In August of 2010, I started teaching my oldest child to read. Because of the spacing of our kids, I’ve been teaching Kindergarten, 1st grade or 2nd grade reading since that time. 5 1/2 years. I’m not an expert, but I’ve learned a couple of things.
- Struggling with learning to read is not necessarily a sign that your child is not ready to learn.
It’s possible she’s not ready. More likely, it’s a combination of pacing and the fact that kids love to melt down for their moms. Isaac cries when I tell him he needs to clean his room. Sometimes he crumples into a heap on the floor. Never once have I responded by thinking, “Poor child. He is not ready to clean his room. I’ll wait until he shows signs of readiness.”
- Your local homeschool facebook group is not a trained reading specialist.
If you really feel like your kid is struggling and you aren’t sure how to help them, your best bet is to find someone who has taught reading to more than just their own children. The internet has made us all experts, right? Your local homeschool facebook group is fabulous for encouragement and pointing to helpful resources. As helpful as they have been, they have no way of knowing, from their side of the internet, what your child needs. I know there is a lot of skepticism out there in the homeschool community about the “establishment”(read that as licensed teachers), but I promise you that your child will not be crushed or indoctrinated into a monster if you and your child talk to a teacher/reading specialist. There is no agenda there other than to help your child read. I feel like I need to add here that I’m not saying you need to be a licensed teacher to educate your child. I’m saying that if your child is having a lot of trouble, this is the perfect time to get advice from an expert.
- Giving your child a chance to work at something that is difficult for them is a gift.
The people who have the most success in life, are the ones that don’t quit. It’s not that they are smarter than others. It’s that they are willing to work at something longer and take more time before they give up. That’s an invaluable skill to give your kids. Children need to have the opportunity to work through something difficult.
- Expect it to take longer than you thought it would.
It might not take twice as long as you thought, but if you prepare yourself to spend two days on a lesson, you wont feel “behind” when certain concepts take longer to click.
- The reading lesson for the day shouldn’t be entirely new and difficult concepts.
I got that advice from my friend, Katherine. She knows because she is a reading specialist. She’s also a homeschool mom. When Audrey (child #2) was having a hard time, she helped me realize that I was going to fast and we needed to back up. I made the mistake of moving forward too quickly. She was still having to work had to recall things I had taught her previously while learning additional concepts. It was too much for her. Backing up was not the same as sitting around and waiting for Audrey to be “ready”. I just backed up to working on CVC words and sounds until they came easier to her. Then we moved on to the next reading concepts.
That’s what I’m figured out in 5 1/2 years of teaching reading to my kids. I’ve learned something about myself too. Not only have my kids discovered they can do hard things, so have I!