Why Homeschool Series: Reason #3

My third reason why our family likes to homeschool is to promote a lifelong love of learning in our children. This one Library with booksrequires a long description which I shall break up into two posts.

My husband and I began reciting the alphabet and numbers to our babies beginning when they were about three or four months old. This is easy to do since we could use the time during feeding, diaper changing, bathing, and dressing to do this. I figured, it doesn’t take any extra time, you may as well use those times constructively. Babies understand language far earlier than they can speak it, so it stands to reason that if they hear the alphabet and numbers a few times a day from when they’re newborns, they are going to know them before they can talk.

Try as I might, I have not been able to get other moms on board with this idea, I think because…it’s just too easy! (Like the Israelites in the Old Testament who were promised healing if they’d simply look at the brass serpent. Many didn’t because they expected healing to be harder than that, so they died.) Granted, it’s boring to say the alphabet this way for a year or more, and even feels silly doing this with a newborn when you can’t see immediate results, so it might be difficult to stick with. Secondly, it’s hard to introduce new ideas to a society so set in its ways. We are told that children typically learn to read at around six, and they’re not ready before then. And perhaps people think, what difference does it make?  They’re going to learn in just a few years anyway. Why the rush?  I’ll tell you why. It creates a love of learning in the child that sets them on a permanent life path for success. Babies come to us with a natural curiosity about the world. They take in loads of information in their first five years. That’s why babies crawl around getting into everything. They want to investigate everything. But then, a few short years later, they’re sitting in a classroom asking, ‘Do we have to know this for the test?  Because I’m not wasting my brain space on it if I don’t have to.’  Their natural love of learning is killed that quickly.

I’ve noticed also, the short attention spans of a generation of children raised on limitless TV watching and computer gaming. They’re so accustomed to all the technological wizardry, eye-catching graphics, and catchy jingles, that when a Sunday School teacher holds up a simple drawing, it just doesn’t do much for them. Teachers must be entertainers now.

Our way of teaching early reading is not at all pushing them. In our society, if you can’t read, it’s like you’re locked in a box. There’s very little you can do or enjoy. Teaching the child to read is like giving them a key to unlock the box and be set free. Our way of teaching reading was not work at all for the children. It was incorporated into our daily activities, our ordinary, everyday life. It was fun for them. They cannot ever remember not knowing how to read, and it has positively affected their thirst for learning ever since then. And it is so empowering. How they loved being able to read signs while driving in the car, labels on toys and items at the store, the titles of TV shows, and even reading the TV schedule to choose their shows, and reading their own talks they gave in church with no help.

This is even a foreign idea to many homeschoolers, who say, let them learn reading when they’re ready, even if it’s not till 10 years old, but a child doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, has no idea what he’s missing. I do know, though. I say give him the key and watch him fly!

In my next post, I’ll give specifics of how we did it.

~to be continued~


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