Monday, August 15, 2011

Teaching Your Child to Read

One of the main challenges of preschool is developing pre-reading skills so that when the time comes, children can succeed at reading. What are pre-reading skills? Letter recognition can be accomplished by seeing, hearing, and beginning writing of the alphabet. How about “A is for apple, B is for bear, C is for….?” Talking to your child about everyday objects and what letter they begin with is an easy way to work on letter recognition.

Reading to your child will also help them understand that text is read from left to right, and books are full of pages that need to be turned, etc. Phonemic awareness is another important skill, which just means learning which letters make which sounds. Learning about words that rhyme is also a great idea and helps kids understand letters and their sounds. Nursery rhymes and silly children’s songs are great!

When your child gets a little older, you can begin teaching phonics. There are many phonics programs on the market, or you can design your own. The idea is to make the it automatic in a child’s brain to see or hear a certain sound or letter and be able to piece those bits together into a word. In other words, teaching phonics teaches decoding skills. Suddenly, that jumble of letters on the page makes sense to a child, and then the world of books opens to them!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Homeschooling Year-Round

The first several weeks of public school each fall are spent reviewing the previous year’s material, and this trend is evident in some homeschooling curricula as well. So while some school districts have gone to year-round schooling just to help eliminate the expense of empty buildings and downtime in the summer, you have to wonder if maybe some of them figured out it was more efficient for the kids too! Kids learn better in a continuous fashion, not with starts and stops in their education.

Homeschoolers have wonderful flexibility in their schedules. Sometimes it may be necessary to take some time off due to family issues, or travel, or maybe just whenever that burned out feeling sets in and everyone needs a break. It’s much easier to take some occasional time off when you’re not worried about falling too far behind, and if you’re homeschooling year-round, you have plenty of buffer time to allow for breaks.

Of course, some of those breaks ought to be in the summer so your kids can still enjoy the typical summertime activities like swimming, setting up a lemonade stand, and of course, family vacations. Homeschooling year-round is a low-stress way to make sure you can accomplish a year’s worth of schoolwork and still have plenty of time off when your family needs it.