Why I'm Not Teaching My Child to Read {yet}.


I've not set out to make my child a genius.

I've known this from the time I was pregnant, I wasn't going to push her to be an overachiever. To be impressively smart, for me to brag about her genius. What's the point? She needs to be allowed play, a childhood. She has plenty of time to study - years of her life in education - years that I'm not beginning just yet.

(And, if you wanted me to brag on her, there are so many other things I could tell you!)

It's like there is this unspoken rule in today's North American culture - "you must be a really good mom if your child can count and read and write, so push them! the younger the better and more impressive!" At least that's how I've felt.

Well, frankly, I don't care.

I could care, except I pretty much gave up pushing her from day one. My daughter's personality helps me realize, when she is ready, she will be ready. And not one day sooner. (Trust me.)

And it's not like I just ignore every part of learning - she knows her colors and can count to 8! Ha. She can get dressed, pick up toys, feed the dog and herself. She won't go to kindergarten until she's almost 6, so I figure if I start with letter recognition and writing around the time she turns 4. If she's interested. And even then, I think the best way of learning is incorporated into play - which is exactly why I love Montessori activities. They feel like play with an educational tweak.

I don't WANT her to read at age 3-1/2. I want her to be little. To say words wrong. To learn sometimes just by default - truly, it is amazing how much she takes in without me pushing?

A friend recently told me that there is a marked difference between kindergarteners who attend school half days and whole days, but by the end of first grade, they are basically at the same level. Interesting.

I'm not worried and I am choosing to continue not to be.


I guess the biggest reason behind this stems from desiring a life of simplicity. I intend to write about simple living from several perspectives in the coming months, but it just seems like so much pressure for a mom to have super "smart" children. Pushing, pushing, overscheduling, a thousand activities, know your letters, know your numbers, go - go - go. It doesn't feel free or peaceful or simple to me.

Time for play, space, experiencing nature and un-pressured learning in a home environment (how to interact with each other, cooking with each other, independent play, etc.) sounds much less pressured. And that's the path I choose.

"The most important skills that children everywhere must learn in order to live happy, productive, moral lives are skills that cannot be taught in school. Such skills cannot be taught at all. They are learned and practised by children in play. These include the abilities to think creatively, to get along with other people and cooperate effectively, and to control their own impulses and emotions." source


  1. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Lisa. I had never thought about this subject in quite this freeing way. The pressure is off!

  2. Thanks Amy! I appreciate knowing that.