Thursday, March 11, 2010

Home-educating~ Part 2

We have now been home-educating our children for 16 years.  I have learned many things and continue to learn!  The first thing that I knew we had to do is teach our children to read.  I always thought this would require a fancy, detailed curriculum and would take years to master.  Well, I do have a great phonics curriculum (Alphabet Island)  that we bought years ago, and use bits and pieces of it, but my children have for the most part, with guidance, taught themselves how to read.  I make sure I wait for signs and cues from them that they are ready.  I really struggled with this at the beginning!  I pushed way more than I should have with my oldest and to this day, reading is not one of his favorite pastimes.  Looking back, I can see I should have waited with him.  I fell into the trap or worrying about what other peoples opinions were of when my child should read.   At that time, I did not want to look like a failure and felt I had to 'prove' to others that we made the right decision to home-educate and that my children WOULD be smart!  Now, I have realized it is about what is best for our family, not what others think.  My oldest girl learned to read at 5, I have a child who learned to read at 4 years old, and my 9 year old right now, is just beginning to read 4-5 letter words and sentences.  Some say, that is really old to be only doing that, but the point I am trying to make, is that kids are all different and we cannot put them all in a box and label it with the same label. 

The things I look for when getting prepared to help my children learn to read are:
  • a desire to sound out letters
  • they start to notice the words on the page of a book and not just the picture the interest of what things "say"
  • asking all the time how to spell things
  • begin to spell things even if they don't make sense~ ex-"M-O-M I want to E-O-T." (or eat!)
I do go through the phonics of all the letters with them or have older children do it on a daily basis once I see these reading readiness signs.  I also read CONTANTLY to them.  I also make sure there are books in their beds so in their down time, they can have them available.  Writing and reading can go hand in hand, but I have found that is not always the case!  Especially with my boys!  With some I have taught them to write first, and others have read first, some have done both together, and one of my children can read but not write yet.  Once again, it depends on the child.  I don't get hung up anymore on ages and grades.  I really do not know what grades my kids are in.  I go by what they are learning. 

If your child can read and have good reading comprehension, (that is a MUST), they can now begin the path of being able to teach themselves anything!  My 14 year old daughter taught herself to speak and write fluently in spanish in 8 months! I have never known spanish.  How did she do it?  The answer is she WANTED to learn it so she did!  We just gave her the tools when she was younger how to teach herself.  Please don't misunderstand me!  I am not saying we just leave our kids to chance and we are not available to guide them!  We teach them much when they are young, and learn their "bend" and then let them lead their education.  Our oldest son is 16 and never has been the sitting kind!  So at a young age, we let him outside to build and bought him some wood, hammer and nails and let his creativity soar!  He did learn to read and write great but we realized very early on, he was going to require us to "educate" him differently than his sister!  That is what has been so essential for our success in home-educating our children!  Learning their different "bends" and going with it!

I was going to do theme teaching on this blog, but am going to wait until next week for that!  Stay-tuned!

1 comment:

Shelly said...

I"m glad you wrote that about oldest went to public school (Yikes!) till 2nd grade and learned to read there, but is a very proficient reader...However, my 6 year old is in no way shape or form interested in learning to read and freaks out when I even suggest it! some days it worries me and some days I"m able to stuff down the worry and remind myself that he will read when he's ready...


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