Sunday, December 4, 2011

Homeschooling: How I've Decided to Teach Reading

Im not 100% sure that we will homeschool, I'm still praying about that one, but I am doing it for preschool. There's two reasons for this. 1) I want to make sure Lilly can read before kindergarten. 2) I want to practice homeschooling before it actually counts. I'm a little worried about taking on the sole responsibility of her learning. I do KNOW that Lilly would get a better education (at least through 3 grade) if she were taught by me. Our school system just isn't that great. I doubt we would homeschool through high school, I just want her to have a super strong foundation. That said, I'm not sure it would benefit her socially to be homeschooled. She already has tendencies to be shy, so I don't really want to reinforce that. All things we are praying about! It's such a HUGE decision!

Since I have decided, to at least teach her how to read, I knew I needed a good method. We got an app on my iPad that she loves, and has already started reading some words just in her usual play. In the app, you can sign up for an email that explains the best way to teach kids to read. It is backed by research and is apparently the method used in many countries in Europe. (the app is called Pocket Phonics)The whole goal of this is to get kids reading earlier, not just in age, but also during the process of learning the letters. The meathod basically has two components.

1) Initially only call the letters by their sounds. The reasoning for this is that it's less information to have to remember. This was like a light bulb moment for me! It totally makes sence. They will of course learn their letter names, that's not actually that hard to retain. And I'm not super strict about this one. I do say the name sometimes, but when I discuss the letters I emphasize "this letter sounds like..." so that she knows there's a name, we just only learn the sound.

2) Don't teach in the abcd... Order. We teach in groupings of letters that will form words early on. this way, she will reach the achievement of reading almost from the beginning. Our first grouping is A,S,T,N,P,I.

This is so different than how they teach in schools, and pretty different than how I was taught. I am teaching her all six letters at once via the app, but I'm emphasizing one letter a week. This is mostly to help with writing practice. I very much feel like phonics is the absolute best way to learn. I hate whole language learning, it just leaves too many kids behind. I am going to be emphasizing good penmanship while she learns how to write, I just don't think schools focus on that enough!

I think you'll better understand this meathod as I post our lesson plans this week. It's slightly unconventional, but I think it's what will work best for my child, and that's what's important!

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