My dad recently told me his definition of unschooling. “You know how in homeschooling, you buy the book, give the test and grade it? In unschooling, you don’t. You just answer all the questions the kid asks… or tell him where to find the answers.”
I was criticized in my unschooling Facebook group for teaching Onen to read as a two year old. Now here I am as a committed unschooling mom, teaching Tia to read. Obviously, at 20 months, I can’t sit down with her and a copy of “Learn to Read in 100 Easy Steps.” I wouldn’t want to. I can’t give her a pencil and make her trace letters. She doesn’t have the muscles for that.
Honestly, I don’t know that I am actually teaching her to read. I am teaching her English, mostly spoken, but also written. She is noticing letters. Everything she sees with print on it gets touched as she recites, “O, I, O, I, A.” She sees me reading. She sees Onen reading. There are words on tv, in books, on the computer. She sees them all. She brings me picture books, asks me to read to her. She sees letters and wants to know what they are. I tell her their names. I tell her their sounds. I got her the “Your Baby Can Read” videos. I don’t know that they teach reading, but they do link the printed word with the noun or verb it represents. I like their format.
I am not doing much different than what I did with Onen. As Dad said, I answer their questions. If they seem interested in something, I explain it, point it out, offer them more. If they end up reading before they are potty-trained, well, that is okay by me.