when enough people ask about what homeschooling curriculum you use, it becomes obvious that writing up a series of posts would be helpful. but i wanted to wait until we had been using these materials for awhile. now that we have a few months under our belts, i thought i would give some brief reviews. since my main responsibility these days is homeschooling, it is also a natural way to share our daily life. so no more slacking in response to those questions and i can satisfy the curiosity of those skeptics. you know who you are and i love you regardless.
there are few abilities of more value than being able to read. wouldn't you agree? what a privilege to be able to share that gift with my littles! it might not always be easy, but a privilege it is.
what we have chosen:
teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons by engelmann, haddox, and bruner
why we chose it:
i wanted a phonics based program (rather than a whole language program) and checked out several from the library. phonics pathways did not really jive with us. some of the others were too long, required more materials or daily/weekly prep than i was interested in at the time. while 100 easy lessons looked a bit weird, i surprisingly took to the scripted lessons and appreciated the unusual orthography.
if you are considering it, read the introduction. borrow it from a friend or the library. look at it in a real live bookstore if possible. there are about 20 pages that explain the hows and whys of the book in detail.
at first, the lessons only took a few minutes and seemed a bit easy. but within a week, luca read his first sentence and was smiling wide with pride. such a great memory. now we average about 30 minutes a lesson and i think it is just the right amount of new sound introduction and review.
the biggest struggle is getting him to read through the story twice. the first time is for sounding out the words and the second is reading "the fast way." i see the value in both, so i try not to give in to his complaints. sometimes we close up the book halfway through and come back to it later. i don't think he is complaining due to boredom or frustration, rather than some work ethic issues. he wants to be done! so i work on being patient with him (hmmm. . . i wonder where he gets it from?) and training him with a better attitude. that means sometimes taking several days to work on one lesson. or sometimes taking several days off of lessons altogether. i don't want to stifle a future love of reading by pressuring him. i waited until he showed interest in reading before beginning and if he starts to get upset, i give him a break.
we have been borrowing bob books from the library and use these to give his new skills some practice. watching him read a book to gia is the best! do you have any recommendations for other easy readers? i would love to know.
we do loosely follow the writing assignments at the end of each lesson. since luca enjoys writing, i usually give him more than two letters or letter combinations to practice (probably 8-10 i would estimate). we don't have a handwriting curriculum, but i also give him copywork from books or that i make up.
where we'll go from here:
i am not quite sure. after finishing 100 easy lessons, i think we'll pick up the ordinary parents guide to teaching reading (hopefully from the library again) and see if we can transition somewhere mid-book at luca's reading level.
this program is inexpensive at about $13. the only other supplies you need are handwriting paper and a pencil.
and if you are asking, i would recommend this book. even if you are not homeschooling, it would be a great way to develop reading skills with your reading-ready kiddo before beginning school.
i hope this brief overview was helpful. you can read other reviews here and here. please let me know if you have any specific questions.