Ahh. Relaxed homeschooling. I love it, Chase loves it and I wish that I would have had the confidence in him and in myself to start this approach sooner.
My son is only four-years old but I had already starting pushing him to achieve certain goals that I felt were important. I must admit that some of those goals were based on what some of his friends were achieving. Learning to read and write early were particular goals of mine. I thought that since Chase is bright and inquisitive he can certainly write and read well by age four. Family members seconded this telling me "Everyone in our family could read by four". Although I would not admit it at the time, what others thought of me and my child and his learning ability and my teaching ability was important to me. These things were far too important to me.
So we started learning phonics soon after Chase turned four. He eagerly learned to recognize and order the alphabet and enjoyed remembering the letter sounds.
So what was next? Putting the sounds together to make words, of course. For whatever reason, that next step did not go as well for Chase. He would listen to the tapes or watch me sounding out words but within seconds after observing, he seemed to forget how to put the sounds together.
Finally, one day after me trying repeatedly to explain what sounding out was and my poor son in tears while trying to please me, I knew that I needed a paradigm shift in my apporach to homeschooling.
What had started out as my plan to homeschool for Christ's sake and for the sake of individualized instruction for my child seemed to have gone so wrong. If I was going to force my child to adhere to some schedule of learning that did not suit him why was I homeschooling at all?
I needed to relax, he needed to relax and relax we did.
And the true learning, for Chase and his mom, began in earnest.