Home School Online

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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.


The Mystery of Blog Popularity

This morning, when I checked my email, I saw that this blog had 8 new subscribers in the last 24 hours.  Wow, it’s great to be so popular. I was pleased but then I checked the total number of registered users of the blog.  It totals just under 500 (you can see this for yourself on the bottom right of the sidebar).

It didn’t make sense to me that I was getting so many new registrants and had only five hundred total registrants. So I checked a few things:

1.  Was this the only day when I had a good number? I searched through my email archives for the last month and found that today was a big day but not that exceptional. I seemed to be averaging around 3 new subscribers per day for the last few weeks.

2. I checked the list of subscribers (which I can in the WordPress back office) and checked that new subscribers were actually being added to the list.

3. I looked at the actual names to see if they might be spam registrations or some sort of phantom group.  Mostly they looked pretty normal although about ten percent had an email that I consider unusual: webmail.co.za  This turns out to be an international email system that is pretty popular in South Africa.  But most of the emails are pretty typical ones with yahoo.com, gmail.com, aol.com, hotmail.com and some vanity URL emails.

Finally, I looked deeper into the historical pattern and realize that I had added the subscribe widget about 3 months ago. So although I’ve kept this blog for years, it was only the summer update that allowed people to subscribe.  So now it makes pretty good sense to me but I would like to confirm that you, my subscribers, actually exist and are real people.  Can I ask some of you to click back through to this blog and leave a comment?

Ideally, I‘d like a comment that simply says something about you and this blog.  Such as:

– Which articles did you find most interesting?
– Which articles did you find boring or too commercial or too badly written?
– How did you find this blog?
– What would you like me to write about?
– Any thoughts on how often you would like me to post new articles?

Here’s the URL back to the blog, thanks for your help: http://www.homeschoolonline.org

Or, one more thing. As part of this I just checked whether it was possible to leave a comment on the blog and to my horror, it wasn’t. I’ve now gotten some help from a real techie and now it’s easy to post a comment. Thanks

 Overall, I’m just trying to solve the mystery of how and why this blog is popular.  Are people really subscribing?  Are you actually reading the articles?  Why aren’t you leaving more comments? Please leave one to tell me that some of my readers are real. Thanks.



What’s New? A Full High School and Middle School Science

Time4Learning Most people in the homeschool world who have spent any time online have now probably heard about Time4Learning.  But, in the fall of 2013, there’s some big news.

Time4Learning Adds a High School Curriculum. Announced in July and available in August of 2013, the Time4Learning high school curriculum for home school students covers the big four subject areas and then some. Time4Learning high school offers an online, interactive curriculum for ninth through twelfth grade that can be used for homeschooling. Courses are parent-supervised, student-paced, and designed to help students achieve college and career readiness.

Time4Learning’s second big announcement came in October of 2013, they added a very solid intense middle school home school science curriculum.   Middle school science is organized into three primary courses:

Earth/Space Science Course
Life Science Course
Physical Science Course
Nature Of Science Supplement

Nature of Science is also provided as a supplement for each of the courses. Materials are taught using a combination of animated lessons, instructional videos, worksheets, quizzes, tests and both online and offline projects. All three middle school science courses are correlated to state standards.

Disclosure. I am not an unaffiliated party and this is not pure editorial. I have a financial interest in Time4Learning so this article should be considered promotional in nature!  I wish everyone disclosed.  I frankly am sick of seeing industry newsletters which claim to have “the top five writing programs” and which sound like an editorial review when in fact, these are just paid promotional spots.  This is an actual example of a newsletter that arrived from an industry leading group this week in my email inbox!