Aharon (age 4) asked me yesterday to please tell him what sounds the letters make. It seems he's been encountering frustration trying to write or read and he realized the letters make sounds that he isn't familiar with. He pointed to letters and I told him the sounds. I heard him discussing it with the neighbor a couple of days later. He's thinking about it a lot and he comes over to me and confirms a particular letter's sound or asks about a specific letter.
It's funny how they learn in dribs and drabs and spurts. Like when Jack was 5 he learned a degree of reading that he was comfortable with and now he's been using that skill to do his activities and I see him sounding words out all the time but he won't sit down with me and read a book or move forward in the reading lessons. I think Jack stopped actively working on reading about 5 months ago. It annoys him to do official reading work or lessons but he is very happy reading things that come up all day long.
I feel like he is capable of making progress in reading and I probably could coax him. Out of all my children, I figured Jack would be the most amenable to classical education and not "need" unschooling. But I'm finding that it is more efficient and pleasant for him to do it on his own timetable and driven by internal motivation.
In regular schooling, they do little bits every day and make slow progress. Back when I was classically homeschooling, I noticed that even then, there were weeks or months where they picked up skills intensely and weeks/months where it was like dragging them through molasses. But we always drudged through incremental progress.
With unschooling, it's more like playing playing playing and then spurts and bursts of skills. Then more playing (and playing with the skill) and ignoring it for months or literally years, and then renewed interest and ridiculously fast assimilation of the information or skill.