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“I can learn stuff on my own!”

A penguin drawn recently (in about a minute or so) by my artistic daughter.

Those were the words my daughter said to me this morning that made me think. They made me realize that we have strayed far from the path on which we originally began our homeschool journey a few years ago. “We are unschoolers!” I proudly proclaimed a few years ago to another homeschooling mom. (See my article: Yes, I am an Unschooler) As a young momma working with a then five year old, I felt perfectly happy to proclaim our unschooling ways. After all, my ‘kindergartner’ was happy to explore bugs and ¬†ancient Egyptian mummies at will and I was happy to let her do so, confident that her reading skills would continue to improve from their rudimentary beginnings. I felt sure that within a few months, the ‘need to read’ would set in and she would see the benefit of reading, begin to love words and word meanings (just like I do) and be reading chapter books for fun by age six.

I was confusing my own journey with hers. As we went on, I began to be concerned that her reading skills didn’t seem to improve as rapidly as I expected. Why was she struggling with symbol recognition? Why is it still hard for her to understand that the word she read on the last page is still the same word on this page?

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