EU023 Flashback: Learning to Read in Their Own Time with Anne Ohman


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Anne Ohman is a long-time unschooling mom of two grown children. Back in 2016, Anne and I had a lovely conversation about reading that I have referenced countless times over the years. When we spoke, she was working as a library director, giving her powerful insights and amazing stories to share about children learning to read.

Anne shares her perspective on why children at school are expected to learn to read early, why unschooling children who aren’t yet reading aren’t lacking anything, how they play with the puzzle of reading every day, and so much more. It was so valuable to dive deep into one of the most asked-about topics in the unschooling world!

Questions for Anne

Can you share with us a bit about your background and your family and how you came to unschooling?

School, and by extension society, is laser-focused on children learning to read as early as possible. As a library director and unschooling parent, I’d love to hear your perspective on how you’ve seen these reading expectations play out.

I’ve really enjoyed the stories you’ve shared on Facebook about schooled children at the library and how their outlook on reading has changed since you started there. Can you share some of those stories?

Our society is so caught up in reading by a certain age that if a child isn’t reading by then, most adults in their lives seem to focus on that missing piece. Why do you think that is?

Let’s talk about how our kids have learned without reading!

Something that has struck me over the years is how unschooling children are more apt to call themselves readers once they are comfortably reading adult-level books. Have you seen this too?

Have you had anyone judge your kids for not being able to read?

How do you feel now about Sam’s journey to reading as you look back on it today?

Links to things mentioned in the show

Childhood Redefined Unschooling Summit

Two of Anne’s TUC Talks, 2006: This is Where Unschooling Lives and 2009: What’s So Radical About Radical Unschooling? (scroll down)

Pam’s article about Lissy’s road to reading: “I Can Read, You Know!”

Pam’s blog post about learning to read: Learning to Read Without Lessons

Episode Transcript

Read the transcript here

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The Living Joyfully Network community

The Network is a wonderful online community for parents to connect and engage in candid conversations about living and learning through the lens of unschooling. Our shared goals are to embrace lifelong learning, develop strong and connected relationships with our children, and cultivate a thriving unschooling lifestyle in our families.

This month, our theme is Remember Your Why and we’re looking through the lenses of connection and joy.

If you’re curious to learn more, click here!

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