We homeschool, and I see lots of what you said in my kids.
I asked her to elaborate. She replied:
Here is where I learned the most starting on day one of kindergarten with my first child five years ago; it is my job to identify strengths, weaknesses, and to help the learner achieve the goal using what they can. For example, I was embarrassed and appalled that my first child didn’t read or show any interest in reading to herself until about second grade (7 years old). However, I continued to provide the necessary environment–reading wonderful books aloud, having her read a sentence from our selections, occasionally forcing her to read from her own readers. She had a great verbal understanding and would listen to anything I read aloud to her. Eventually, slowly, she transitioned and has NO issues with reading now. Her strength is verbal understanding and listening comprehension. Her weakness is focus on her own activities and sitting still.
My second child came along and was strong in different ways that I had to discover and appreciate. Her verbal skills, although perfectly normal, are not her strength, but music rises out of her at every moment. Clearly we have to do more than music. Using this strength, I make sure to provide plenty of musical CDs in Spanish for Spanish (which she struggles with–we have had tutors come for years with the intent the girls become fluent). We memorize and recite poetry routinely as part of our lessons, and she “sets” hers to song/music. When we do math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication flash cards), she does best if she hears them in a sing-song voice. Her strengths are effort, music, rhythm, and art. Her weaknesses are verbal reasoning and remembering verbal types of things (not so prominent in math and geography skills so her spatial and math skills overcome this problem remembering things).
I would say, particularly in elementary school, that although the reading, writing, and arithmetic skills needed should not be optional–the timing of learning them and the method of learning them ought to be fluid to a degree. Everybody should learn to read but we’re losing kids because they’re not developmentally ready until second or third grade for some of these verbal/reading things. By then the bulk of the spelling and phonics rules have been expected to have been learned and the child is probably destined to be a poor speller, decoder, and poor at reading aloud. (This would be my husband. Obviously he was able to overcome this, but his spelling and read aloud are not pleasant. He says he remembers the year when words and reading just started coming together for him. Unfortunately, that was fifth grade. Did he need to learn to read and spell then in fifth grade!? I’d argue NO! But, in this case, recognition of a child/type of child is important. He is very, very logical, and the way that spelling/phonics is taught now/then is NOT so logical. A rule is given here. It is broken here. It is ignored here. No explanation is given. A kid learns long A as a_e here or -ay there, but not all the other combinations that make the long A sound– and certainly not all together in a lesson sequence!!!: ea, ae, ei, eigh, ai, etc. The logical child gives up. There are programs out there like Orton Gillingham, for example, designed to teach the “rules” of English in such a logical manner. Or I design my own curriculum. But this is not an option for most school teachers. Autonomy is being denied.) And now, multiplication is being moved forward in school grades, too. And analytical, thinking math is being moved forward. I think we’ll lose students! Good students! “I’m no good at math.” Geesh. Because you can’t do story problems in second grade? Because you’re still mastering the facts and you’re being pushed into application too early?