Saturday, 10 October 2015

Unschooling, Learning to Read and Bilingualism

I am currently unschooling, which means I do not actively teach Butterfly but let her choose what she wants to learn. This doesn't mean I don't do things to enhance her learning, but I do it based on what I see interests her. For example she asked about the sun setting and just explaining wasn't enough so I bought her a globe so I could shine a torch in a dark room and show her while turning the globe round how the sun sets. Meanwhile she got interested in the counties on the globe, so one thing leads to another [unfortunately the globe broke quite quickly].

I mainly want her reading/writing and early maths skills to be "unschooled" [in the future I do intend to do more teaching, though with a tendency towards unschooling] as such I didn't want to teach her the alphabet song or letters etc  before I saw she was ready for it. The time has come when I felt she was ready and so I got her some magnetic letters. Hmmm... Butterfly took no interest in them. I thought that's how most children somehow learn to read, while playing with letters. I also thought that reading books to her will lead to her "reading" them back to me while slowly getting it and really reading. Nope, that never happened.

What she does do, and I believe will be how she will eventually learn how to read and write, is to find printed words [they are everywhere! on her bag, on a box for a toy, on a kid's tent, etc..], copy those words and then come up to me and ask what she has written, I love that she does that because that is her unique way.

She doesn't do this everyday, rather from time to time. On the one hand I would like her to do it more often, I am eager to have her reading or beginning to read already, and she seems so far from it. On the other hand I do want to give her the time she needs. Research shows that when kids are left to learn at their own pace (i.e they don't have to keep up with the pace dictated by the school or by homeschool parents who teach "by the book") they learn to read anywhere between the ages of 4-9 or even later, so we do have time, no need to rush..

In the beginning, the words she copied were in English, but now she finds words both in Hebrew and in English. I am not sure if she distinguishes between English and Hebrew words [though totally different!]. It seems that she doesn't but maybe she knows more that she expresses. Anyway I am wondering about this [I thought she would first learn to read and write in English and then in Hebrew. Seems that nothing goes how I thought it would :-) ]. I know that you don't teach reading simultaneously in two different languages, especially languages so different, more so when one is from left to right and the other from right to left. It is just too confusing. But that is true when actively teaching reading. What happens with a bilingual unschooled child is not something I know much about. I do believe it will slow the learning thoughI do believe she will eventually learn to read and write but how and when.. no idea!

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