When my middle child, K, was three years old, she attended a Montessori preschool while I taught kindergarten all day in a local public school. Because she did not nap, K spent a lot of time with the older students. She chose to learn to read by watching, practicing, and playing with the older students and the teachers. Then, when she was four years old, I chose to enroll her in the Florida Voluntary Prekindergarten program because it was free for half of the day. Within a week my child stopped reading for fun. When I suggested we read together, she was extremely resistant. This behavior continued through her kindergarten year as well.
Fast forward a couple years. We moved and planned to enroll the children in a private Montessori or Waldorf school, but none were close enough to our new home. At that point we decided to homeschool through a charter school. That lasted less than a year due to the lack of individualism in the content.
My spouse and I arrived at the decision to homeschool with the children. Our family does a hybrid of home and unschool. We expect the kids to read, write, explore, etc. However, we are not full of daily structured activities and the children have a large amount of free choice in their days.
It has been about five years since K went from Montessori school and reading fluently to refusing to read. Last week she began reading without hiding it, without being resistant, and without being defensive. She has been reading her older sister's 350-600 page chapter books. She used to find the shortest book possible and read that, not the longest or most interesting book. I have lost count of how many books K read in the past 5 days alone! This is marevelous! I did not force the issue, her Montessori school did not force the issue, but the public school did. Do you see the pattern here?
Not all children will follow this pattern, but I find it sad that it took this long for her to enjoy reading again. I regret putting her in the voluntary prekindergarten program and public school in general. She learns best through free choice and exploration, more so than my oldest child to be honest, and deserves to have her learning needs met or exceeded.
Even if we put our oldest back into public school one day, we would not put K there. She clearly needs a different learning model than what traditional schools offer. Because Montesorri schools now align with Common Core Standards, I see no reason to bother with that model, either. Then again, most children need more free choices and less canned lessons anyway.
I am proud of my child for turning her attitude around. I am proud of her for honoring what her brain needs. I am proud of her for meeting her innate educational needs without my prodding or insistence.We are natural born learners, unless something happens to dissuade us from the need for life long learning.