Teach reading to your child. All homeschooling parents can get stuck on this most important aspect of teaching their children. Teaching reading can be overwhelming, and daunting when you haven't done it before or not sure where to start.
Teach Reading to Your Child
If you are in a place where you need to teach reading but are not sure where to begin, I would like to share some great resources with you to help you find the right fit for your own children. Before doing that I would like to share a few tips that I have found to make it so much easier to teach readers when these are in place.
Start Early With Letter Fun
Getting your child use to seeing letters, possibly even learning their names in play will make them friends to them. I love to do hands-on activities with my children, and my youngest has proven to be the best learner for reading in our family because of the kinds of letter fun he has done since he was two.
Here are the learning boxes I have done with him to learn letters:
How to Teach the Alphabet with Legos
Alphabet Tile Learning Box
Alphabet Clothes Pins Learning Box
Alphabet Beads Learning Box
Learn Phonics Without the Use of Books
The more a child learns phonics the easier reading is going to be for them. I have a few of my favorite things to teaching phonics with hands-on play that doesn't include books, and makes it easier to teach reading to your child.
In addition to these types of hands-on learning, you can also add phonic apps to your child's learning time before books with these:
Choose a Curriculum and Stay With It
Because I taught kindergarten for a year, and taught four of our children to read, I'm able to say with certainty that it takes time to teach reading to a child. What I have experienced with a struggling reader, and see it happening all the time is that we often forget that there is a process that goes into learning to read. If we don't lay the ground with the early steps of learning sounds before introducing books, the journey can take longer.
On the average it takes several months of consistent lessons to teach reading to a child. Within the homeschool community, if our child isn't reading by mid-school year, we are ready to give up on the curriculum we choose and find a new one.
Each of these changes can literally set back a child's learning for months, because they loose their confidence and begin to think the problem is them. Finding the right curriculum and sticking with it is really important to success of your child.
I can stand behind these two curriculums for reading:
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The Constitution is something that all United States citizens should know and understand. Without the knowledge of the Constitution, you are giving up rights without even being aware of them, and in today's culture, it is very important. Regardless if you we in an election year or not, citizens need to be aware of what the Constitution says about every aspect of their life. Why not add teach the Constitution in your homeschool, and be sure that you are all learning it together. That is how we do it in our home!
How to Teach the Constitution
If you love American History like our family, you love to learn everything you can about the Constitution and what the founding fathers intended our country to look like from the first few years as a new nation.
In our home, we take one-full year in high school to focus entirely on learning about Constitutional history, while also introducing our younger children to as much as they can retain. To us, it is very important to have our children grow as political as they can be, based on the rights that the Constitution affords to every citizen and base their views from that and what they have learned in their Christian faith.
This year our high school curriculum will consist of these resources.
Constitutional Literacy Workbook and the 25-Part DVD Series – The history you never knew. The training you need to reclaim liberty.
This will be the skeleton of our curriculum because I haven't seen anything so thoroughly covering the history of the constitution, the branches of government, their responsibilities and duties, with the parts of the Constitution being broken down to explain what they mean in layman terms.
Each episode of the DVD series has six parts to dissect:
- Purpose: This section provides an overview of what will be covered in each episode and lessons
- Parlance: (meaning language) This section will have key vocabulary of legal terminology used in this lesson for a better understanding of what is being covered
- Preamble: This sections provides an introduction of what will be covered, allowing for historical background or framing the context into everyday life
- Ponder: This sections is where you dig deeper. Literally providing the opportunity for great discussions or essays for assignments to evaluate the comprehension of what was covered
- Payoff: This sections summaries the issues and arguments of the topics that were covered (perfect for teaching a solid debate for standing up for your beliefs on a topic)
- Probe: This section will provide more assignments for high school students to dig deeper in the people, cases or topics mentioned, providing them with investing in their own education on the Constitution
American Heritage Series and the Building on the American Heritage Series by David Barton
These DVDs are amazing, and ones that we used with our older children to teach the Constitution. We will use these as enhancements to the above curriculum to ensure that our children understand the value and importance of interrupting history through original document and individual writings of the Founding Fathers.
There would be key people that I would want my children to learn about when learning about the Constitution. I prefer to use smaller biographies for all my children to grasp the important details of the people, verses using a textbook for this part of their education.
These would be the resources that I would use:
The American Presidential elections are always a great teaching opportunity, however many times, children aren't taught about the entire election process, as the main focus is usually on the final part of the election process, between one candidate for each party. There is so much more to teach the election process to your kids, and maybe even learn how to be more active in your own decision, as a voting adult.
How to Teach the Election Process to Your Kids
There is so much learning opportunities for your family long before the final stage of the Presidential election begins, and these learning opportunity can also be a great way to teach about the issues that you value most.
Here are some lesson plan ideas that will help you to teach the election process to your kids, while allowing your family to evaluate the candidates and narrow down the one(s) that have your support.
- Learn the Vocabulary of the Election Process – The election process can be very confusing, unless your child understand the top vocabulary commonly used during the process. Here are some top vocabulary ideas to get you started: republic, democratic, democracy, candidate, incumbent, nomination, elector, independent, minority, majority, delegate, House of Representative, Congress, caucus, primary, convention, inauguration, poll, precinct and politician.
- Identify the Top Issues that Matter to Your Family – Learning about family values and how politicians stand on these issues, can be a great opportunity for your family to learn how to stand up to the values that matter the most to you, and help you identify the best candidates.
- Learn What the Different Parties Stand – Identifying what it means to be Republican, Democratic or even Independent, and then deciding where your political beliefs line up with each of these parties to identify what party you will be wanting to win the final stage of the Presidential election.
- Identify Where the Candidates Stand on Your Top Issues – This lesson idea is a great way for you to teach about how different thinking can be for others, and why it is important to vote for those who stand on your side of the issues. Each candidate has their own website, and list where they stand on the most popular issues.
- Learn about the Primary Process – The primary process is done prior to the actual Presidential race between parties. This process is so important and often times, overlooked be Americans. This process narrows down the candidates to one for each party, and if you aren't aware of the issues, where the candidates stand and how the national party conventions are the first step to the most popular part of the elections.
- Watch Debates between Candidates – Debates are done for the opportunity for all candidates to give their own timed response to questions about popular issues today. These debates are very important to the election process, as it will give a person the concepts of not only where a candidate stands on an issue but also be able to read their expression, hear their tone of voice and get a visual feel of how the candidate presents themselves under pressure.
- Go on an Election Field Trip – Learning all the facts about the candidates can be more interesting when done on a field trip, where children are engaged and seeing things as real as they really are.
My best homeschooling years are those that I have organized before starting. There are always a certain things that I organize to make the most of a successful year and I'm excited to share them with you, hoping that you will find them as much as a blessing as I do.
Here are My 7 Things that I Organize for Back to Homeschool
- Syllabus for Each Child – Our year has always been successful when we start it with a syllabus of what we expect each child to complete prior to finishing that school year. The children know what is expected of them and can be focused on knowing that their is an end to one stage of their education. Using a syllabus in high school can really take the concerns out of teaching at home.
- Binder Books – We use Binder Books in several of our subjects from elementary to high school, so staying organized for binder books assignments are really important to our success for the year. You may get some inspiration when you see some of my children's binder books and journaling work.
- Learning Centers – Having younger children in the home is a blessing, but one you need to plan for when homeschooling older children. One way that I have found to help in this stage is to have learning centers in key places in the home.
- Working Files – While teaching my children to become motivated, self-learners, I have found magazine file or what we call working files to be one of the easiest ways to implement independent work into their days. This not only helps them take more responsibility in their work, but to also take care of it when they are finished, keeping our organization through the whole year, not just the first week.
- Plan for Sick Days – We all have at least once a year that sickness hits our home and causes us to be off schedule. I plan for these times and have found these to be some amazing learning times that our family has together and worth the investment of time and money when organizing for back to homeschool.
- Plan for Audio Books – Our children have listened to audio book at bedtime for over 12 years and has easily become one of my favorite things to organize for them. Every homeschool night, our children would listen to 30 minutes of an audio book that I wanted to introduce them to, without me having to do the reading.
- Meal Planning – Taking about 30 minutes a week to plan all our meals has proven to be a great benefit to getting organized when life gets busier as we get back to homeschool.
Once a reader found out that I focus on American History from early elementary through high school, usually ending around 9th or 10th grade, before turning our full focus on World History, they wanted to know my reason behind it. I know this is something completely different than how the majority of homeschoolers study history, but has really worked for us and it may be what you are looking for in your homeschooling journey.
Why I Teach American History From Early Elementary Through High School
When our older children were younger, and I started to implement the Charlotte Mason way into how we did homeschooling, I learned that American history books were being rewritten, to take our Christian founding out of it. As I researched this myself, I began to see clearly that newer books, written after 1965 were in fact focusing on more of an economical purpose to the founding of our government and thus the Christian faith started to disappear from these books.
Interestingly enough, as I did my research, I was finding that the bibliographies (a list of sources quotes or information are taken from) in the books written after 1965 were only quoting books written about history from that point on and some were even without any bibliographies.
History of any kind, should always contain sources from original documents or books that used the original documents as their source.
Once we were seeing this for ourselves, we decided that we wanted to make a focus on teaching our children a solid history of their nation and the founding of its principles, laws and statues.
Our purpose in teaching American History was to not just teach names, dates and events, but allow them to get a full picture of what the people were standing up for, what was going on in their lives and why these events happened, while understanding what made them important to our American History.
In order for us to implement our purpose with our family, we needed to take steps in building their knowledge in history and it literally took us this long to do it where our children were interested in learning and able to retain important information, thus becoming true patriots to the founding of this great nation and what all these principles stand for and still stand for today.
We have found our children able to grasp different things about American History at different ages, but it wasn't until they were in middle school and high school before the principles that formed this nation made sense to them, and all the foundational work we did to teach them the ‘facts' and ‘events' all started to make sense at this age and gave us the ability to educate our children in what we believe is a very important of their education… their duty to their nation, founding in their faith in God.
With all this being said, I want to also be sure to state that although our history curriculum was focused on America, we never left out learning about Bible History or even World History. In fact, it amazed me how we taught American History because a genuine interest in other history for each of our children and they were grasping so much through life that was didn't plan or structure for these studies.
Often times, we used our sick days or summer months to learn about different parts of history, which first started by our sons love of learning about weapons and the history of weapons. The naturally lead us to wars, and world wars that gave them interest in learning more about why they happened and who the historical people of those times were and what they stood for because this is how they were trained to learn through our American History.
I remember one summer, our oldest son spent a lot of his free time learning about World War II because of his interest of the weapons that were used and the hours he would spend watching the History channel with his dad, having long discussions about the holocaust and the persecution of the Jews during that time.
Although we were only focusing on American History, my children were thrilled to learn about many who lived during that time.
Our approach in teaching history may not be popular, but the fruit of our approach has been beautiful to see and we have absolutely no regrets, as we know our children love history of all kinds, and have a solid education about their own country's history and are proud to be Americans who know the founding, the principles and what sacrifices have been made by so many to get our freedom and to keep it.
We all crave simplicity in our lives, but often times, we have no idea how to get there. Those that have arrived at simple homeschool days are often looked at as not doing enough academically or being relaxed in their approach. Then there are some of us, (this is where I fit) who have simple homeschooling days and can easily feel the pull to do more because it seems too easy at times, and can feel that it should be harder because of what others are experiencing.
5 Steps to Simple Homeschool Days
These 5 steps are not rock science or difficult to implement. They just need time to consider, ponder and depending on your place in your journey, get a little extra help in putting it together for your unique family.
- Unique Needs and Preferences – This one sounds so simple, but it is where I struggle most in my homeschooling journey because I can be swayed by the pull of those around me who don't follow my method of homeschooling that is a very gentle and easy to implement way to educate our children. Seeing how easy it has been for our children to be independent learners, I need to often times remind myself of our unique needs and preferences, so I can stay true to our goals in homeschooling. This necessary step to simple homeschool days is where many women struggle for this same reason.
- Chores and To-Do List – Let's face it, it isn't the homeschooling that can cause our days seem to overwhelming but all the other chores and to-do list that can really add that level of stress that makes simple days seem impossible. Identifying systems that are unique to your family and give you steps toward implementing a simple day is priceless. There are times that I even have to remind myself of how these systems work and once I get back into our system for chores and even our laundry, we find the peace and joy that we desire for our homeschooling.
- Finding Rest – Rest doesn't come easy for me, because of my personality and energy level. Knowing this, I need to work hard to find rest in my day, to help me have a simple homeschool day and not just move from one thing to the next. The more that I work to add rest into my day, I can step back and see that our simple homeschool days are providing our home with peace and my life with joy.
- Identifying Obstacles – These are the robbers of my joy. Our home can easily become derailed from a simple day if I don't identify and keep our obstacles into check and keep solutions available to removing them and safe-guarding us from these daily issues.
- Set Boundaries – Once our family understood what was allowed and where the boundaries were, and we were consistent in implementing them in our homeschool routines, the simple homeschool days were becoming a normal occurrence in our home. We all thrived to see how our days had free afternoons because of the efforts we all do to stay within these boundaries and we all have reaped the benefits.
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