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Would you say anything to to a home school mom in this situation? If you home school, what would you want your neighbor to do?

The other night we baby-sat for my neighbor’s 7-year-old daughter who is home schooled. When the mom dropped her off she told me her daughter was reading 2nd and 3rd grade books so she could read to my son. I pulled out a few of his books for her to read and she couldn’t do it. She asked if she could read ones she brought from home and she whipped right through them. She clearly had her books memorized. I’m a reading teacher so I was able to evalute her as she read to us. She couldn’t sound out words simple words. I’m not that concerned about her reading level because she isn’t that far behind and all kids don't learn to read through phonics. What concerns me is that her mother is way off base about her abilities. Should I politely mention that her daughter isn’t reading as well as she thinks she is? I’ve offered to help with her kids before and she seems very resistant.


Asked by maxswolfsuit at 8:22 AM on Apr. 6, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 14 (1,726 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (23)
  • It sounds as if your neighbor is an "unschooler" and "unschooling" does work. However I do feel there is a fine line between true "unschooling" and NOT teaching. That line can be blurred and hard to see on the outside looking in, because it's not traditional schooling. I know nothing more about your neighbor so I don't have enough information to say one way or another.  It's a shame that she wouldn't be open to at least listening to what you would have to say. Listening to it doesn't mean she would have to follow it. We all could use some constructive criticism and we all should be open to it to some degree. Hopefully, she is involved in some co-op and the local homeschooling community so that she would be able to get some input from her peers, other homeschoolers, on these issues.  Based on what you have said in future replies I think it would be best if you let it go.


    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 10:31 AM on Apr. 7, 2010

  • If you trust that you would get them back from the family, how about loaning her a couple of your same-level books? That way, if she truly isn't aware that her daughter has the ones that the family has at home memorized, she'll definitely realize it when they sit down together with the new books. :-)

    Answer by sarah_smile at 8:36 AM on Apr. 6, 2010

  • As a mother def. want to know. I think since you have expierence with reading and such that it isnt a insult coming from you, more of a observation from a perfessional. If you were some neighbor that didnt have any background in this, that is when I would be insulted. Talk to her... I think its the best thing to do. Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

    Answer by Rjmjpappy at 8:42 AM on Apr. 6, 2010

  • I'm a homeschooling Mom, but this is a difficult question for me. I actually am quite experienced with phonics and reading skills. In our local group I'm considered the "expert" in this subject, the other mom's strengths are in science and art.

    I tried to help one mother with her child's reading (the Mom was teaching it ALL wrong) and she got defensive and cranky. I guess your situation depends on your relationship with the mother. I personally would want the help and advice if I needed it, but not everyone is the same way.

    Answer by DawnA72 at 10:13 AM on Apr. 6, 2010

  • I am a homeschool mom and I would say mind your own business.


    Answer by Anonymous at 10:41 AM on Apr. 6, 2010

  • As a parent, I would like to know. Education is very important in our home.
    However, if a parent is only using two or three books to teach, it is a problem, and she probably doesn't know any better.

    If it were me, I would say something even if the parent was likely to get upset. However, I would mention this out of ear-shot of the child.

    Worst case scenario; she doesn't talk to you any longer
    Best case scenario; she takes what you are saying to heart and asks for advice.

    In all likelihood, she will probably do something in the middle. I feel it is your responsibility to at least make the parent aware of the situation.

    Answer by twin_mommy at 11:47 AM on Apr. 6, 2010

  • It's a tough spot to be in. I agree, maybe offering to lend her some books (if you're willing to do so) is a good starting place. If she declines, than I might consider telling her why you're offering. I think it's important with ANY parent in this situation to start with what is good and right. "As a reading teacher, I noticed she's right on target with [skills you noted here], however, she did have some trouble reading from books she wasn't already exposed to and asked to get the ones she already knew from home. I think she's making great progress, but might benefit from the challenge of new materials so she can expand the words she's been able to convert to sight words." Good luck. I have friends who homeschool. Some do an awesome job. One, though, is doing her daughter a gross disservice. My kindergartner is an early reader and reads as well or better than this particular friend's 9 year old. :(

    Answer by ldmrmom at 12:40 PM on Apr. 6, 2010

  • I'd want to know for sure.

    but don't make it sound like an accusation.

    offer some books, or a trade off. say hey...I'm interested in this homeschool thing, how are you teaching your dd. get her involved in showing you how she's doing things. and just start the conversation off that way instead of 'hey your dd can't read'

    then ask if you can show her some tips and hint.

    Answer by hypermamaz at 1:43 PM on Apr. 6, 2010

  • As a parent I would want to know. The same, similar, thing happen to my sister she was reading the books at home just fine, but at school she struggled with the aid of her public school teacher my parent figured out she had certain books memorized. As a homeschooling parent I can understand how she may become defensive and unresponsive to input from a non-homeschooler. You have already stated that your neighbor hasn't been open in the pass with to your help or suggestions, so I doubt she would be open now especially on such a highly debatable subject. You have already said the child really isn't "that behind", so I would just let it go or offer to let the child borrow some of your books. Perhaps with newer reading materials the mother would see that her daughter is struggling. see next answer for more

    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 3:54 PM on Apr. 6, 2010

  • Also if you can do it without sounding judgmental I would find out what she is using for a reading curriculum. Just like everything else not all homeschooling curriculum is created equal. She maybe using a program that is giving her the impression that her daughter's reading level is higher then what it is. In addition she may know her daughter is struggling, but is trying to boost her ego. My daughter has convergence insufficiency so she is about 1/2 grade behind in her reading. Seeing she's 8 and wants to be reading chapter books I have gotten her phonic based chapter books.  They are very short stories and I really wouldn't consider it to be chapter book, but it's written like chapter book and it has boost her ego to be reading "chapter books". The ego boost has helped her with reading. I proudly say she's reading chapter books, but I also explain to others that don't know that they are her special books.


    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 4:06 PM on Apr. 6, 2010