Tiff is 11 years old and has been learning to read for a few years now. The process of natural reading looks very different than it does for children in school. As Unschooling parents, it is important to surround our children with the written word, but not with the intention that they read. It is to support their interests with as many resources as possible, in as many ways as possible.
Reading is a useful tool in life and what human wouldn't want to learn how to use this amazing tool, unless they are forced to do things that make learning to read seem difficult. Respecting when I child has the innate desire to learn to read to benefit and enrich their own lives can be hard for parents who are brainwashed to believe that reading needs to happen earlier. It is so important for parents of Unschoolers to Deschool themselves and in essence, unbrainwash themselves to seeing things through schooly lenses - especially when it comes to reading and writing.
Tiffany's first book that she has read is the 288 page biography of the band, One Direction. It is a BIG, thick book! She loved it and was so proud of herself that she read it. She shared with me throughout her reading it, "Mom, look how much I've read so far!" I was excited for her and happy that she has now mastered a tool that will serve her for the rest of her life.
The idea that a child will be "behind" if they don't read sooner is totally false. Both Tiffany and Devin picked up books at their age level, or dare I say, above their age level once they were internally motivated to read. Just because children who are respected and honored in their time frame of readiness generally start later in reading than kids in school, they are not behind at all! They never have to waste their time doing, "busy work," and jumping through the boring, repetitive hoops in the name of reading readiness.
What we have been told about learning to read is all a lie! In fact, children who are respected and supported by their parents in their natural time frame are able to spend their time and years pursuing their interests, fine-tuning other skills that would have been taken up by all of the unnecessary preparing for reading tasks, such as phonics, repetitive writing exercises, testing, drills and assignments. My children are far ahead of children in school with a perfectly individualized education created for them, by them. I trust that my children know what is best for them in regards to what they want to learn. They trust that we will always support whatever they are interested in and bring as much of the world as possible into their lives to learn and grow from.
So, my little girl read her first book. Am I proud? Well.. I am happy for honoring when she wanted to read. I am happy that SHE is happy and that there was never any force or coercion involved that would have damaged the important connection that we share. I have two children that love to read and write who have never done workbook pages, or have been tested, or have been made to do work of any kind to prepare them for what just happened naturally. I am proud for always listening to my heart and for proving society wrong. Our family is living proof that learning to read is easy, and natural when we respect our children and surround them with the tools they need to learn and to grow.
Radical Unschooling is REAL learning and I am honored to be a voice to share that with the World!
~Peace & Love, Dayna