Monday, May 23, 2011

Following My Instincts

I'm starting to get into a groove with our new "learning adventure".  Although I may need to come up with a term other than homeschooling.  Every time I say that, my mind instantly thinks of kids in matching denim jumpers...old stereotyping still stuck in my head I guess, I've never known any denim wearing homeschoolers.

I've actually strayed quite a bit from the pre-planned curriculum I purchased.  Instead, I've been leaning towards following my instincts and Hayden's curiosity.  The curriculum's method of teaching language relied heavily on a writing component.  Lots of letter practice - which Hayden is not a fan of.  It was frustrating Hayden and he was getting moody every time we worked on it!  Boys often develop fine motor skills later and can have difficulty with writing this young.  Hayden seems no exception.  And, lucky me, my mom just told me today that I had a hard time with writing as well.  In fact, I now vaguely remember tons of cursive practice in my elementary school days and my teacher often telling me that my letters were "leaning" the wrong way, HA!  I guess he comes by it rightly.

So I backed off for a few weeks and let him lead.  After a couple weeks, I started hearing his interest move back towards letters - "Cat starts with C", "Dog starts with D", "Thomas starts with T" and the one he announced one night during dinner (while we had a guest) - "Poop starts with P".  Our days were suddenly filled with the "starts with" talk.  Yes!  Someone is ready for reading I think.

But, I did not pull out our old materials from the curriculum.  I already knew he hated those and I didn't want to squash his new love of letters.  He was obviously starting to learn about phonics and I wanted to continue with that.  I searched out simple reader books that could take the knowledge he had and translate that into reading.  I found the Bob Books.  These books are wonderful!  They start off using four letters and compose an entire story from words made from those four letters.  Each book builds on the last, continually adding new sounds/letters.  They also incorporate one sight word in each book (book 1 used "on", book 2 "and" etc).

After two sittings, Hayden was reading book 1.  Hayden read book 2 on the first try with only a couple helps from me!  Hayden is starting to read.  I can hardly believe it.  And he did it at his own pace.  Without tears or frustration.  I am certainly learning a lot already about how Hayden learns best and how I can facilitate that learning.  Teaching him to read was certainly one of my more formidable tasks that often left me up at night wondering if I'd be able to do it.  Reading is a huge love of mine and I wanted to pass that on to my children.  Hopefully, this is just the beginning of his reading adventure!

Oh and I had to laugh today when I brought out some erasable letter practice cards with markers and Hayden sat down on his own and wrote out all his letters with absolutely no fuss.  Maybe he'll even learn to write too. ;)


Michelle B said...

I'm pretty sure I was the guest who heard that Poop starts with P. :) That kid cracks me up! Glad to hear he is beginning to read! Go Hayden!

AMH said...

Have you seen that show called Word World? You can Netflix it. I know how you sometimes pair movies, etc with your topic so I thought you might be interested in it. Might be something fun to watch if you needed something to lfill 30 minutes -- and it is all about words and building words, sounding them out. I think it is really cute -- Julia likes watching it sometimes but of course she has no idea about the words -- ha ha!

Just Me said...

@Michelle - yes, you were the one who got that lovely word education at dinner. HA!

@AMH - We are avid PBS watchers and LOVE Word World - it's one of my boys favorites!