What if my child has a reading problem?
How do you know if your child has a problem or if he will end up being just a late reader. One of the most common fears of unschooling is will my child read? It doesn't help a parent with their fears if you think your child may have a language difficulty. How does unschooling fit into that???
If it's not a problem for the child, is it a problem?
What clues are you using to come to the conclusion that he has a language difficulty? I assume it's more than just not reading when schools expect kids to read.
How much have you read about other unschoolers' experiences with later readers? Have you laid out what you observe in your son and asked if anyone has any insights?
Observing, drawing a conclusion and then asking for help finding a solution to the conclusion you've come to won't get you as much information and insight as asking for help figuring out what the problem is.
Schools and experts convince us of two things:
1) That there are problems that are undetectable unless you're an expert.
2) That we need to fix problems undetectable by nonexperts before they turn into uncorrectable problems.
Neither is true. And we need to find a way to let go of those beliefs for unschooling to work.
Observation will tell us when our kids are having problems.
Reading the experiences of other unschoolers will help us decide if what we see is actually a problem or if it's normal (for kids whose learning isn't expected to happen on a particular schedule).
Asking also helps.
Observation will let us see when they're trying to do something and they can't. It might be developmental and will take care of itself. If there's some other issue, it's not going to affect one part of their life. It's going to pop up and affect other areas of their lives.
Does he want to read? Some kids want to read before they're developmentally ready. But what if it was bike riding? Some kids want to ride a bike before they're developmentally ready. What do (reasonable) parents do? Do they panic and think their child has a bike-riding disorder? Or do they sympathize and reassure the child he'll ride when he's ready and able to ride?
Last updated: April 2009