Reader’s Question ~ Hold back on Phonics?

I really enjoy receiving your emails and comments!
Your thanks have blessed me.
I am so grateful to be able to blog posts of encouragement and inspiration here.
Some homeschool moms write to me looking for some advice or to confirm their choices.
Knowing that others face similar fears, challenges and questions, I want to humbly submit my reply.
Recently a reader emailed me with this question ~
“I have held back with teaching phonics and handwriting because my son who turns 6 in May has not enjoyed any workbooks and shuts down when I start talking about sounds.  I love your idea of laminated handwriting charts and I think this will be a better fit for him than workbooks. What do you think?” 
 And I replied ~
I think that your heart confirms what you are doing!
  • Follow your heart and trust your instincts.  
  • When your child is not ready, it is very good to hold back from formal workbooks and lessons.
  • Young children often need more physical, gross-motor development before doing fine-motor skills required in handwriting.  Pop over to my post “Fine Handwriting Needs Fine Muscles” for games and activity ideas.
  • Don’t force any subject or skill, but simply wait for your child to show signs of readiness. Kids that pretend to write generally are ready to learn to write.
  • Even a slow child  catches up and excels when they are ready, eager and enthusiastic.
  • Continue with the stuff they enjoy.
  • Don’t sigh with disappointed or make any sign of your frustration.  Simply pack the workbook away and find something else that is interesting and fun!
  • Every 3 months or so, try again.  Some kids never take to some approaches and you may have to be creative and do some Internet browsing for ideas.
  • Please don’t spend money on fancy workbooks or full curriculum packages, especially those that promote those with all those “bells and whistles“.  They are often expensive and will not necessarily make your child enjoy his lessons any more.
  • Read Ruth Beechick’s little books on Reading, Language and Maths!  Her advice is sound and excellent and her lessons are simple and highly practical.
  • Teaching handwriting with my laminated handwriting charts is really effective!
  • It is my genuine experience after 15 years+ of homeschooling, that short, sweet lessons work!
 Hope that this advice helps you!  What would you suggest to this reader?  Please share in the comments below

6 thoughts on “Reader’s Question ~ Hold back on Phonics?

  1. Pingback: Reader’s Question ~ Why such a fuss about cursive handwriting? | Practical Pages

  2. Pingback: Reader’s Question ~ Art Appreciation with Boys? | Practical Pages

  3. Our son didn’t read until he was almost 9 years old. We tried – we really did – but it was just so frustrating to both him and us. We talked to Chris Davis who ran “The Elijah Company” back then and we decided to back off and try every few months. It was especially hard because he had a twin sister who started reading at 5.

    Our son is now 30 and LOVES to read. We waited until he was ready and when he was ready – he took off and never looked back. He not only read (and comprehended what he read) but ENJOYED reading too.

    Give your kids time if they need to wait – I truly believe that when they’re ready to read, they will learn.

    Also – I LOVED Ruth Beechick’s books. They were a major part of our early years of educating our twins.


    • @pegspeaks, thank you for sharing your experiences! New homeschooling moms are under so much pressure and your encouragement will greatly ease others whose children are reluctant learners.


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