Welcome to The Contemporary Homeschooler

FeaturedWelcome to The Contemporary Homeschooler

Welcome to The Contemporary Homeschooler! Academic excellence, lots of experiential learning and high-quality books are hallmarks of our household. With a good structure in place, homeschoolers are able to complete their academic work in around half the time of a typical conventional school day. We like to use that extra time to engage with the world and follow our passions.  I don’t box our family into following a particular homeschool philosophy. Rather, I  see myself as an entrepreneur for my family: nimble and adaptive to our needs and learning opportunities.

I  see myself as an entrepreneur for my family: nimble and adaptive to our needs and learning opportunities.

As a homeschool family, you have the freedom to put your children on the cutting edge of education. You can customize and personalize their academics. There is a huge selection of curriculum, both web-based and paper-based, available to homeschool families. You can incorporate abundant experiential learning opportunities into your schedule. I will not squander my time away with my kids as a slave to excessive busy work or  dawdle around the house all day. We finish our work and get out into the world. Now, more than ever, there are wonderful opportunities for homeschoolers! Carpe diem!!!!

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How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

Did you know you can give your kids an exceptional and customized education for less than $400/year?

Homeschooling is the epitome of personalized education tailored to your individual child. You don’t have to be wealthy to provide a cutting-edge education for your kids. Many families of modest means around the country and even the world are part of this exciting movement!

As parents, we know our kids better than anyone and also have the greatest vested interest in seeking out the best curriculum and programs for them. In addition to individualized one-on-one teaching, we are fortunate to live in a time when some of the best teachers in the world are offering content online for free.

Homeschool families also recognize the value of libraries. The famous line from Good Will Hunting is not lost on homeschool families:

“You blew $150k on an education you could have gotten in $1.50 in late fees from the library.” — Good Will Hunting

Here is a typical homeschool curriculum for a 4th/5th grader. The cost is around $250/year and would be about the same for most elementary-aged children. Furthermore, many of the purchases can be used again for siblings. Even if you hire a private tutor or outsource a subject to a group instructor, the cost is still significantly less than paying for private school.

I try to buy used curriculum on Amazon when possible. Additionally, Rainbow Resource usually has the cheapest prices for new items.

Experiential learning is one of the most meaningful and memorable ways to learn. We go on a field trip just about every week as well as engage in extremely hands-on learning activities with our weekly co-op. Homeschoolers should make the most of their homeschooling freedom and deliberately seek out experiential learning opportunities. Spending $250 for the year, you could engage in so many wonderful types of experiential learning and could even do it for a lot less. Nature is free. Many organizations and companies offer free field trips, tours and programs.

A big component of homeschooling is customizing to your child’s passions and interests. Sports, music, technology, and music are a few examples of a program each family can uniquely design for their own children.  You will want to factor those costs into your child’s educational plan.

With some research and effort, you can provide your child a cutting-edge, customized education! The homeschool community is extremely generous in sharing information and support. Join our movement. We want you to succeed and are here to help you!

Would you like to share some tips about homeschooling on a budget? How much do you spend homeschooling your kids?

You may also like:

If You are New to Homeschooling or Thinking About It….

Give Your Kids a World-Class Math Education for Free

Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books

Need Some K-6 Math Inspiration?

Top Read-Aloud Picks for Your Family

Open Letter to U.S. Education Secretary King Who Says Homeschoolers Would Be Better Off in Public Schools

Free and Fun Spelling Website

You can sign up to follow The Contemporary Homeschooler via email by clicking on the Follow button. Also, join our community on Facebook.

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Note: If you decide to make a purchase through my blog link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it.  This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. So, thank you!

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Fun Ways to Teach Writing Without Buying a Curriculum

Fun Ways to Teach Writing Without Buying a Curriculum

There are many so many wonderful ways to teach and foster a love for writing without purchasing curriculum. I have taught writing classes at our homeschool co-op and created writing curriculum. Here are some ideas for your home or co-op: 

Many students feel it is more meaningful to write when they are writing for more than just their parents or teacher. You may consider a blog for your student or a shared, private site with a group of friends like MeWe.

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  • Blogging–Your kids can write their own blog. Each student is an expert on something. This is an excellent outlet for them to write about what they love and share about all their wonderful homeschool experiences.  Here are my son’s and daughter’s blogs. In The School Revolution, Dr. Ron Paul writes:

“If a student develops a blog with hundreds of pages of essays, plus links to videos, he will have a tremendous asset when it comes to looking for a job. How many job applicants have this kind of publicly available evidence of their competence?An employer will know that the student is capable in two crucial areas: written communication and verbal communication…The student will go to the top of the pile of job applicants.”–Dr. Ron Paul

  •  NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program–I am going to teach this at co-op in the fallImage result for image student writing public domain to 4th-8th graders. It can also easily be done at home with just your children. “National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to draft an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!”  You are able to print out the teacher’s manual and student workbook for free! We will spend September and October using the curriculum to spark imagination with exercises to help create characters, build settings and hatch plots.
  • Wordsmithery–This is another free writing curriculum you can do with a co-op or at home with your kids. I taught a creative writing class several years ago to 2nd-6th graders and used much of this as the foundation. Image result for image student writing public domain
  • Writing Prompts–Writing prompts are an exciting way to motivate your kids. I have found they are even more eager to jump in when you tell them they only have 5 minutes to write.  Try setting a timer and see how much quicker they jump into the challenge.
    • We are fond of visual writing prompts. When using those, you may consider giving your kids 60 seconds to formulate a story in their head before the writing begins. I also suggest they write down 5 key words during their 60-second planning process.
    • Scholastic offers First Writing Prompts, a free online tool with over 200 days of starters. They correspond to the school year with prompts that reflect the holidays and seasons.
  • Reading Response Journals–After my kids complete their daily reading assignments, they write a paragraph about what they just read. It can be done in a notebook. However, my kids prefer to do it in Google Docs. They simply send me an electronic invitation, and I am able to view and comment. Every few days, I sit down with them to review what they wrote and help them to find any grammar errors in their writing. Over an extended period of time, this Google Docs file will showcase a vast array of books they have read. 1482532743
  • Books–I have found these books to be masterful with inspiring and fun writing activities: Games for Writing and Write Outside the Lines.
  • Here are some more fun ideas to get your child writing:
    • Movie reviews
    • Restuarant reviews
    • Field trips and vacation recaps
    • Wikipedia entries
    • Books reviews
    • Product reviews of their favorite toys/games
    • Create FAQs about something she is passionate about

I hope you feel inspired to create a writing program for your children that makes them love writing! Also, please share in the comments below some of your favorite ways to teach writing to your kids without purchasing a writing curriculum.

You may also be interested in:

My Favorite K-6 Math Curriculum and Supplements

Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

Give Your Kids a World-Class Math Education for Free

Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books

The State of California Pays Me to Customize My Kids’ Education

Free and Fun Spelling Website

Open Letter to U.S. Education Secretary King Who Says Homeschoolers Would Be Better Off in Public Schools

Join my Facebook page to receive every update and post from The Contemporary Homeschooler. I post many articles and thoughts to the Facebook page that are not on my blog.

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Note: If you decide to make a purchase through my blog link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it.  This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. So, thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

Let me just start with the fact that I don’t enjoy hot, crowded places or wasting time.  As a homeschooler, I am free to schedule our year in a way that is most desirable for our family without any concern for adhering to the traditional, nine-month school year.

Look at the beach images below. I have a strong preference for the experience on the left over the one on the right.  How about you?

 

 

 

All right, let’s move onto the reasons year-round schooling is a great way to make the most of your freedom and flexibility as a homeschooler.  Here are the top six reasons it works for our family.

  1. Experiential Learning–Instead of tying ourselves to workbooks and a curriculum every day, we like to be out in the world exploring. Knowing we have plenty of days throughout the year to complete our school work, it takes a lot of pressure off of me.  So many wonderful opportunities are open to homeschoolers from September through May that I don’t want to miss.
  2. Summer Slide–The “summer slide, which occurs when kids fall behind in reading and math over the summer, is well-documented” according to U.S. News and World Report.  Forbes asserts performance falls by approximately a month and is cumulative over successive summers. Additionally,  with respect to public school, they point out “reteaching forgotten material when students return to school after the summer costs more than $1,500 per student each year, or more than $18,000 over the course of a K-12 career.”  I don’t like to waste time or money.  By keeping skills fresh throughout the summer, we actually have more time for things we love to do. We don’t have to do buckets of work over the summer to retain skills. Just a little bit of academic work steadily spread throughout the summer can make a big difference.
  3. Summer HeatI don’t enjoy being out in the blazing heat. Rather, I have a strong preference for the more moderate temperatures when most kids are back in school. In fact, on days that are real scorchers, I’d much rather be inside our air-conditioned home doing academics.  I’m grateful I don’t have to cram in all our fun during the 3 months of summer.
    heitsler park with grands
    We take off when Grandma and Granddad come to visit from Louisiana!

     

  4. Crowds–As homeschoolers know, our favorite places are packed during the summer. It is quite a nuisance to many of us. Instead of fighting the parking and throngs of people, I prefer to make progress on our school work during the summer months so we can go back and enjoy those places when the crowds die down.
  5. Structure–My kids do great with a couple hours of structure in the morning.  I hear so many families talk about their kids fighting with one another or complaining they are bored.  This is something we have never really experienced much as a family. I think the combination of structured and unstructured time is helpful.
  6. Vacations--We often take our family vacations in early September. The masses are back in school and work. This means fewer crowds and much cheaper prices. I don’t need to stress out about taking off a week or two from academics since we were diligent over the summer. 

While we don’t do a full load over the summer, we continue to plow through on and off June through August. Sometimes we take off a full day to go have fun. Additionally, we’ll nix school for a week or two for camps, vacations, visitors, etc.

For the days we do school, math is non-negotiable. My kids love to read, so I don’t need to assign that. We alternate between other subjects like grammar, spelling, and writing. A natural and enjoyable part of our lives is the reading, discussing, and experiencing of science and history together. This is a year-round pleasure and does not feel like school work.

It takes discipline to school during the summer.

It takes discipline to school during the summer. Knowing that so many people are off relaxing and playing all day makes it tempting to slack to off.  However, I know well the reasons we make this choice. We push through, and it pays off.

Do you school year-round? How does it look in your family?

You may also like:

If You are New to Homeschooling or Thinking About It….

The State of California Pays Me to Customize My Kids’ Education

Homeschooled Teddy Roosevelt Never Sat in a Classroom Until Harvard

Need Some K-6 Math Inspiration?

Top Read-Aloud Picks for Your Family

Homeschoolers Make High Profile Entries into Top Universities

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If You are New to Homeschooling or Thinking About It….

If You are New to Homeschooling or Thinking About It….

For those of you thinking about or new to homeschooling, I know it can be overwhelming. With a huge smorgasbord of curriculum and activities to choose from and all the information about homeschool philosophies, there is so much to consider. This is a good problem to have.  In this post, I’m going to let you in on some things that I wish I had known when I started homeschooling .

person thinking 2Many of you are spending countless hours researching different homeschooling philosophies and think you have to settle on one. I want to tell you to relax. You will probably start with one and then morph into something else. While there are some purists to a single philosophy such as Classical and Charlotte Mason, I know very few. Most people pick and choose what works best for them. For instance, I like many aspects of Charlotte Mason but not all. One example is that my kids hated copywork. So, we let that go a long time ago.  In fact, we are a hodge-podge of many different philosophies from the homeschooling world.  There are things we like and don’t like from each one. That is okay. You don’t have to follow a philosophy 100%.  Additionally, I mix it up further by adding in ideas from business and technology leaders.

Also, I know many of us have researched curriculum for hours and hours –particularly math curriculum. I wanted to let you know there is a good possibility you are going to change your math curriculum after a few months or a couple of years. Just pick something that seems like a good fit and get started. You are not locked into it. If your child absolutely hates it and is crying all the time, then it is time to change it up. You can either pick a new math program or simply let them do every other problem if it is super repetitive.

You have probably heard it said that you do not need to recreate public school at home. It takes many families 1-2 years to figure this out. Because so many of us were raised in a conventional classroom, it is surprising when we see how quickly are kids are able to complete their work.  You may look at public school state standards and think you aren’t doing enough. I can assure you that many of those standards are taught at a very surface level.  Another important point is you have the benefit and flexibility to make the world your classroom. Learning is not contained within the walls of a classroom. In my opinion, the most memorable and joyful learning takes place exploring out in the world.

Questions, Demand, Doubts, PsychologyHomeschooling is a joyful and sometimes challenging journey. The beauty is you are at the steering wheel. You are the entrepreneur in charge of your family’s upbringing and education. During this journey, you can be agile and change to what best suits your family. You are not locked into any philosophy or curriculum. You do not require the approval of a teacher, principal or school bureaucracy to adapt to the needs of your family. Please make the most of your homeschooling freedom by changing things up as needed.

I’m glad to have you here on my blog. I also have a Facebook page where I frequently share articles and ideas to help you on your journey. Please join us and feel free to chime in with your questions and thoughts.

You may also like:

Top Read-Aloud Picks for Your Family

Infuse Joy Into Your Homeschool

The State of California Pays Me to Customize My Kids’ Education

How to Build Your Homeschool Tribe

Need Some K-6 Math Inspiration?

Join my Facebook page to receive every update and post from The Contemporary Homeschooler. I post many articles and thoughts to the Facebook page that are not on my blog.

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Is it Time to Shake Up Your Homeschool?

Is it Time to Shake Up Your Homeschool?

Do you feel excitement, gratitude, and happiness for your family’s homeschool life? Or do you feel like something may be missing and would like a change?

I want to share with you some steps you can take to infuse joy into your homeschool.

  • Change Your Homeschool Each Year–Homeschool feels more like an adventure when we change it up each year.  It keeps learning fresh and exciting. A couple of years ago, we went to an enlightening class at Disneyland each Tuesday with our friends. Our minds were expanded to the tremendous value of learning in non-conventional ways.

    Now our core group of friends schedules our activities together for the entire school year. This past school year, we adventured on field trips together each Tuesday, did co-op on Wednesdays, and sailed each Friday. In the fall, we’ll do beach volleyball and marine biology together on Tuesdays,  co-op on Wednesdays and Family Nature School on Thursdays. It is fun to change things up each year.

     

     

  • Get Out of Your House–Are you making the most of your flexibility and freedom in homeschooling by playing and learning out in the world? My whole family is so much happier when we have someplace interesting to go. The kids are far more motivated to finish their school work so we can have fun. As aforementioned, we go on a field trip each Tuesday with our friends. It is as much fun for the parents to learn as the kids. We all also look forward to hikes, beach days, park days, and other events with friends. While the kids play, us moms have a great time talking to one another.
  • Evaluate Academics–Which academic work adds value and which does not? What can be trimmed so you can spend more time with meaningful, hands-on learning in the world or just plain fun with family and friends? Here are some questions to ask:
    • For tedious math programs with lots of repetition, can your child do every other problem instead of every single one?
    • Does every subject need to be done daily? For instance, can you alternate Spanish and geography every other day? Can anything be combined? Are there some subjects you can learn organically without a formal curriculum?map-pics-002 I spend a great deal of time reading to my kids at the kitchen table. We keep dry erase maps on the wall (a friend keeps her maps under plexiglass on the kitchen table). As we go on our literary adventures, we cover all sorts of geography. There is no need for a separate geography curriculum with the organic way we learn.
    • Is the computer-based learning program you are using effective?  Make sure you have selected a solid program if they are spending time on that. I have found many of them to be a waste of time with a lot of fluff or not synced up to the child’s level.  If it is not a good use of time, consider cutting it and engage in hands-on learning instead.
    • Is any part of your child’s curriculum making them cry on a regular basis? In most cases, I’d say ditch that book. I know it is hard because you spent money on it. However, it is not creating a love of learning and may be damaging your relationship. Research and find something else he enjoys more. Sometimes there is an undiagnosed learning disability.
    • What can be done in the car en route to field trips and other activities? My kids read a lot in the car. Some kids do their math and others listen to audio 1933339128books while riding.  This is a wonderful time to listen to Story of the World history CD’s.  Evaluate about some ways you can restructure your schedule so you can get our earlier in the day enjoying the world.
    • When you consider what type of learning is most memorable, it is not sitting at the kitchen table or desk doing workbooks.  It is hands-on learning out in the world. It is creating and collaborating. It is hearing from people who are passionate about something share their knowledge with you. Yes, there is great value in spending time in academics. However, what can be cut from your child’s workload for other types of more memorable learning?
  • Be Deliberate About Building Your Homeschool Tribe–During my first year of homeschooling, we were meeting with three different, unrelated groups each week. I realized we weren’t going to have deep relationships if we continued on that path. I asked my kids which group they preferred, and they unanimously said our co-op. So, we began focusing on joining and creating activities with that group. Now, we have the most amazing group of friends. We are out together learning in such incredible ways and from fascinating people out in the world. Check out the blog post I wrote on the topic of building your core group of homeschool friends.
  • Co-op–Joining a co-op was one of the most important things we have done. We were fortunate to have an established co-op in our area with lovely families who share our interests and values. We meet them each Wednesday for a fun-filled day of learning. My kids take classes like art and science because I don’t enjoy doing art projects and science experiments at my house. I’ve taught multiple writing and also Lego classes. It is a joyful day because we all share our talents and passions to create wonderful classes for our kids.  The friends we have made at co-op are the same ones we do life with throughout the week.

    If you don’t have a co-op in your area, then you can get with a few friends and start one. If you don’t know many homeschool families, is there a Facebook page with homeschoolers in your area? You could share your idea of starting a co-op and see who else may be interested.

     

  • Year-Round School–We school year-round, and here are some reasons why:
    • We don’t have to spend several weeks each September relearning what we already learned. In my view, that is a waste of time, and I’d rather use that time doing other things.  We use a lighter schedule during the summer and primarily keep up with math, reading, and writing.
    • Frankly, I don’t enjoy being out as much during the summer when places are hot and crowded. During the school year, the weather is nicer, parking is abundant and our favorite places often empty.
    • My kids still keep some type of structure for those relaxed summer days. I hear some parents talk about their kids’ bickering during the summer. We don’t see that too much at our house.
    • We still take off certain weeks of summer for camps, vacations, etc.
    • Year-round schooling takes pressure off of me during the school year to really enjoy all the opportunities available to us year-round. Image result for let this messy house image
  • Relax Your Housecleaning Standards–Are you meticulous with your house? Do you spend a lot of time tidying and cleaning? Do you jump on your kids often when the house is not looking up to your high standard? In my opinion, you can relax. I don’t think too many people will look back on the years with their kids and be glad they spent so much time cleaning and being uptight with them. Rather, they will look back at their laughter and memories. I say a messy house is a sign of living life to the fullest.

You know the saying: “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  I have found that most of us homeschool mamas are much happier when we are outside of our house learning together in the world with our kids and friends. It makes us such a joyful, adventurous, and grateful group of families.

How do you add joy to your homeschool? Please let us know in the comments below.

You may also be interested in:

Give Your Kids a World-Class Math Education for Free

Homeschooled Teddy Roosevelt Never Sat in a Classroom Until Harvard

Benefits of Experiential Learning

Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books

The State of California Pays Me to Customize My Kids’ Education

Open Letter to U.S. Education Secretary King Who Says Homeschoolers Would Be Better Off in Public Schools

Homeschoolers Make High Profile Entries into Top Universities

Homeschooling is the Smartest Way to Teach Kids in the 21st Century According to Business Insider

Join my Facebook page to receive every update and post from The Contemporary Homeschooler. I post many articles and thoughts to the Facebook page that are not on my blog.

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Note: If you decide to make a purchase through my blog link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it.  This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. So, thank you!

 

 

 

 

Give Your Kids a World-Class Math Education for Free

Give Your Kids a World-Class Math Education for Free

Did you know you can give your kids a world-class math education without purchasing any curriculum? With the abundance of outstanding teachers and materials on the internet making their content free, you do not need to spend a dime.  Here is a list of some of my favorite free math programs:

  • Bedtime Math–Bedtime Math is a great way to bring math to life.  The stories are current, entertaining and appropriate for all ages to enjoy. It is fun to do with your whole family or even friends. Their mission is to help kids love numbers so they can handle the math in real life. One of the outcomes I like is the revelation that people can correctly solve the same math problem in different ways. When we look at the math puzzle of the day, we often see each kid coming up with the same answer but solving it differently.  You can sign up to receive the daily math challenge delivered to your email. Image result for free math images
  • Khan Academy–With math exercises stretching from basic arithmetic through advanced calculus and a focus on personalized learning, Khan Academy is a valuable resource. Some homeschool families use it as their sole or primary math curriculum.
  • Big Brainz–BigBrainz is the most fun way I found for my kids to practice their math facts. By math facts, I am referring to the memorization of the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables. My kids are always excited to play it and does not feel like work but a video game. The beauty is that is a solid math facts program. Enjoy! Image result for free math images
  • XtraMath–This is another popular math website to help kids master addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. “Recalling math facts easily and quickly frees up mental resources for more complex problem solving.”  While not as enjoyable as BigBrainz, it is an another way to reinforce  knowledge. It takes only a few minutes each day and you, the parent, will receive progress reports in email and can access more detailed reports online.  We restart the cycle through XtraMath about every 3 months to ensure the kids are totally fluent with math facts. They get faster each cycle.  Now, my 9-year old daughter can achieve mastery in all four operations in about 2 weeks. If your kid is really struggling, then I suggest you modify his program giving him more time for each problem.  Image result for free math images
  • Prodigy–Prodigy Math is like a video game with a math curriculum built into it. It is adaptive to where your kids are, and you can even set up math assessments. My kids are always eager to play Prodigy. All math content and reporting access is free. Prodigy makes money if you choose to upgrade for extra game content like a character’s new hairstyle.
  • Printable Math Fact Triangle Worksheets–Fact families are sets of three numbers Image result for free image math fact trianglethat are related. For instance, multiplication and division triangles help develop the understanding of the relationship between multiplication and division. You can also use fact family triangles for addition and subtraction. This YouTube clip talks about fact triangles.
  • Living Books–The Sir Cumference series, The Number Devil, and The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Product DetailsAdventures have been among our favorites.  Of course, my kids also love The Life of Fred series. Living math books are a FUN and memorable way to teach and reinforce math skills. You may be able to find some or  all of these at your library.

 

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Note: If you decide to make a purchase through my blog link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it.  This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. So, thank you!

Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books

Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books

Do you want to teach your child to read? Whether you have a pre-schooler ready to learn or a struggling kindergartener or first grader, you will find some helpful ideas in this post.

I  taught each of my kids to read. Being part of this process has been one of my greatest joys as a mother. I want to share with you what worked for our family in developing advanced readers who love books!

Spending just $13 on Amazon and using a library card, your child can become a book-devouring bibliophile! 

I taught my oldest to read before he entered public kindergarten. His early reading ability propelled us into homeschooling. While in kindergarten, he was reading at a 5th-grade level and had already read five Harry Potter novels while most of his classmates were learning very basic reading skills. The school did not offer adequate challenge so I pulled him out March of that year. I’m so grateful we made the decision to homeschool.

Different kids are developmentally ready to learn to read at different ages. Some kids are ready to learn at 3-years old while others are not developmentally ready until several years later. One of my kids was ready to learn at the age of three, another at 4 and the other at 5 1/2. In education superpower, Finland, kids don’t begin formal schooling until the age of 7.

  1. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons–This book was the best $13 I have ever spent on my children’s education. Additionally, I feel so strongly about its effectiveness that it is the only Amazon review I have ever written. The publisher says: “Is your child halfway through first grade and still unable to read? Is your preschooler bored with coloring and ready for reading?” 0671631985
    • It is entirely scripted and requires no prep on your part.
    • When your child finishes, s/he will be reading on a 1st-2nd-grade level.
    • You may consider using an incentive like a chocolate chip for each lesson completed or a prize after every 25 lessons.
    • After completing this book, we never did another phonics lesson again but went straight to reading books. We also never studied sight words.
    • Anyone I know who has stuck with this book has a very advanced reader who also loves books.
    • I feel so strongly about this effectiveness of this book. My recommendation is to start with this book and see if it is a good fit. If not, try another method. Several more are outlined below.
  2. Explode the Code–While Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons was the most 0838814603brilliant book for my older 2 kids, it was not a good fit for my youngest. Additionally, she was not developmentally ready to start learning to read until age 5. One of the beauties of homeschooling is one size does not fit all, and we can customize to each child.  Explode the Code was a better fit for her. The phonics-based workbooks offer a lot of practice and a nice variety of exercises.
    • No prep required on your part.
    • An online version is available. It has received mixed reviews. I liked the workbooks.
  3. BOB Books–These book box sets for are helpful for early and emergent readers. Each 0439845009book is small so builds confidence. “With little books, come big success.” I used these as a supplement for my youngest with Explode the Code. Some families use BOB Books as a stand-alone reading curriculum.
    • No prep required on your part.
    • Even as a beginner reader, kids are made to feel they CAN read a book.
  4. Dr. Seuss Beginner Books–We love these books! They are so whimsical and fun to 0394800257read. The illustrations are engaging. These are absolutely perfect after you complete Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons or made progress with Explode the Code or Bob Books. There are so many wonderful titles in this series of Beginner Books. We enjoy them all! Some of our favorites include Robert the Rose Horse,  Wacky WednesdayGo, Dog Go, and Put Me in the Zoo.
  5. Sound Box Books–This is another effective and enjoyable series at about the same reading level as Dr. Seuss Beginner Books.  Dr. Seuss Beginner Books and Sound Box Books are wonderful examples of early reader books, and your library may carry them or other series you find useful. I listed these two because I have found them to be the best.
  6. Read Aloud–One hallmark of our family is the precious time we spend together as I 014312160Xread aloud to my kids. For several years, I have been reading to them while they have their meals and snacks (except when Daddy or guests join us). Jim Trelease wrote a wonderful book about the many benefits of reading aloud.  I believe the investment of time I have spent in reading aloud high-quality books on a wide variety of topics has been one of the most important parts of my children’s education and our family bonding. Here is a list of some of our most beloved read-aloud books.
  7. Book strewing–Strew appealing books throughout your house making it easy for your kids to pick them up and peruse or read them!
  8. Frequent Library Visits–We typically visit 2-3 different libraries per week. Each kid
    books-011
    My van full of library books after a visit to the library.

    has his own sturdy bag to fill up. When they were younger, we brought in a beach cart and filled it up.  We get almost all of our books at the library. We are such ravenous readers that it is impractical to purchase books. We do not have enough space in our house to retain them all.

  9. Online Learning–While online programs like Reading Eggs and ABC Mouse are popular with many families, I never felt them nearly as effective as sitting down one-on-one using the methods described above. I am not opposed to web-based learning. I tried both of these web-based reading programs and did not find them very beneficial. Reading Bear is a free, phonics-based program you may want to check out.
  10. Read, read, read!–The best way to foster a love for reading and develop a competent reader is to read, read, read! Read aloud to your kids. Have them read to you often during the early years. Create opportunities for them to read quietly. Ensure you have an enticing selection of books. Discuss your books.

Continue reading “Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books”