I always say that I homeschool from birth. It kind of weirds me out when people talk about thinking about starting to homeschool when they have a five year old or something. There was never a time when I started to homeschool; it’s just how we live. I admit that our homeschooling has certainly grown more organized and formal as the children have grown. I always knew I wanted to homeschool, and my first child loved to read from the time she was born. She was my first, so I had no idea it was unusual that she would sit on my lap for hours looking at books and asking over and over what different things were. By 18 months she had organically learned colors, shapes, and about half the alphabet and their phonetic sounds. By organically I mean she just learned it out of her own curiosity. I never sat her down with flash cards drilling in lessons. She just pointed and asked.
At two she was asking me to teach her to read. I had been sure that I wasn’t going to be one of those parents who started early. I wasn’t going to push. But she nagged and nagged until I started to teach her to read. I tried phonics. Didn’t work. I tried teaching her whole words and then building stories based on those words, all building on each other. It was too hard, yes, even for me. 🙂 Then I found the Robinson Curriculum which introduced me to the McGuffey Readers. I also saw on a blog, now called Raising Godly Tomatoes, about how she had taught her wee ones to read with a flashcard system. I combined the two. That’s how my kids have learned to read at age four (except for my daughter who was younger.)
I have had four boys come after my daughter. Only my one-year old likes to sit and look at books. The others all chewed on books at age two instead of reading them. But at four they each started to learn to read. Right now I’ve just started teaching the third boy to read. My first step is always teaching the alphabet and letter sounds even though I don’t teach phonics until after they can read. I found myself not being consistent in presenting the letters to him, and he wasn’t able to just see it once and get it. He kept wanting to do school, but I kept not getting around to him as much as he wanted.
Now that I’m putting the older children’s school online, I’m doing the same with my 4 year old. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve created characters for each letter and have been building a story incorporating them all into it so that there is repetition and review for each letter and sound. Here’s the letter C. (This is the boy version. I have a girl version of each letter as well. You have to click on “Play Flash Full Screen.” I do all of my blogging for free, so you have to do the extra click. You have to pay to get the direct link.)
Most of the characters are these fun drawings from Easy Child Crafts. I’m not at all a craft person, but having it all planned out makes it easy to just print out the craft. Thankfully my daughter loves crafts and helps out when she’s around. I do have some links to other crafts that can be chosen, but I always also have an easy paper craft as a choice for non-crafters like me. Most of the crafts are from DLTK and other ideas are from Our Crafts N Things. They both have ideas for every letter of the alphabet.
Really my main goal of preschool is learning to read. Reading is what they need to do well in order to do well at “school.” They learn their shapes and colors and counting some by absorbing and some by asking and some by my taking advantage of learning opportunities. I’ve incorporated those things into my son’s online school as well, but just some. The focus is definitely learning to read.
You can see the beginning of his learning to read curriculum at the Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. After learning the letters, he’ll do the McGuffy Primer by learning by sight the new words in each lesson, and then he’ll do the First Reader without learning the words separately first. Then he’ll do phonics. This all happens over two years. Then he’ll be an excellent reader just like his siblings 🙂
…Next time I’m thinking of writing on unschooling.
Entry filed under: Homeschool.