One of our promises this year was to be more real with people. We have nothing to hide. We're imperfect humans who make mistakes. So, be prepared to learn what a terrible mother I am in this post.
Guys, I feel cheated.
We've tried everything to have the "ideal environment" for Timothy from birth. We gave him good nutrition. We read all the parenting books. We made homemade flashcards until we nearly passed out from the smell of permanent marker. We read books. We bought phonics shows.
Timothy has learned a great deal. Timothy knows many words. However, Timothy hasn't learned to read.
Not only has Timothy not learned to read, but when we've been through the (several) phonics programs he doesn't seem to retain much. He'll "get" that ph says /f/ until 2 pages later. Then he'll act like he's never learned that before in his life!
We've been so frustrated and we feel like such failures. I wrote my dissertation on family literacy campaigns and I know that many illiterate people wind up in jail. Once, when Timothy just wasn't getting it and was being hysterical and was just putting up a mental block I said, "Most people who don't learn to read end up in jail. Do you want to end up in jail, Timothy?" Yes, I said that to my son who's having problems learning. Like that would help him "get it." Like he could just concentrate more and he'd be fine.
As I was going to sleep on Monday night, I realized that even if Timothy did learn to read tomorrow it would be a terrible, stressful thing for him. He wouldn't enjoy it. We've made reading stressful and sucked all the joy out of it. That's not what we want. We made a mistake because that's not what we want at all!
Then I realized we've got to stop what we're doing. We're making it too important. We're putting too much pressure on a 6 year old who already has anxiety problems. Why are we doing this? What does it matter if he starts to read a little later than "average"? Who are we trying to impress?
The last 3 days, we've completely redone our homeschool day. We're taking a break from My Father's World. We read the kids lots of books--good books--and Timothy's under no pressure to read anything to us. They play with their phonics pens. We do a science experiment everyday. We focus on everything else there is to learn--no reason to stop just because he can't read!
On Monday we bought the show Meet the Sight Words. See, Timothy has virtually no sight word recognition. We pop popcorn and Timothy and Samuel have watched it daily since then. Today, I realized that Samuel had learned several of the words. Timothy still hasn't.
I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that it doesn't hold stressed out parents standing over a crying child who's desperately trying to read. Nope. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It's just not worth it.