I remember we had been homeschooling for around six months and my beautiful bed of roses was very quickly turning into a handful of thorns!
While all this was most pleasant it did not remove this nagging feeling that somehow I was failing my son, who after all was already six years old and not reading. It's one thing to have homeschool mom's saying: "It's alright it will happen when they are ready." but quite another to daily walk that road when it feels like your child is the only child not reading.
Questions constantly plagued me:
- What was I doing wrong ?
- Should I do this or should I be doing that ?
- Should I have started earlier?
- Do I need to be waiting and starting later ?
- Maybe I need a different phonics program?
- Which is the best phonics program?
- Do I need to do phonics ?
- Why do I need to do this phonics ?
- Do I need a more intensive / less intensive program ?
Adding to the the burden were well meaning friends who were asking me how the reading was progressing ? Every where I went I found mother's (yes school Moms and home school Moms!) comparing their children's abilities to read. All this did was add to my anxiety. I did not want to be exposing my failures to all these people, let alone expose my children to prying eyes. I was beginning to feel like I needed to go into hiding till my children could read.
Why is it that...
- When we are young and at school we compare ourselves to our peers and their ability to read.
- When we become young people it never even crosses our minds to wonder how old the person in front of us was when they learned to read.
- When we go for a job interview we are never asked how old we were when we learned to read ?
- When we are parents we start comparing our child's progress in learning to read with other parents.
Now I do realize we need to have some 'standards' which come from comparison, otherwise how would we know when something is seriously wrong? Please note that I am not advocating never comparing, that is swinging the pendulum too far the other way. However I am talking about the comparisons we use which make us anxious and weary.
I have learned that the first factor starts with me and the attitude I have. This encompasses the motives I have for wanting my student to do a certain thing or do a certain thing within a certain time frame.
This process considerably eased my anxiety but not all of it. I continued to search for answers to understand where we were on our journey.
I leave you with this question:
Why do we as home educators / parents compare our child against this unspoken rule that by the age of six our children should be reading ?
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