him how clever he is to boot! Seriously BAD MUTHA.

    Interesting stuff about the ‘talent’ management. I long ago came to the conclusion that I was utterly unemployable due to always pissing off my bosses in every job I’ve ever had. This was quite an insight to the ‘types’ – especially the narcissist. Big bells a-ringing…..

  2. Am trying to hold my nerve with my 6 yrs 7 month-old dd, though obviously very aware of the months as they tick by and still no signs of wanting to read. But she can read and write the word ‘dog’ which in her world, right now, is all she needs. And she likes to declare’ You do know that I can’t read, don’t you?’ to anyone who might suggest otherwise. Girl power, in pink wellies.

    I made a pretty mess of the whole reading thing with ds1, though to be fair I think school would have made even more of a mess of it. At least I had the sense to know when to back off and leave the poor kid alone. But he was the guineapig of home ed and as such he did get to experience an awful lot of different ‘teaching’ methods lol. Ds2 definitely benefitted from a path previously travelled – oh and a desperate need to read computer game instructions!

  3. p.s. if you’re looking at the whole labelling/praise thing then the book ‘punished by rewards’ (by Alfie Kohn) was a great eye-opener for me.

    Really wish I’d come across it sooner as so much of it made sense.

    • I am aware of his stuff from reading about it on motheringdotcommune and I thought it all made sense. I got sidetracked into reading Carol Dweck after listening to a link that Mr G got spammed with from a guy called Chris Cardell who is a business guru. He was droning on about mindset this or that so I googled mindset and got her! The net is a scary/cool/time consuming place for the avid reader….

  4. yeah…I often wonder what useful things I did with those hours I now spend emailing…blogging…web wandering.

    Actually I probably spent the time watching daytime tv and eating shop-bought pizza.

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