Wednesday, May 5, 2010

School Schmool - Part 3

***Read the first two parts of our schooling journey
HERE and HERE if you need to catch up***

Okay, so now what? I've decided that we're gonna do it. We're gonna homeschool, but I had no clue as to where to start. It was time to do some research.

Where I started my search:

Friends - I have a lot of friends and family who homeschool. I have gleamed so much wisdom and so many great ideas from each of them. I've asked so many questions that they are probably screening my phone calls now...sorry;)

Curriculum Reviews - I started googling things like "homeschool curriculum" and "lesson plans" and found several very promising curriculums that sounded like they would work for us, but wasn't quite ready to commit to something. There are many companies that will mail you samples of their curriculums to get an idea of what they are all about.

Blogs - There are LOTS of blogs out there of other moms in the exact same boat. You aren't in this alone. You can step into their world and see what has or hasn't worked for them. Keep in mind that what works for them won't always necessarily work for you, but you can always get some good ideas from them.

Free Internet Programs - Endless resources are available on the world wide web that you can take advantage of for FREE! A couple sites we enjoy that even get Zeke's attention are Starfall and KidZone.
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The last time we were in Charlotte I got asked probably a half-dozen times what we were doing for school with Areyna. Sheesh... I knew of a mom in the church who had homeschooled her kids and asked what she used to teach her children how to read (I told you I was asking a lot of questions). When she said the name of the book it sounded oddly familiar.

When I got home I dug out a book that my mom had given my sister, who in turn had handed down to me over Christmas, that I had put away and completely forgotten about. It was the exact same book that my friend had mentioned to me earlier in Charlotte.

This book was referred to me by a friend, so I KNEW it was legitimate. Plus, it was handed down by my mom who specializes in teaching children how to read. I didn't have to go out and buy anything!

I had the book in my possession, I had a daughter eager to learn, I had the excitement and motivation to get started...so that's exactly what we did.

Fast forward not even two weeks later and Areyna was sounding out 3-letter words all by herself. It has been absolutely amazing to see the lightbulb go on in her little mind as she realizes that sounds make up words and that she is capable of putting those sounds together to read a word all by herself!

I know you are on the edge of your seat, wondering what book it is. Well, let me tell you!

"Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons" By Engelmann, Haddox and Bruner

Why I love it:
  • It only takes 15-20 min. a day
  • Totally phonics-centered
  • Spiral Learning
  • No planning necessary
  • What you say is written in red
  • If the child's response/answer is not correct it lets you know how to correct them in a positive way
  • Each day includes games, reading the sound, listening and writing
My mom also just mailed me a box FULL of books. You would have thought it was Christmas when I opened up the box. One of the sets of books that I'm so excited to start are the "Bob Books". They come very highly recommended to me by my friend who has been using them with her daughter. In fact, Areyna can already sound out all the letters in the first book that I looked at. Yup, she can read a book all by herself. Wow!

I also have some hand-me-down school books coming my way.

So, we have started. It is a good start. It is working. I NEVER thought I'd be able to say that I'm teaching my own daughter how to read!?

Starting in the fall, my plan is to do some unit studies. I'll make it more structured and try to plan a month out so I'm not scurrying around trying to figure out what school will be for that day.

I'll keep you up to date with our progress and our pitfalls, because I'm sure those are soon to come, but I'm ready!

I'd love to hear what works for you or what decisions you have made for your own families.
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