Phonemic Awareness for Pre Reading

reading strategiesLearning to read is by far one of the greatest accomplishments of a person’s life. Yet, so often we tend to take this amazing feat for granted. As a homeschool mother, with each of my children I seemingly sweat bullets every time it came to teach them how to read. I guess I realized all too well how vital this ability was to their future success in school. Consequently, on the flip side of that…. is the realization that when taught phonemic awareness on a regular basis the child will eventually read when they are ready. It took me just six kids to realize that one!

When I begin to teach a little one how to read I always start with the basics. Here is a simple timeline of my process for providing them with pre-reading skills.

1) Start with basic letter recognition

2) Build to letter sound recognition

3) Teach consonant and vowels

4) Build to consonant and vowel blends

5) Teach children how to make ABC order

6) Build to consonant blends

7) Teach children how to decode words ( short sound, long sound, special sounds)

8) Introduce short words

9) Build on that!

Our 10 Best Homeschool Posts of 2013

It is so hard to believe that it is already the middle of January! Time really flies! To summarize our year of homeschooling in 2013, I thought I would share our best posts! We’ve posted on everything from a weather lesson to High School homeschooling and everything in between! Since, it’s easy to move on and forget exactly what we covered over time I thought it would be nice to have a little reminder! If you have an all time favorite post – I would love for you to vote for it in the comments below!

1) Pain Free Math for Homeschool Highschoolers

2) Homeschooling the Big Family – Just a Few Tips

3) Getting Your Students Writing

4) Using Games to Motivate

5) Top 6 Ways to Organize Your Homeschool

6) Learning History with Summer Exploration

7) Express Yourself

8) Writing for Early Learners

9) Making Independent Learners

10) Homeschool Sports and Special Needs

Keeping Them Going…

One of the most difficult things that I have found while homeschooling, is the ability to keep my kids on task when there is something else they are interested in. Right now, it’s the beautiful weather that I seem to battle every day. They all want to be out in the sunshine, enjoying free play. While in itself it really is a good thing, but when you have a good bit of work to accomplish to meet your goals, that good thing can turn into my arch nemesis. 🙂

Through much trial and error, I have found that if I give my children a variety of things to do within the parameters of schooling, they will be more apt to maintain interest throughout the day. During these beautiful temptingly sunshine-y days… I try to incorporate online activities like using an online vocabulary quiz instead of paper/pencil work, making a project that corresponds to what we are studying in science, using workbooks for a while, and then accessing some interesting online math games to round out the day. By using a variety of methods to complete what we need to accomplish in our educational goals the kids are not as easily bored with one thing.  It seems to be working right now, and hopefully will get us through to summer break!

Do you have a secret method for keeping your kids on task? Comment to share with us!

Early Learning Anxiety

I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked by a worried parent where their preschooler should be developmentally, and what they should be learning educationally! To be completely honest, this really bothers me… can I tell you why?
You see preschoolers are by nature – learners. That’s why they ask 100 questions all day long. They learn by doing, by playing, by asking. These little people have learned an amazing amount of stuff since the time that they entered this world. How did they do it? Did you sit them down and try to teach them the 1, 2, 3’s of walking? Of course not, they did it on their own – through experience. That is how they were created to learn. By playing, feeling, doing, seeing, asking, wiggling, they learn what they need to know about the world around them. Learning this way develops and encourages a love for learning, and these little ones see learning as fun!
If we approach early childhood learning in a formal way, they are forced to conform to something that they are not ready for. We all know these little guys are designed to move… can we make them sit still and learn their numbers/letters/writing etc. for hours on end? I guess we could, but it would have devastating effects on how they would view learning for the rest of their lives.
Yet, teaching these early learners through doing, feeling, and playing is another story. They can learn well, when they experience it. Let your little ones color, paint, play with play dough… because they are learning while they are doing this. They are learning how to hold a pencil and their fine motor skills are being tuned to be able to do a multitude of things that will prepare them for formal education in the days to come.
Don’t stress over where your preschooler is… let them learn the way they were made to learn!

Begninning Phonics

Preschoolers are a wonderful age… so busy, so carefree, and so smart! But teaching a preschooler takes an extra dose of energy and patience! Yet, I love those early days of pre-reading activities. I have two children in that phase right now, and their curiosity is amazing! They love to stumble through trying to sound out their little words. Phonics skills are so important for this very reason. Teaching a child letter sounds, and blends, gives the learner a solid foundation for “sounding out” larger and more complex words.

It is amazing how a child with a great phonetic foundation can assimilate the rules and phonetic guidelines that they have learned into more complex issues. Compound words are easily sounded out when the child has thoroughly learned all letter sounds and can capably blend these with both vowels and other consonants.

These little ones don’t have much of an attention span. This is where many educators and parents lose the child. Being patient and only requiring a preschoolers attention for small chunks of time  is the best way to get the most from them. Young children are capable of so much, it really is quite amazing. Yet, the key is to take it in little chunks and allow the child to learn in short phonics lessons. You’ll get the most out of your day with a preschooler if you keep lesson to short 15-20 minute sessions. Keep it short… and keep it fun!