Reading/Speech Homeschool Problems

by Priscilla

Concerned mom needs advice for some reading/speech homeschool problems...

Well let me start by saying hi and thanks for any advice you have for me. I am a mother of three and my oldest just turned 8. I have been trying to homeschool him, since I'm not a fan of public schools, but the problem is he gets so upset after an hour of study. I've noticed his speech and reading aren't as good as others kids his age. He doesn't seem to be able to concentrate on his studies. I am very patient with him, but it seems the harder I try, it's just not working. So, my question is should I try to put him in public school even if he doesn't know what other 8 year olds know and knowing he would have a hard time, or have a tutor?

Hi Priscilla!
Thanks for posting your homeschooling questions about your son; I know you are not alone in your concern and struggle.

Your son is still very young; the solution may be just finding a different curriculum that better meets his style of learning. Boys tend to be hands-on learners at that age, and like to move around, yet most traditional curriculum forces our young, energetic and inquisitive boys to sit still and complete an abundance of worksheets that require focused concentration. What curriculum are you currently using?

My young children have all learned how to read, etc. at different ages - no two children develop at the same rate. However, if you feel like he is very behind where he should be, then I would have him tested. Perhaps he does have a learning problem; maybe he's just not ready - both can be addressed successfully via homeschooling. Some parents do choose to hire a tutor; a speech/reading specialist would definitely be able to help you figure out what to do.

Putting your son back in to public school knowing that he is behind and would have a hard time, may create even more problems later on.

All of my children enjoyed Five in a Row-type curriculum. Five in a Row (FIAR) is basically a fun, easy to do, hands-on unit studies curriculum. We all (myself included) have enjoyed lapbooking as we go through our units. You can find many free lapbooks at

Also, this past year I read "Charlotte Mason Education" by Catherine Levison. It was very helpful to me as I am homeschooling a little, energetic boy (6). She gives an
excellent overview of the Charlotte Mason philosophy - young children should focus on a subject for no more than 15-20 minutes at a time, then move on to the next subject. If they don't complete their work during that time, they can come back to it later. I have noticed my kids are happier, less frustrated, and they get breaks in between lessons. My daughter enjoys reading during her break, my little guy usually goes outside and does something active. I think (actually, I know) some kids his age are reading better than him, but am not worried because he enjoys reading and is improving.

A public school teacher-friend, who created the language arts program for a local school district told me what she saw about public schooled vs homeschooled children. I also want to include that her sister homeschooled her children, so she was familiar with homeschooling, etc. My friend said that homeschooled children tend to be behind their public schooled peers in the very early elementary years, then most homeschoolers excel beyond public schoolers at a very significant rate once they hit grade 3 and on, or so.

She told me this because I couldn't believe the pressure that is put on public school teachers and students from the state. Like your son, my daughter also seemed behind, yet, tests show that homeschooled kids tend to rank higher than public school kids.

Another friend who was with us during our conversation was a Kindergarten teacher. She told me that her kindergarten students had to know 40 sight words at the end of the Kindergarten year. At the time, my third daughter was also in Kindergarten and wasn't interested in reading, at all; she didn't learn how to read until first grade. Anyway, if she had had to know 40 sight words to pass Kindergarten, then she would've failed. Once she learned to read, however, she picked it up quickly and was reading through the entire Chronicle of Narnia series at eight years old.

I hope this helps you in your decision process and home education journey. Don't give up homeschooling just yet, I think you will see your son will thrive with your patience, some additional support, and the best curriculum or program for his learning needs.


Former home educator wonders if her special needs homeschooling problem would have been caught earlier in public school?

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