When we first started homeschooling 6 years ago, my oldest was in 2nd grade, the twins were in Kindergarten, I had a three year old and a baby. Since kids traditionally learn to read in Kindergarten, I started right away in my quest to make my children literate. The eye-opening thing about having twins (aside from the alarming amount of diapers you go through in the first year, juxtaposed by the alarming amount of sleep you don't get) is how drastically different two kids born at the same time can be. Even though I was doing the same thing to teach both of my 5 year olds, they learned in totally different ways, and at totally different rates. It was my first real introduction to the fact that when it comes to education (as well as so many other things) one size does NOT fit all. While one of my kids was totally motivated to read, the other did everything to avoid it! And to further complicate matters, my three year old was ready and anxious to start reading way "ahead of schedule"! I quickly realized that MY plans for their education didn't matter nearly as much as their own timetables and needs, and I had my first inkling that homeschooling was going to be a crazy ride.
Fast forward 8 years: That once-resistant reader of mine recently read a 437 page book in one day because she just couldn't put it down. The gap that once existed between their abilities is gone, and I now have a new Kindergartner who is keeping me REALLY humble. He recently told me "I'm never going to learn the alphabet--so stop trying". I'm not worried. I know he'll read when he's good and ready, and I'll be there to help him when he is. That may be sooner rather than later because I also have a new 4 year old who is anxious and ready to start reading, which for the record drives the five year old crazy--and may be the only reason he decides that he wants to read. After 14 years of being a parent, and eight years of homeschooling, I know this: Kids will eventually learn to go on the potty, they will learn to read when they are ready, they will always want snacks, I will always feel like I don't know what I'm doing, and it's all going to be ok.