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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.


Homeschooling 2017

The homeschool movement has continued to grow and shift over the last few years. Megatrends in homeschooling to note:

  1. Growth. Homeschooling is no longer the rare fringy movement that characterized it ten and twenty years ago. Now several percent of the US population, perhaps 3% is actively homeschooling.
  2. Mainstream Awareness, Many Involved.  Because of the widespread awareness and acceptance of homeschooling, the pirate or “us-them” mentality that characterized homeschooling for many years has somewhat dissipated. In fact, many families now homeschool for a few years or homeschool some but not all of the kids. Before, the homeschooling community was somewhat separated from the others, this is not nearly so much the case.
  3. Homeschooling Acceptance. In the old days, homeschoolers had trouble getting resources and even text books or teacher editions. Now, there’s a significant number of vendors, especially technology vendors, who actively market to homeschoolers. Time4Learning, Accellus High School, Reading Eggs, Time4Writing, Science4Us, VocabularySpellingCity, HugeSpelling, All About Spelling, and Writing Without Tears are just a few of the vendors who cater to homeschoolers. There is even a site about homeschooler’s literature!
  4. Technology – The homeschool market and community are now using all the great community tools on the net to find and work with each other. There are Facebook groups (and Twitter and so on) for Road Schooling, Military Homeschoolers, Waldorf Homeschoolers, UnSchoolers, Classical Homeschoolers, and so on and so on.

More Later…


Dyslexia? What Homeschool Parents Should Know

I have recently read two superb articles on dyslexia which every parent with children that might have dyslexia should read. Neither is ground breaking, both are good summaries.

Kerry Jone’s Guide to Homeschooling A Child with Dyslexia

The Homeschool.com Article: 5 Facts About Dyslexia

I won’t summarize the articles since both are concise and fast reads, I will point out one difference between approaches. It has to do with the use of the word dyslexia.  It’s obviously, a complex word. Sounds very medical.

Both articles agree that dyslexia as a term covers a broad spectrum of neurological conditions. One article feels that a child will be relieved when they hear the term since they now have an understanding of how they are different, this will be cathartic since it is specific.

My view is  that the term dyslexia is not necessarily going to be a positive thing for all children. I think it’s a scary medical term. I’m more in the camp  in that students benefit most from hearing:

– specifics about how their mind is different
– what difficulties and strengths this will mean for them
– what compensating strategies and development plans they should pursue.
I do agree that a diagnosis for kids who have become anxious about their situation can be a very positive thing resolving all sorts of confusion and focusing them on what has to be done.  In terms of resources for dyslexia, there’s all sorts of choices. I would suggest that people focus on getting a competent diagnosis to start which, unfortunately, is a tricky process. Part of it is the process of elimination of other problems with high quality testing of vision and other possibilities.
Here’s another page of interesting on dyslexia and homeschooling.