Monday, November 28, 2011

Yet another post about Reading

Nico was taught to read using phonics, so in his mind the only real reading is when words are sounded out. I find it extremely joyful, to watch Lucas take a different approach. Lucas does know some phonics, but that has never been a huge focus, and since no one is actually teaching him to read, he is using more of a natural whole word approach. This led to an argument in the car the other day between me and Nico about what constitutes reading.

See, as we were driving down the road, a Publix bakery truck was riding along beside us. Lucas looked over and said "Look a Publix truck." When I told him good job for reading the side of the truck, Nico insisted that Lucas hadn't read anything, he just recognized the word. But isn't that what reading is; seeing a word and recognizing it? (Granted the color and font of the word probably helped a lot in the recognition, but still, he did recognize it.)

Nico and I argued back and forth about it. Nico insisting that Lucas can't read because he doesn't read the books Nico puts in front of him, and me insisting that he most certainly can read, just not anything and everything just yet. Lucas stayed pretty quiet during this whole discussion. I only continued the conversation for so long because I hate the way Nico is always trying to undermine his confidence, which is probably why Lucas doesn't read out loud more often. Constantly being told you can't do something, leads you to not even wanting to try.

For a kid who can't read, I've seen Lucas recognize an awful lot of words, most often when he thinks no one is paying attention to him.

Friday, November 4, 2011

How do you know if/what they're learning?

How do you know what your children are learning? If they never take tests, or get evaluated, how do you know they've learned anything at all? These are common questions people ask when they find out about unschooling. And the answer is so simple, and easy, I can't believe it eludes them.

I know my children are learning, because I pay attention to them. As unschoolers, I spend a lot of time with my children. I may not always be actively engaged with them, as we don't enjoy all the same activities, but I am always aware of where they are and what they are doing. I pick up on the little cues that tell me they are learning, or have mastered a new skill.

Example 1: Nico has been working on figuring out time for quite a while. He was constantly asking what time is it? how long until? and other such questions to help give himself a better understanding of how time moves. I know he is mastering this skill, because he has stopped asking so many questions, and has started making statements about time. In two hours, it will be... Only five minutes until...

Example 2: This morning Lucas read the number 1100, off the playstation screen. He said "Mommy I scored eleven hundred points!" I didn't know he could read numbers that high, so I walked over to check, and sure enough he had scored 1100 points. Now I know.