Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thoughts on homeschooling

I remember teaching my oldest his Alphabet, the sounds and how to write the letters. I remember thinking back then that the next step was impossible for me to do, I mean how do I teach him to read? That was 8 years ago and now I have my 2nd oldest daughter at home and last summer she expressed a desire to learn to read. She wasn't yet in Kindergarten but I figured that it was time since she was obviously ready. I looked around and that is when I found "Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons". Now it sounds gimmicky but so many others I knew swore by it so I gave it a try. From my experience, the book works . . . very well.

As we went through the school year last year her reading seemed to take off at an incredible pace. It was as though this new found skill had an insatiable appetite and I sought desperately to keep pace. The library in town was our best friend but even they were no match as they couldn't keep up the pace of finding her reading level and books to suit. She was getting bored. Finally I decided last week to challenge her to read "The Little House in the Big woods". She hadn't had any chapter books at this point and she had been reading the "pick your own adventure" book that my oldest son had. It took about a week of on and off reading to get through the 13 chapters, but she really enjoyed it.

With her curiosity peaked she promptly began "Little house on the Prairie" book. It is practically 3 days later and she has read all 26 chapters and is desperately wanting more. This time she did little else but read, every spare moment she could be found with her head in that book. It was very interesting to watch as I was never a big reader and never understood how anyone becomes one. I cannot say I understand it much better but I guess it does help that my dh also loves to read, evidenced by the fact that he now belongs to 4 libraries and they are always looking for a book for him.

At this point I am going to need suggestions on where we go next, after all there are only so many books in this series . . . thought?


Amy said...

Have you tried the "Magic Tree House series" (there are more than 20 of those that teach history or about tornados or other things) or The Chronicles of Narnia (there are I believe 7 in that series) or a good one around here was Junie B. Jones (there are a bunch of those too)

I love to read too. I loved reading to my kids.

Kansas Mom said...

Just so you know, the Magic Tree House books have quite a bit of actual magic in them. We prefer the Magic School Bus chapter books -- lots more information on the topics (like bats, tornadoes, etc.), but the only "magic" is the school bus which is obviously imaginary.

Other suggestions: Once Upon a Time Saints, More Once Upon a Time Saints, anything by Clyde Robert Bulla, the A to Z Mysteries, Prairie Skies series (set in frontier Kansas) by Deborah Hopkinson, Flat Stanley, The Courage of Sarah Noble, The Black Stallion, The King's Equal, By the Great Horn Spoon, books by Marguerite Henry (I particularly like the horse ones.), Ramona books, James Herriot's Treasury for Children, Mr. Popper's Penguins, The Railway Children, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, All of a Kind Family, Caddie Woodlawn, Molly's Pilgrim, Betsy-Tacy, The Best Loved Doll.

Hmmm, that's all I have at the moment. Some of these may be more challenging than she wants, but she can always set it aside for later. (The Little House books are actually fairly challenging - good for her!) Many of them are a series so she can read more if she likes the first one.

NHE-PAC said...

My daughter's recommendation is "anything by Marguerite Henry." Remember Misty of Chincoteague? Wonderful book, and all of hers are inspired by real animals.

Kansas Mom said...

I thought of some more: Stuart Little (really anything by E. B. White, though she may think Charlotte's Web is a little funny given her home on the farm), lots of stuff by Michael Bond (Paddington Bear and Olga da Polga come to mind), A Little Princess, and The Secret Garden. Little Women, of course, is wonderful, but it's probably too difficult to read yet.

Anonymous said...

There are more in the Little House series, aren't there? I have such good memories of those books, and we are watching the Little House TV series now, and so getting into it! I thought it might seem corny now, and it is a little, but the stories and characters are so timeless and real.

Reading the suggestions here made me smile-Narnia, Misty, Black Stallion. I loved all those, and especially animal books, The Blind Connemara and Champion Dog: Prince Tom were also my favorites when I was an early reader. And the tear-jerkers Where The Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller?

What about Nancy Drew? I remember being riveted by the excitement of those mysteries! When I exhausted those, I moved onto the Hardy Boys, though I don't think the boys were as cool as Nancy!

Mama Darby said...

my one non-reader seems to really love Elsie Dinsmore books. In fact I've yet to find anything else that even interests her to try reading.