Child-Led, Mama-Guided Learning

I am a big supporter of delayed schooling: waiting until age 6-8 to begin doing short lessons in the basics of education. This is based on the value of learning foundational thinking and physical skills, and common sense in the years prior.

When their senses are more developed and they have had the opportunity to release energy and spend the day with their imagination, then, they are ready to begin learning big people stuff.

Yet, as with almost every other phase of childhood we’ve moved to so far, I’ve seen that whatever form of schooling is used, it should in the early years be based on the individual child.

For example, I did not plan to teach Buddy how to read for another year or two, but he has for some time now been memorizing words we read to him and practicing spelling out and writing them because he wants to know them.

So I started going through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Engelmann, Haddox, and Bruner, with the idea that if he balked at it we would stop. Instead, he found the first lessons useless because he already knew their objective. When we got into combining sounds though, he started getting excited, and you could see the joy in his face when he realized that simple, but important fact that a word is made of sounds. And then it clicked.

Buddy will be 5 years old next week, and I do not want to pressure him to learn anything. I want learning to be a fun adventure that he discovers. However, kids need guides to help them along, and clues like those Buddy gave me say, “get in line mom! Help me figure this out!”

There is a line between teaching too much too early, and not teaching enough in the early years. You have to be able to read the signs that each of your kids send and use those to determine the when and hows of introducing school at the right time and in the right way.

How did you introduce homeschooling to your kids?

4 responses to “Child-Led, Mama-Guided Learning

  1. I love the way you have stayed true to you education philosophy. It’s amazing how if you wait and watch and follow, your children will lead you to exactly where they should be whether that is ahead of their peers or behind. As a veteran teacher of 10 years who now homeschools, I now understand this better than ever. I look forward to reading more about your journey.

    • Thank you! It sounds like you have been here before. Ten years is quite a bit of experience, do share your ideas here when you get the chance, but I am about to check out your blog :0)

  2. I taught five very different childr en, over ten years, how to read using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I am not an unschooler, but to take the pressure off of me and the children, we told the people around us that our children would not read until the age of ten. And, all but one, all read before the age of eight. All but the struggling reader are above average readers. I have always schooled based on my children, not what the scope and sequence said a child should be doing. We call that delight directed teaching and who cares what the standardized tests will be asking, they will still test fine (if you choose to test them).

    • It’s such a great book, isn’t it?! Like I said, I wasn’t planning to teach reading this earlier, but he is picking it up so quickly! I do like your idea of being up front about delaying schooling though. I have found that the more firm you are about something, the less people question your decisions.

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