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« Reading | Main | Our "Learning Instinct" »

May 10, 2007



hey, loved the essay but wanted to mention the typo in the title in case you hadn't noticed it.


LOL! I'm soooo bad with catching typos and spelling, especially my own! Thank you!!!!!

Theresa Vaz

What is Wevkinz, Club Penguin and Toon Town? Are they computer games?


They are interactive on-line game/communities. My kids started with Webkinz, then Club Penguin, then Toontown. Club Penguin allows you to click on words and phrases, which will then post to the screen if you are not comfortable typing out what you want to say. This was a nice feature when my kids were first learning to read. Webkinz just added a chat feature.

Waddle around and meet new friends at Club Penguin (my favorite):




I love reading about your creativity in seeking ways to lead your daughter to reading, and your leap of faith in letting go. It sounds a lot like the way my 8-year-old, James, has learned.


Mu oldest and my youngest didn't read until the end of 4th grade- at aruond 10 or 11 yrs old. Inever made them read much nor di I push them to learn sounds or spelling rules. When they read and asked for word, I just told them what it was. having them sound it out would have turned into a hard boring lesson- no longer a fun story. I agree- when they are ready- they will learn to read. I had them choose words they wanted to learn or make up their own games for spelling. (which really didn;t start until 3rd grade or later)

pushing it on them before they are ready will just cause them to dislike reasding


I so enjoyed your story (or your daughter's story), because it is my daughter to a tee!!
She is turning 11 in July and it has finally clicked for me - I can't believe it has taken me this long - UGH! Reading your words helped me gain some perspective.

She has often described for me how her brain works - like a filing system - she searches her files and gathers the one she wants, opens it and there the answer is. She too does not learn from part to whole the opposite is true for her. Spelling in the traditional sense is impossible for her. Her reading is average. But she has a deep understanding about the information she "files" in her brain. The information she seeks on her own is even more significant and in fact field trips as well as lectures, audio recordings, DVD's, radio, music,dance,stories shared by relatives, board games, exploring and the computer are her best learning tools. Our learning style has naturally flowed into unschooling - it is the best fit for us all.

One question - - - I find myself feeling like I need to defend how she learns to family and close friends (they find it hard to understand - some have commented she must just be a "lazy" learner), they often say I need to push her to be on level with peers. How do you deal with unwanted comments and advice - especially that "look" -the judgemental one? I do a good job of changing the subject or moving on with a quick answer - but some are so persistent.


Thank you all for your comments and insights. Susan, as for your question, I do not have an answer. I have been questioned by only one persistent relative about un/homeschooling in a general way. You can see my post: A Letter to Family and Friends: Socialization for my attempt at a potential response…


Ends up, I haven’t needed to hand her the letter, and if I did, I’m not sure it would settle things in her mind or be that helpful. (It was therapeutic for me to write it, and I needed a post.:-)) Eventually she sensed that I was not too happy about her continual questionings and has backed off. I did make a few snide remarks about the school system when she continued to challenge me, so I don’t know if I am the one to give sound perspective on this one.;-) It does tend to scare people off when I do things like that. Not sure that would work for anyone else or that such behavior would be considered helpful in the long run. It was for me, at the time.:-D And that may very well be because I have few tools for handling those persistent probing questions… and thus my need to write my “letter.”

I don’t think she even knew that my daughter could not read at the time. She just knew that we homeschool and do not follow a curriculum. My daughter is “behind” on several task oriented school based “learning criteria.” She cannot freehand a paragraph as far as I know, and I keep such facts as quiet as possible to those I do not trust with the information. I know she is learning the way and at the pace she needs to learn. I trust myself with that fact, and I trust myself to figure it out when I need to do more.

I want to hear more perspectives! This question would make a good topic for specific focus. We’ll work on how we can fully address “those who persistently offer unwanted advice and comments,” possibly through the Ask Us/You Asked pages and/or in a Real Stories/Real Lives page all it’s on. Thank you for bringing this up.



I created a post specifically with your questions in your comment here in mind. It is quite evident to me in your description of your daughter that she is likely a right-brained, creative learner (as is Robin's daughter). This post I created shows how I handle probing questions from others. The first is to equip myself with knowledge about learning and my children in particular. Then, I gladly share that information, which helps people understand that I have confidence in why I'm choosing the learning environment I do (that totally supports each of my children and how they learn).

You can read more here at my post:



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