about the book
All of the learning necessary for
success in high school can be
accomplished in only two or three
years of formal skill study.

Delaying mandatory instruction in the
basic skills until the junior high
school years could mean academic
success for millions of school children
who are doomed to failure under the
traditional school system.

-- Professor William Rohwer, Jr.,
Dean of the Graduate School
Education, University of California,
Berkley (1971)
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The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Delayed Instruction for Homeschoolers

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

There are several homeschool philosophies which support the concept that not all children are "ready"
to read and write at age five.  Some of the more familiar approaches include, Unschooling, Waldorf or
Steiner, Charlotte Mason, and Raymond Moore.  These methods aim to avoid the stress and loss of
self-confidence that some children might experience in the elementary grades in the public school
system - where reading and writing are the main daily focus.

In these approaches, a distinction is made between "natural learning" -- which takes place all the time
thru childhood exploration and discovery -- and "formal instruction" which aims to teach each child a
certain set of skills at a particular time.  Proponents of Delayed Instruction believe there is no hurry --
that children can learn skills such as reading and writing in very little time when they are truly "ready".

Parents who are interested in the concept of Delayed Instruction, or who have children who do not
seem "ready" to read and write at Kindergarten age, may wish to read the research and reasoning
presented by the founders of the following
delayed-instruction-friendly homeschooling approaches:

Waldorf (or "Steiner") Philosophy - first formulated by Austrian Rudolf Steiner in 1907 in
his short book, "
The Education of the Child in the Light of Spiritual Science", a child's learning is
based on prescribed developmental stages, with formal education being delayed until age 7,  relies on
lecture-based experiential learning - a subject is introduced through experiences, then children are
guided to explore a subject, then the concept is discussed. Emphasis on arts and crafts, music and
movement, natural science, spirituality, and social skill.  Children journal their experiences, thoughts,
and conclusions, including daily drawing and painting.

Oak Meadow - PreK - 12 Waldorf inspired curriculum

Live Education! - K - 8 Waldorf curriculum modified for home use

Waldorf in the Home - a website and a two-day conference held annually each fall in Fair Oaks,
California and in Boulder, Colorado to help homeschoolers implement Waldorf philosophies at home

The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project - complete online texts of books now in the public
domain (1880 to 1922), a wealth of material, including titles commonly used in Waldorf homeschooling

The Moore Formula - (K-12) Christian-based, an educational philosophy described in several
books by homeschooling pioneers
Raymond and Dorothy Moore, including, "Better Late Than
Early", "School Can Wait" and "Homegrown Kids", promotes a blend of study (practical, low-stress,
interest-based), manual work including chores, participation in a family business, and entrepeneurship
(to build self-confidence and self-control), and daily community service (to promote character),
emphasis is on waiting till children are *ready* to learn/read/write -- no formal study until 8 to 10 or 12,
encourages unit and project work, recommends such curriculum as "Math It" and "Winston Grammar",
history is taught thru biographies (not historical fiction - the reading of fiction is not encouraged).  
Homeschoolers may use the method independently or enroll in "
The Moore Academy" -- an online
program which issues transcripts and diplomas.  
Moore Foundation and Academy

Charlotte Mason Method - a Christian-focused literature-based  approach to learning
developed in 19th Century England, and introduced as a homeschooling method in 1987 by
Schaeffer Macaulay
in her book, "For the Children's Sake".  The method recommends using
"classics" and other "real" books written by quality authors, in their entirety, rather than standard
textbooks or "dumbed-down" reading passages.  Instead of learning thru lectures, children are required
to narrate back what they have learned from reading or observation.  

Formal lessons are delayed until age 6 and written narration is not required until child is age 10 - 12.  
Children use "copy work" and dictation to practice handwriting.  History is taught chronologically, using
historic fiction, and a history time-line is constructed.  Nature walks are encouraged, and a nature
notebook and personal journal are kept.  Emphasis is on literature, art, music, poetry, bible-study, and
history.  No workbooks, study guides, tests or competition.  Recommends short, focused lessons that
aim to instill a love of learning.

Ambleside Online  - a free Charlotte Mason online curriculum

The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project - complete online texts of books now in the public
domain (1880 to 1922), a wealth of material, including titles commonly used in Charlotte Mason  

Unschooling - This is the ultimate in "self-directed" learning - where all learning is child-initiated
and child-directed.  In the strictest definition of unschooling parents do not require any "school work" at
all from the child.  All learning stems from a child's expressed interests, and occurs only if the child so
desires.  This often results in what would be considered "delayed learning" because if a child does not
have an interest in academic subjects, he may learn them later than other children.  

The philosophy maintains that most basic skills will be required by and learned thru life experiences,
and that children learn better when they truly want to learn.  Ideally this means that parents should act
only as a facilitator -- providing opportunities for learning, but never trying to coerce a child into
learning something they have not chosen to learn.  Families adhere more or less to these ideals,
according to their personal beliefs and values.  As a result, there are "shades" of unschooling.

Many unschooling parents follow the philosophies and recommendations  found in essays written by
several homeschooling "pioneers".  These include:
John Holt, author of "Teach Your Own" (1981);
Mary Griffith, author of "The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World as Your
Child's Classroom"
(1998); Grace Llewellyn, author of "The Teenage Liberation Handbook:  
How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education"
; and Sandra Dodd, author of "Moving a
(a collection of essays and articles).  These books are available from libraries, major book
sellers, and many online merchants.

Unschooling is a popular choice for homeschooling children in pre-school and K - 3rd grade.  Some
families ultimately decide that more structure and deliberate learning is desirable beginning in the
upper elementary grades and increasing thru high school.   Others continue to unschool thru high
school, only providing formal, structured learning when the child requests it  (if, for example, the child's
interests lead him or her to pursue college or technical school).  

Unschooling is also a good temporary option for "reluctant learners" and for children who are
recovering from a difficult school experience.  The chance to learn and explore on their own, following
pursuits that truly interest them,  may re-ignite a joy of learning.

Unschooling.com -- for more information on unschooling and how it works
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