Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How I teach reading

  I've had several people ask me how I taught my children to read or say to me, "I'd love to home school, but I could never teach my child how to read!". 
  Well, let me start of by saying, I've been very fortunate to have easy students.  We don't seem to have any learning disabilities, however, even if we did, I would not allow my child to use that as a crutch. 
  So, here it is, my reading plan, in all of its glory....

1.)   I have the child watch Leap Frog's Letter Factory and Word Factory.  It normally takes about 2 weeks, for them to get all their letters and sounds down and basic words like "cat", and "pig".  I put in Letter Factory 1 time a day everyday for a week and the same for Word Factory.  Yes, you understood me right, I do not teach letters and sounds myself with worksheets or cute little jingles.  I use good 'ole Leap Frog!  I made the mistake of using Saxon Phonics with my oldest, Derek, while keeping Lindsay busy watching something on TV (which happened to be Leap Frog).  And how does Derek remember his sounds?  From over hearing Leap Frog, not from all the flashcards and coding of Saxon.  (That was a lot of time wasted!!)


2.)  I start introducing 100 Easy Lessons.  There are several other reading curriculums out there very similar to this, but this is just the one, I came across first.  I go very slow with this, sometimes repeating one lesson for 2 or 3 days in a row.  When the child starts to get a bit frustrated with the words getting harder, I move onto step 3.  I come back and finish this book after step 3.  (Hence, I do NOT finish this book in 100 days!)

3.)  Bring out the Dick and Jane books!!  This is one of my favorite parts of teaching reading.  I absolutely love Dick and Jane books!!!  This does not teach phonically at all, however, it strengthens the child's confidence level tremendously!  This is a sight word technic.  They learn the words, "oh", "look", and "see"  first.  Then they move onto harder words such as "Mother", "something", and "come".  All the while repeating all the words they have already learned.  By the time we have made it through all the Dick and Jane books, we are ready to move back to step 2 and complete 100 Easy Lessons and the child has built up enough confidence to not become so frustrated with sounding words out.  They also have built up enough sight words from Dick and Jane that they can just read certain words without sounding out!!

4.)  Move onto Emerging Readers!!  This is a huge step.  Both of my older 2 were so excited when they got to start reading their Beginner's Bible!  A lot of help, due to difficult names, was given throughout this book.  By the time they had completed the Bible they were reading books such as "Frog and Toad", "Biscuit", "Owl at Home", and other Early Reader Books all on their own!!

5.)  Slowly moving on as their confidence continues to build, I move them onto chapter books such as "The Littles", "The Boxcar Children", and Classic Starts Books.

*A very important note, is to always be reading a book out loud, way above their level.  This is so important, because children also learn how to read by listening.  Have a set story time, when you can just snuggle up on the couch together and enjoy good, wholesome literature.  Some of our favorites have been "Charlotte's Web", "Little House on the Prairie", and "The Moody's". 

  So, that's it.... My very own "uncomplicated" reading curriculum :)

  How do you teach reading?  Do you have a favorite reading curriculum?  Do your children enjoy reading?  What are some of your children's favorite books?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Another year has come and gone.....

  Another year has come and gone.  I arose early today, because this starts a new semester here in our household.  The house is a mess and in complete chaos from Christmas, so I thought I'd try to get some stuff picked up before we start on our next leg of my children's educational journey.  I got up, walked into the kitchen started my self a mug of hot cocoa and sat down to write this post.  (There's so much cleaning going on right now, I can hardly stand it;)
  Anyway, I thought it was important I sit down and reflect for a little while.  Once, again, it's bee so long since I've written and I keep saying I'm going to try and get better, but life keeps happening. And I've decided, that's ok too.  Everything is just rushing by so quickly.  All I want to do is sit and enjoy it for a moment.  And if we get started a little late, then so be it.  :) 
  Looking back, I realize just how fast my babies are growing!  All 3 of my children are reading, no one is in diapers, everyone can make their own oatmeal, buckle themselves in the car, clean up their own messes ( :O !!! )  But somehow, I'm finding they need me even more now than before.  Not me, physically doing anything, but my listening.  They are constantly wanting "one on one" time.  They constantly want to pour their hearts out to me.  I'm trying desperately to be a good listener and not a director.  I'm a fixer and this thing called life is so hard to fix sometimes.  I hate seeing my babies hurting, and all I want to do is fix it, but I can't.  My children are noticing lost people all around us, and it breaks their little hearts.  The things they are concerned with and pray for amaze me and crush me all at the same time.  So sometimes, all I can do is listen and guide them to Jesus, who truly can fix things.  I'm learning very quickly that life is not going to be any easier for my children, than it was for me, if not even harder.   And don't think for a second, just because they are home-schooled, they are sheltered from all the peer pressure, crime, and the hurt of the world.  Yes, it helps tremendously, and it is a big reason of why we do what we do, but even Satan battles against home-schooled children and their peers. 
  The preacher at church, yesterday, discussed family again (we are a family-integrated church, we discuss this a lot ;) and just how important it is to BE together.  Satan works so hard at breaking families apart, so he can in turn break us down individually.  If we work diligently at sticking together, even in life's roughest valleys, it will make us stronger on the other side. 
  So for this new year, I pray that God directs our family's paths, and that we will continue to grow together.  I am praying for your family, I am praying that God is building up some strong soldiers in His army to fight this on going war.  I praying peace inside our homes, that home may be a place that we can come and rest from the outside raging war.  And, last of all, that we can be a light to this outside, lost, and dying world. 

  Happy New Year and May God Truly Bless You,