In a society that touts early literacy as the be all and end all of a good education, children who aren’t following the arbitrary timelines created by educational bureaucrats are often left as feeling “less than.”
I’m dumb because I can’t read.
My teacher says I might have to be held back because I can’t read. Doesn’t that mean flunking?
I get so embarrassed having to get pulled out of class everyday when all my friends get to stay together.
What’s wrong with me?
I always get laughed at when the teacher picks me to read aloud.
Millions of children each year end up with feelings such as these simply because they are progressing at a different level than their peers. This feeling of inadequacy often follows these children far beyond their school years.
There is an answer for kids such as these.
10 Reasons to Consider Homeschooling Your Late Reader
#1- They can develop at their own pace.
Free from the restrictive rules brought on by school, homeschooled children have the advantage of taking their time in order to develop on their own timeline- not the school’s.
#2- They’re not labeled and categorized.
This one hits very close to home with me. My son was “labeled” for his difficulties with reading comprehension. After about a year, his troubles cleared up, but this insecurity has remained with him even now- seven years later. He still has moments when he insists that he’s stupid. No amount of reassurance from me will take away the shame he felt during that time in school.
#3- They can develop confidence.
A child who is not in school being teased for not reading well is far less likely to feel inadequate. In fact, children who have never been in school often don’t even realize that, according to the educational system, they would be considered “late readers” because they haven’t been exposed to that nonsense.
#4- There are no arbitrary guidelines to follow.
I once read in a John Holt book that a reading specialist in Chicago once came up with 500 separate skills that children have to master before reading. 500. Thankfully, that number was dramatically decreased, but even so, most of the rules taught for reading in the classroom do more damage than good by confusing the children, especially those children who are “behind” to begin with.
#5- They can learn in a way that suits them.
Children aren’t clones. They weren’t developed on an assembly line, although schools like to think they were. Not all children learn things the same way. Some kids do well with phonics. Others hate phonics and prefer the whole language approach. Still others do best without any formal instruction at all and seem to learn by osmosis. There is no one right way to learn how to read.
#6- They can choose books that interest them.
Elementary readers- not the children, but the books used to teach reading- are boring. They are simplistic and seem to have no real meaning. Some kids do okay with them, but others just can’t pay enough attention to them in order for them to be helpful because they’re just not interested in them. When my son was in school, his learning support teacher once told me that he had better comprehension when she let him pick out his own books. I remember thinking, You actually got paid to tell me that?
#7- There is no shame in reading late.
This ties in closely with #3. In addition to not feeling embarrassed in front of peers, there are no threats about being held back a grade. Stress like this is nothing but a hindrance in helping a child to learn.
#8- They will learn to read because they recognize a need for it, not because they were forced to do it for a letter grade or out of the fear of being retained.
Children who are coerced into doing something they are not developmentally ready for will have a more difficult time than those who are given the freedom to take their time and see why a certain skill is necessary in their lives. A child who wants to learn to read to help with his favorite game or read his favorite comic book will be infinitely more motivated to learn than a child who is doing it because “my teacher said so.”
#9- They will have a better chance of actually enjoying to read.
Children who aren’t rushed and nagged to achieve literacy are more likely to read for pleasure. Even adults don’t like to do things they’re forced to do.
#10- They can learn in a more natural and relaxing atmosphere.
Sometimes sitting in a parent’s lap while being read to, enjoying the intimacy and comfort of the moment is the greatest remedy for reading difficulties. Some children love to be read to again and again and again. Many of these children begin to read by following along with their parent’s voice while reading a familiar book together. Any type of reading instruction (including formal reading lessons) done in a relaxed, loving way will be much more beneficial in the end.
Your child is one of the most precious gifts you’ll ever be given. If homeschooling will prevent your child from being torured in school everyday, at least consider it. Don’t let your child’s individuality be stifled. Nurture it.
You won’t be sorry.