Friday, April 6, 2007

first things first

Once we made the decision to homeschool it opened up a whole world of new things I needed to learn about. How to teach the basics. Which basics to even start with. That one was fairly easy: reading and math.

There is a debate over how to teach young children to read. Whole word method or phonics. The one is typical in public schools, the other is common in homeschools. The one requires that you memorize word shapes (for example tall-letter, short-letter, tall-letter, tall-letter written underneath a picture of a boy playing fetch with his dog) well that word boys and girls is "ball". OMG. How do they expect anyone to remember tall-letter, short-letter, tall-letter, tall-letter = ball???? They don't. Not really. But THAT is a whole different theory and one I am not going to explore yet.

Phonics will teach you that the letter b says "buh" the a says "ahh" the l says "luh". (Hmmm I've never tried to write out the phonics sounds before, not as easy as it would seem.) Then when you add that t says "tuh" you can read ball, at, tab, blat, etc...

Anyway, the books recommended in Well-Trained Mind for beginning phonics are Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Phonics Pathways.

How the heck was I supposed to know which one to pick???? The choice was made very simple. When I got to B&N one was on the shelf, the other would have to be ordered in. I hate waiting.

Punkin and I had a lot of success using the Teach Your Child book. The lessons were prescripted with the teacher stuff to say written in red. You sit with your child and you both look at the same book and it was a really cozy and cuddly time. She did GREAT and learned to read with really no struggle and no tears. We just took it easy, went slow. Somteimes we would take a break from it for days, even a week or two, and come back, usually repeating the last 4-6 lessons to get back up to speed.

Sometimes I wish that we had used Phonics Pathways or even Explode the Code for a more thorough grounding in phonetic sounds etc... But, Teach Your Child did the job I wanted it to do, which was to get my daughter reading.


tina said...

Congratulations! If I hadn't been so young when I had my children I might have tried homeschooling.

tina said...

Hi again...How did you get that thought for the day in your blog? I love that quote by the way.

look_an_atheist said...

Hi Tina!

First off- I WAS really young when I had mine. Pregnant at 19, had her when i was 20. 8-}

19 is a really really dumb age. WOW. You know what, dumb isn't the right word. Really it's just inexperienced. An inability to perceive the longterm consequences of an ultimately lifechanging decision.

I do however, understand that hindsight is 20/20. And looking back 13 years later. Hmmmm

Oh- the quote of the day is from the website linked right underneath it. You click on that, it takes you to the website, you copy and paste the code and voila. Atheist thought for the day. I'm a total newbie and they made it so easy I got it in 1 shot. :-D

tina said...

Umm...I was really young also....16-17-18-26, talk about dumb.But I'm a young grandma!

look_an_atheist said...

whoa. And I thought the challenges I faced were difficult. I can only imagine what it would have been like 3 years earlier. Yikes.

I take heart from the fact that you made it through it. Somedays it's like pushing cooked spaghetti uphill while herding cats.