For a start this is the first year when we are not really tied to school term dates as such because no one is in school or college. So we can be more flexible. But then if I am going to be ill I need to re-assess how I go about the whole Home Ed process a bit. One area where I think we have an advantage in that Ronan is a strong reader. While I think Avila finds reading more of a challenge she is reading reasonably well too. A primary school teacher friend pointed out that while I was a bit concerned about how Avila was reading, that she had no children at all in Reception and only a couple in year 1 who were reading at her level; so she is ahead of school children. However, I have to say, having worked in a Rec and year 1, I would hope any home educated child was finding reading easier than those children- because they get one to one or at least one to a few attention and books are everywhere in the home.
I am hoping, that as both of them read well enough that if I am too ill to do as much as I would like- they can read.
My friend K says that her son actually went from struggling to read to fluent during her Chemo months because he would simply sit with her and read to her. She was so ill, she doesn’t remember half of what he read (mainly Oxford Reading Tree books that she has now passed on to us), but it was the impetus for him to read-and he did so.
I know there is a lot of contention out there about when it is best for children to learn to read. The general consensus is, it is best for them to learn when they are ready. As children all develop at different rates, then they will learn to read at different rates. The research in this area is so varied and contradictory that it is quite hard to negotiate. From our family and home ed group set up I would say this; children need to get into what Charlotte Mason would call the habit of learning. They need to be given the time, space and resources to do this and parental encouragement.
The Moores, writing in the early 70s were sure (and I have to agree) that children should not be pushed into institutional education at too early an age. For them that meant no institutional education until the child was at least 8 years old, or even as old as 12. Interestingly this concurs with Charlotte Mason’s view that children shouldn’t be sent to school before the age of 7 and she backs this up with history and her knowledge of European education of the time.
I am not sure, but I would presume the Moores and I certainly know Miss Mason, would not say children didn’t need to be able to read until their teens. (I have had a difficult conversation with a mother who basically hasn’t got to grips with her children’s behaviour at all, let alone their education and keeps rattling on about Moore’s book as though this lets her off the hook in her parenting. I think she’ll find; and worse still, her children will (and are) find(ing) this aint so. I don’t think she has actually read the book either)
When we are ill, or when a crisis hits, our children need to be trusted to be able to do some stuff for themselves at least. I think being able to read is the key to so many ways they can learn independantly. There is so much we can learn as a family I know, and that’s what made me write the post on home education in a crisis, but I don’t want the children to miss out on too much acedemic type learning; being able to read, and being able to listen,- there is so much excellent audio resources out there- seems a good start in keeping things ticking over, no matter what happens to me.