Tag Archives: Reading

Reading with Jenny

I just read THIS post from September.  I said I would update the blog on our progress, but I get the feeling that I haven’t said much about how homeschooling is going.

Our first few months were rough and actual teaching times were few and far between.  And then I bought a book: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann.  (You can buy it here in the US and here in Canada.  I bought mine on eBay and waited a LONG time for it, too.)

This book is amazing.  See how that word is both bold and in italics?  Yes, it’s that incredible.  It teaches phonetically, so instead of teaching Jenny that A is the letter A/a and makes the sound “ay” or “ah” or “aa” and then carrying on through the alphabet that way, it taught her the sound “mmm” and “sss” on the first day. 

We are now on lesson 25 (we started over a month ago but missed quite a few days while I was sick and during the holidays) and she’s doing great.  She now knows the sounds mmm, sss, aaa (as in apple), e (eat), t, rrr, d, iii (if), th (this), c (tack), ooo (ox), and nnn.  Today her “story” was, “A rat is in a sack. That rat is not sad.”  She sounds out old and new sounds and words and then reads the story by sounding out each word.  She needs help at times, but her progress is incredible, considering that in November, we were still floundering with trying to teach letter names and not getting past C.

We work every day of the week, even Sundays, because I’m trying hard to keep up her momentum.  If each lesson took an hour, we certainly wouldn’t be working on the weekends, but as it is, each lesson takes between ten and twenty minutes per day.  So when they say “easy” lessons in the title, they mean it.  At the end of the book, the child is expected to be reading at a second grade reading level.  I wasn’t sure if I believed that it could work so well, but I’m a believer now.  If you need a better system for teaching your bright preschooler or homeschooled older child to read, check out this book – it works!!

As for other subjects, we’ve worked a bit on numbers and she’s getting quite good at basic addition from one to ten, but she still has trouble counting beyond thirteen.  I expect it will just take a few days of consistent work with her to get her counting higher, but for now I’ve been focusing almost entirely on reading. If I give her a pile of small objects to work with, she can do basic addition and subtraction quite easily, but then she is counting most of the time. 

My goal at this point for the end of the year is to have her counting on her own to one hundred (because I know she can do it), doing easy math problems up to twenty and have her reading.  If we stay on track with the reading, she’ll be done with the book in about two and a half months (probably more like three since we’re taking a vacation in February).  I can’t wait to be able to take her to the library, get her a library card (something she doesn’t have yet) and help her check out books.  I look forward to a good deal of the school day being reading time for her.  She has a very active imagination and loves telling stories, so I’m quite sure she’ll be an avid reader once she has the ability.

I still feel like I’m faking the whole homeschool thing, but whenever I start to feel guilty, I remind myself how happy I am to have Jenny at home and that she is, after all, only in kindergarten this year.  Next year we will have to have a better schedule for school as Elias will start kindergarten and Jenny will need a bit more structure.  Anyway, I’ll tackle that when I come to it.  For now, I’m happy with what we’re doing and the great success of this wonderful book.

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Where on Earth have you been?!?

Or rather, where have I been?  I know, for awhile there it looked like I’d be writing nearly every day, and then I just quit.  I’m pretty sure something was going on when I first stopped writing, but then I just started reading so much, I didn’t feel like writing.  I made my way through about five novelsand I’m almost at the end of the sixth with one more in the queue.  I also cut my hair and pierced my nose since my last post.  I don’t even think I mentioned planning to do those things.  The nose is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and the real reason I decided to cut my hair is that it was worth fifteen points in the photo scavenger hunt I’m doing for the city.  But since I pierced my nose on a Saturday and cut my hair on the following Tuesday, I’ve made a few people think that I’m having something akin to a mid-life crisis.  The haircut is pretty extreme for me…even though it isn’t very extreme at all.  It’s just pretty short in a few places and somewhat trendy.  Yeah, I know.  I usually just hate trendy things, but I’m very happy with the outcome.  As for my nose, it hurt like crazy but I love it and even Mike is getting used to it.  He had about a year and a half to think on it…seeing that I decided then that I really wanted to do it.  It just took me this long to actually get it done.  The funny thing is that typically all this new-ness would have cost me a pretty penny, but I had a coupon for a free body piercing (I know..funny, isn’t it) and it only cost me $2.50 for the tax or something.  Then I called around and found a salon in town that has an apprentice who is FREE!  Hooray!  My sister-in-law actually got her hair cut for free the hour before I did and both of our cuts turned out pretty nice. 

Anyway, before I start to gross myself out with all this self-glorifying writing (that’s what it feels like anyway), I will say that all the reading has definitely affected my house negatively.  I did finally sweep up on Monday night and put a bunch of things away, but the kids’ room, our room and the kitchen have been in need of work for months without being touched.  I almost feel inspired today, but the temperature is rising fast inside and out and I may wimp out in favour of laying in bed in front of the fan when I have some time.  It seems like the only time that the house is cool enough to work in is the middle of the night, and there’s no way I’m going to clean in the middle of the night.  So for now I’m going to do what I can and wait for cooler weather.

Our trip south is rapidly approaching – in about two weeks, we should be in Washington and then in Oregon on the 23rd for my sister’s wedding.  At the moment, I’m just waiting for Mike to talk to his boss about taking two extra days than what he asked for.  Here’s hoping…

So, no promises, but I’m thinking about slowing down on the reading after I finish the next book, which would probably mean more writing.  But you never know, I may find something else to occupy my time.

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Filed under Home Sweet Home, Life, in general, The H Word