I know I said I might be MIA this week, turns out I'm not. I love this space and connecting with you through comments. So, there are still posts showing up but I'm spending a significant amount less time writing and online in general (taking a break from my blog reader).
I may extend this "break" through to next week, especially since homeschool planning is taking a lot of time and I'll need to do more next week. Designing a program of study for our young adult is so exciting and so scary! And includes a lot of "God, please give me wisdom!" (written right in the plans)
If you didn't win you can still check out a free 7 day trial.
not ours, though a kitten may be in our future
I wanted to say something about that - the program trial and reading readiness in general.
It took me a while to get used to the Reading Horizons program. In other words, it wasn't love at first try. I tried my best to keep my reservations from Laurent so I wouldn't influence his learning. My children tend to have a much more open mind about things than I do. I was confused by some things (this happens to me easily with computer software) and frustrated by others. This is where I talked to the company rep and had my concerns addressed.
I didn't have space or time to share all this in my review, I was trying to keep it succinct. But I did want to share this in case you trial the program and feel disappointed. I can't guarantee your happiness or success with this program. I just know that I didn't feel totally comfortable with it until after we had used it for over one month.
Now, the Reading Horizons online program is simply a regular part of our day and we've learned to laugh through the parts that we find tedious (tickling helps), to ask the company for help or clarification if something isn't working for us, and to keep an open mind. This last one is a big point for me. We like this program and we hope it helps some other struggling readers.
I worry sometimes that when I share a resource we are using, people will jump to try that thing without carefully considering their unique child and family. This concerns me more now that I'm coaching and as my blog is more widely read and people look to me for homeschool advice and wisdom. Gulp.
I take this responsibility very seriously. And I firmly believe that each family needs to find their own homeschooling path and that what works for one family or one child will not work for everyone. Obvious yes, but I need to state it, like a medical disclaimer.
I am especially concerned that in our society's rush to push children to read, people will read my blog and say, "our 4 year old needs to start this reading program." Nothing could be further from my actual intention.
I recently read an excellent article on reading readiness by Laura Grace Weldon. I also highly recommend her book Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything. Highly recommend. I've wanted to mention it on the blog for some time, maybe even a write a review. If that review never comes, I've at least mentioned it now.
I came across the reading readiness article through Simple Homeschool and I'm so glad I did. (Jamie posts great weekend links.)
If you are tempted to sit your young child down in front of a computer to learn to read, or are stressed that your young child is not reading yet or some variation of "my child hasn't met this benchmark yet", I encourage you to read that post.
Reading is absolutely important, so is writing, math, science, etc. But that does not mean that come September 4th (the first Tuesday after labor day) you have sit your young child down and start teaching them to read. I'm not saying you never sit your child down and help them learn to read. What I am saying is that you don't need to panic about it.
Your child is wired for learning at certain ages and stages. Not all one year old babies walk, not all seven year old children read.
If (and this is a big if) problems develop as your child naturally grows and matures (like wanting desperately to read but struggling very much to do so) you can bring in the resources you need.
The key here is knowing your child. I can't overemphasize this enough. What does it matter what everyone else is doing?
Where is your child at? What are her needs right now, in this season of life? If you develop relationship with your child above all else (ie: good relationship matters more than your child "succeeding academically") you will be in tune enough to pull in resources when needed or pull them out when they aren't working.
I can't say I'm always perfectly in tune but I do respond when things aren't working - and your kids will let you know when things aren't working! Tears, frustration, sullenness, restlessness, behavior issues - they'll tell you.
As we make our plans for this upcoming school year let's keep an open mind to where our children are at.
Brienne's carob milkshakes for snack
Starting a new routine feels bumpy and there might be resistance - my children grumble a bit when our days get a bit more structured. Whether that's taking responsibility for lunch dishes or starting math practice again. Once you get through the normal amount of that, be watching to see if your plans are actually a good fit for your family and your child. Your kids will let you know.