Home School Online

Homeschooling Online – Together At Home!

By

Teaching Moms to Teach Reading

The fact is that homeschoolers seem to have many anxieties but chief among them is the worry about whether their child will learn to read. It’s such a mysterious process and such a scary idea that the kids might not learn to read.  So, here’s a few thoughts to help parents deal with this anxiety.

  1. Learning to read is NOT a race. Early readers don’t turn out to be better readers, happier people, or more successful in school. Don’t race and worry just because some other kid learned earlier.
  2. If there does seem to be a problem, get some professional guidance. Hearing problems visual acuity problems, and other underlying medical conditions (ie dyslexia) can exist and understanding them will help.
  3. Learning to read is a process. It should start with word play and reading aloud to the kids. Why?
    1. Word play in which the sounds in words are highlighted will help the students understand that words are made of sounds. This is a key awareness and while obvious to adults, is a breakthrough for each kid. Understanding that bat, fat, and cat share at at sound but not the initial sound is the point of many games. Play these rhyming games and other sound and word games with your kids. Do Poetry. Play Hink Pink. etc etc
    2. Reading Aloud. Kids love listening to stories. They will soon get that the text on the page tells a story. The book goes from left to right, top of page to bottom, and all the other print awareness concepts.
    3. Study the process of learning to read. This is easily understood through the Reading Skills Pyramid.  
  4. That’s enough for the start. If you have questions about teaching your kids how to read, I’d invite you to ask them here. Also, I’d rely on some good programs to help with the process.  For example:
    1. Time4Learning is a big rich program that includes a fabulous language arts program. The PreK to 3rd language arts program is a good foundation for learning to read.
    2. For practice on specific skills, there are other useful programs. For instance VocabSpellingCity has some great prereading and early reading skills practice games such as Sound It Out.

By

Most Popular Form of Homeschooling

As I speak to homeschoolers, homeschool experts, and homeschool groups, I’ve been soliciting information on what is the most popular approach to homeschooling.  Here’s what I think:

Many people with their kids in virtual schools think that they are homeschooling. Of course they are not. But this is a large segment.

Of the real homeschoolers, there are a lot that are eclectic combining a series of different homeschoolers. I spoke to one lady today, Tash, who had five kids being homeschooled. The oldest two were twins age 17, the youngest was 2. The oldest were using:

  • Texting Textbooks for Math
  • Apologia for Science
  • A Language Arts program whose name I forgot. They were using Time4Learning but stopped at the high school level when it jumped from $20 per child to $30 which they felt was prohibitive especially since the 2nd child had been only $15 up to high school.
  • A social studies program who name I forgot.

There are lots that do classical in a few forms, including Classical Conversations. A Beka is not as popular, now is AOP and Saxon as they use to be. Many people just use old textbooks for cost reasons.

Still looking for real data. I saw some on Todays-Learners.com but I’m not so sure where they got it.

By

Podcasts About Obscure & Poorly Understood History

To stay in shape, I ride my bike and I go to the gym.  At the gym, I often wear earbuds and listen to podcasts, often TED talks.  On my bike, for safety, I only wear one earbud and I also listen to podcasts.

Today, I listened to a series of podcasts by Malcolm Gladwell and Panoply Media. It’s a ten week series with this being the 3rd week. I liked them but don’t love them.

The first podcast that I listened to featured Wilt Chamberlin, one the greatest US basketball player. It’s not really about basketball, it’s about how peer pressure and the mob mentality works.  In a clever and entertaining fashion, the podcast sets up the fact that Wilt’s achilles heel as a player was his foul shooting. And a weak foul shooter cannot be the goto guy in a tight game at a critical moment since the defense will just foul, watch him miss the foul shots, and then get the ball back.  In modern times, Shaq had the same problem.  The solution of course is to learn to shoot better foul shots. At one point in his career, Wilt changed his style and started shooting brilliantly and consistently.  But then, for no reason other than peer pressure, he changed back. The question can also be put this way: Is it better to shoot foul shots underhand (“granny-style”) and be a high percentage shooter, or to be like everyone else and shoot the macho over-the-head low percentage style.

It’s a fascinating question. He discusses it in many ways but he leaves out the counter arguments which sort of annoy me. I think there’s a case for it to be easier for someone to train only one way to shoot, always overhand, rather than two different ways. Or to say that this is a historical point since in the modern NBA, the foul shooting percentage is now way up. It’s between 69% and 81%.