I know that a lot of people are more nervous about making a mistake in teaching their child to read than almost any other portion of homeschooling. So, imagine my delight when Eliza taught herself to read. I can take no credit for the fact that my four-year-old daughter can read at a second grade level. Well, I did let her watch the Leapfrog Letter Factory and Talking Words Factory DVDs a lot when she was little. My good friend, Meredith, told me to let my kiddos start watching those DVDs at 18 months and they would learn how to read in no time. Umm . . . it worked. Eliza's little brain just clicks when it comes to smushing those letters together and making words.
Now, Marshall can read too, but it didn't happen overnight like it did with his sister. It can be tough being a six-year-old boy and having your little sister pass you up. But, he wants to hurry to get on to something more fun. And, he doesn't like making mistakes. He likes to get it right the first time, which means that he doesn't really like sounding out words. He wants to guess and read them all the fast way. It makes reading tough.
We're working through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. We are on Lesson 70 and he is definitely reading at a first grade level when he tries. This whole week though, I have been at a loss. Reading had turned into a daily battle with tears and temper tantrums (on his part, not mine, although I've felt like crying more than once). So, I asked the Lord for fresh ideas.
Having good friends who are homeschooling a couple of years ahead of me has been such a blessing and often the Lord uses them to send me His fresh ideas. It seems like sometimes they have an idea that can get me/us going again when we've hit a rut. So I called Bethany to see what she would do. And, I can be honest with her and tell her how much I would love to send this child to school at the moment, to someone who "knows what they're doing" and for whom I know he would behave more cooperatively. Bethany, and other supportive friends like her, are so good to remind me that I know God has called me to do this. And, He always equips us for what He has called us to. Praise Jesus!
After that reminder, and sympathy because she has been there, this time Bethany gave me fresh ideas for reading. Set aside what we've been doing that isn't working right now. Make it different. Make it a game.
So, we did and it was fun. Marshall smiled and laughed and thought reading was great.
I used textured letters and the kids had to spell words. Then I made stacks of index cards with various words and the kids had to pick out cards to make silly sentences. (Thanks for the ideas, Bethany!) And, it was so easy and so fun. I guess I should admit I wasn't beyond a little bribery . . . notice the (big) bag of M&Ms.
Check out my supplies for reading time today . . . everyone needs a good Storm Trooper Blaster and a Diet Coke. I admit to drinking it. I know about all the bad chemicals in it that will do irreparable damage to my body. But sometimes I need some afternoon caffeine. Because even this drill-sergeant-about-sleep mama has a baby with sleep issues sometimes. Jameson has decided that it is fun to be up from 4:30-5:30 in his crib. Just hanging out. Being loud.
Side note: Baby J started walking yesterday!!! One of those moments that is super exciting. But, at the same time I realize how it will turn my house upside down because soon he'll be running. I missed it because I was at a meeting. He walked for Eric within 10 minutes of me leaving the house. Yep, really. But, it might actually be an explanation for his weird new sleep habit. Whenever he's about to do something new he seems to have trouble sleeping. Like he can't turn off his brain or something?
And, Jameson had reading time too. Haha. Poor baby-J. By his age, Marshall and Eliza loved to be read to. They had favorite books. They would just sit and look at picture books. Let's just say my reading time with Jameson has been lacking. I'll admit I was a little obsessed about it with Marshall. When he was three weeks old, I really had no idea what to do with him all day. So he would lay on the floor and I would hold books over his head and read them.
Jameson is totally baffled by what a book is. He chews on them and occasionally hands me one, but then crawls away. He likes to use them as steps to climb on. The challenges of being the third child.
The best ending to the day was that when Eric came home from work, the kids had enjoyed reading so much they wanted Eric to get in on it. And, Eric came up with another new "reading game" that the kids loved. Homeschool is definitely a joint effort around here!