The Struggling Homeschooler
If I Wait,
Will It Be Too Late?
What to Think When Reading Doesn’t Start Easily
“My son is 7½ and isn’t reading yet. It was
so easy for my other children! Should I
wait and let him grow into it, or is something else going on?”
—Concerned homeschooling parent
Unpacking the new curriculum for the year can be an exci- ting time for a homeschool- ing mom and her family.
Having previously taught three children
how to read, Mom often looks forward
to teaching this fourth child. She looks
forward to observing the excitement the
child feels when learning to sound out
words from letters for the first time or
watching him as he realizes that he can
“remember” a certain word the next time
he sees it on the page.
But what if your child is the same age
as your other children were when they
were eagerly reading but is either not
interested in learning to read or is having great difficulty learning to read? Do
you panic? Do you have this child tested?
Do you wait? Will the reading just “click”
at some point, if you wait long enough?
How can a mother know if this is a “
maturity issue” or if this difficulty is a sign of
a learning disability?
What if your child . . .
is either not interested
in learning to read or is
having great difficulty
learning to read?
As a special education teacher, homeschool educational consultant, and college
teacher, I’ll share how I approach the “
maturity issue.” These are the “red flags” I look
for in a 7½-year-old who is either avoiding
reading or struggling with reading:
1. Boy or Girl
Research shows that boys tend to mature
later than girls. Thus, if a 7½-year-old boy
were not interested in reading, I would
tend to just give him six more months to
let his nervous system “mature” before I
tried formal reading lessons again.
From a nutritionist’s perspective,
during this waiting time I would help
the child’s nervous system mature by
using natural means. Relying on the
research done by Dr. Melvyn Werbach
from the UCLA School of Medicine
and Dr. Jacqueline Stordy in her famous studies of the relationship between dyslexia, nervous system maturity (particularly in males), and essential
fatty acid deficiency, I would often give
this child some fish oil supplements,
which help move the maturing process
along nicely. 1, 2
As you observe your child, do you see
that he has a desire to read? If the desire to read is not there, then I would
give him or her six more months to allow his or her nervous system to mature.
However, if this child wants to read but
can’t remember the sight word names
or the sounds of the letters, then that is
a red flag that a learning block could be
present, and at that point I would initiate