I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because homeschooling moms can't notice everything.
My experience as a teacher has for the most part been with immigrants who have come to this country with very limited first language education. First, I was a 5th grade teacher in a school with mostly limited English speaking students. Their years in school were often hit or miss. As an adult education teacher, the average number of years in school for my students is about seven with some coming with absolutely no school education.
As I started on my journey with unschooling, I asked myself how the education of my children would differ from those of my students who have had very little formal schooling. Would they experience the same gaps in education in they weren't formally educated? Would they struggle to learn if it came later in life? It didn't take long for me to discover that wasn't going to happen. Although we had decided to not formerly educate our children with everyday lessons, reading and writing would be a part of their daily lives. They saw reading and writing to be as normal as any other part of their daily lives which was/is not the case for many of my students.
I have saved many papers over the years that my children have drawn or written for me. As young as two years old they were writing notes to me (scribbled of course, but pretending is often the first step). They saw at that early age that writing had a place in their lives. When my daughter started doing a lot of writing, she had no interest in using periods, commas, or any other type of punctuation. I didn't push it. Then one day she wanted to submit a story to American Girl magazine. I mentioned the night before that we might want to go through and add some punctuation to make it easier for them to read. I woke up the next morning to an almost perfectly written paper complete with punctuation. She knew how to use punctuation, she just wasn't ready to put the time in with them.
As my daughter completed her first year of public school this year, reading and writing were her strengths. Her English teacher told me she is a strong student. I kind of giggle to myself when I hear this because despite never formerly teaching her reading, writing, or grammar, this is where she succeeds the most. Instead of formal lessons, I exposed her to a lot of books. I often read aloud to her and her brother (who is also a great writer with a lot of very opinionated beliefs that I am encouraging him to get in writing). I listened to her excitedly tell me about books she read the night before. I read myself and shared the plot of stories I was reading. I shared articles I read online as if she and her brother were my peers. Most importantly though, I allowed both kids to set their own time schedule for when they were ready to add more to their knowledge base.
How do we know our kids will learn? We read to them, listen to them, and share with them.
Other posts on writing you might enjoy:
Enthusiasm for Writing
Spark the Writing
Rules ofWriting Not Taught, but Still Learned
Unschooling and Planning