Category Archives: Homeschool For Free

FREE Internet Based and Printable Curriculum Resources.

Free Pattern Block Resources

Pattern Blocks are lots of fun and can be used for exploring and developing multiple skills. They can be used foPattern Blocksr identifying shapes and colors, creating and identifying types of patterns, symmetry, fractions, and spatial awareness. These are great problem solving tools. I always introduce them during play before adding them to our learning time. The novelty never quite wears off, but it can simmer a bit so your child can focus on the page activities.  These pages are full of printable pattern blocks and templates. That’s right! You don’t even need to run out and buy the blocks. As long as you have access to a color printer you have everything you need. You can laminate these and use them over and over.

Pattern Blocks

Hiedi Songs has many free resources. You can find printable pattern blocks here. You can print them on cardstock and laminate them to make them last longer. Store them in plastic bags.

Pattern Block Templates

Over at Jessica’s Corner of Cyberspace, we see that Jessica has been busy creating pattern block templates. She has pages of them in color and in black and white. Your youngest child will enjoy matching the blocks using the colors on the page. Then the black and white can be used when learning to identify shapes.

Over at Making Learning Fun they have so many activities, I can’t believe I found these great pattern blocks cards for letters and shapes. They can begin working with letters and shapes as soon as they can match color and shape. Then you can pull these cards out again when you are working with your child on learning the names of letters and shapes.

Erica, over at Confessions of a Homeschooler, has some wonderful templates for letters and activity cards for working on patterns and shapes.

Geometry with Pattern Blocks

On this K-5 Math Resources site you will find some great geometry resources as well as a Pattern Block Game similar to Battleship. We love that game!

The Math Learning Center has so many great books to download, including this pattern block book, complete with lessons and printables for Grades K-2 and this one for Grades 3-5. Be patient when downloading. Some of the books are really large.

Using Pattern Blocks to Teaching Fractions

This education support center in Australia has some great math resources. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will find a syllabus of objectives in teaching fractions along with some helpful printables for each lesson.

Virginia also has an education support center with a searchable database, where I found some lessons on fractions using pattern blocks.

Pattern Block Interactives

Math Toybox

Math Playground

 

Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum For FREE
Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum For FREE

You can find more on my Facebook group, and learn how you can Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE.

 

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Aunt Charlotte’s Books For Young Ones and Little Folk

In 1823, Charlotte Mary Yonge was born at Otterbourne in Hampshire, England. Her charitable parents built the first Sunday School on the grounds of Otterbourne and gave her a religious education. She began to teach at the age of seven and continued in her parents footsteps in educating the poor. Her first writings were for Sunday School children. She continued her writing and teaching into adulthood; her writing  as prolific as it was loved. Still loved today, here are some of the works she wrote for children.

CharlotteGreek History

Greek History for Little Ones

American History

Bible History

English History

Evenings at Home with Poets

Young Folk’s History of Germany

Young Folk’s History of Rome

Landmarks of History: Ancient History

Landmarks of History: Modern History

 

Thanks go to Allison for gathering these books. My friend feeds my obsession with 19th and early 20th century books. You can find more on my Facebook group, and learn how you can Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE.

 

You can read more about Charlotte Mary Yonge here:

http://anglicanhistory.org/bios/cmyonge.html

http://www.yongeletters.com/biography

 

Lapbooking in a Spiral Bound Notebook

We are working on Bible History this year. I honestly don’t how long this will take us. I can see it taking 4 years. I don’t map things out well. I just decided it was important to do, so we started. Dad is reading during the evening Bible Study and I am reviewing the information during the day before the kids work in their notebook. We are using Aunt Charlotte’s Stories of Bible History  For the Little Ones primarily. We supplement from time to time when an event we would like to cover is missing.  Often we have used Answers in Genesis. Information for the Ice Age and Dinosaurs after the flood was easy to find in kid-friendly language. They have a great little search engine in the top, right-hand corner of the page. If you type in your topic along with the word “kids”, it  will bring up all of the articles from the kid’s site first.
My oldest two are also reading from The Story of the Bible From Genesis to Revelation told in Simple Language For the Young for their personal devotion. My youngest is reading these slideshows from the Garden of Praise.
100_1243 100_1244 100_1245 100_1246 100_1247 100_1248 100_1249 100_1250For the components of the notebook, I am using a combination of lapbook pages and notebooking pages from a couple of different sites. Each of my children are expected to write according to their skills. My oldest always has the most to say. She is hoping to give it to someone who needs to hear the Gospel. She is writing with a purpose. My middle child hasn’t liked to write in the past , but again he likes the topic and the project has also given him purpose he doesn’t find with other assignments. We discuss what questions to answer and he writes in his best hand, in his own words. My youngest is 5 and she answers some simple questions. I write the answer down on a sticky note and she copies them in her notebook.
Daily work in the notebooks include, copywork, lapbooks, notebook pages, and mini-books from the following sites.

Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool  has designed history units from Creation to Today. They are organized by time periods and include colorful lapbook pieces.

Notebooking Nook has ancient history notebooking pages and activities that coincide with The Mystery of History and some other packaged curriculum. I’m using some of the timeline for my guide and using some of the notebook pages.

Bible Story Printables has Bible timeline cards including blank cards to create your own. The site also has some colorful notebook pages, Bible crafts, storyboard printables, mini-books, copywork and more. So many resources there!

Sprouting Tadpoles is another site I use to help me guide me with a timeline. I also use some of the pictures from the timeline cards to help illustrate the lapbook covers.

We are doing all of this for free with exception of the spiral notebooks. The kids really love what they are creating.

Here are some other FREE Bible History Ebooks you might like to use for the daily readings. You’ll find some for younger children and some for more in depth world history study.

Young People’s Illustrated Bible History

Young Folk’s Bible History

Bible History

Parley’s Common School History Revised

Bible History for the Use of Children and Young Persons

The Children’s Bible Picture Book

Bible Stories for Little Children

Complete Bible History from the Creation of the World Down to the Death of the Apostles

Come visit my Facebook Group of FREE homeschooling resources and learn how to Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE.

Teaching Across the Curriculum with the Bobbsey Twins- A Unit Study

Reading

people-163906_64010 Free Bobbsey Twins Books on Kindle

Explore the genre with this lesson on Ingredients of a Mystery. Several Free Worksheets are included as well as a list of suggested books. There are plenty of free mysteries for Kindle and on Google Books, including the Bobbsey Twins and The Rover Boys.

There is a little confusion about the real author of these books. In The Story of the Bobbsey Twins, you” ll read about the

Read Mysteries By Kids

Use an interactive tool from ReadWriteThink to dissect your mystery. There are writing activities too!

Writing

Mystery Writing: Write with Writers 


How to Write a Mini Myster

Writing Mystery Stories The Best Mystery Writing Tips and Tricks for Kids

Science

Kids Ahead – Crime Scene Investigation Activities

Science Mystery – Educational Mysteries (and Reading)

Detective Science Games

History

The 25 Biggest Mysteries of History

The 20 Coolest Unsolved Mysteries in History

Mystery Timeline and more, including lessons and interactives.

detective-156961_640Math

Mystery Math Pictures -Math Facts

Mystery  Picture Math -Math Facts

Mystery Pictures with multiples and division.

Maths Mysteries Online Games

Math Maven’s Mysteries Home – Scholastic  Various Skills and Levels, including Logic and Reasoning

Mystery Math– an online game of deductive reasoning

Critical Thinking

Solve some mysteries at Mystery Net’s Kids Site.

You can find more FREE resources in my Facebook group, and learn how you can Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE.

Mystery Fun
Make your own spy equipment!

Free 19th Century Readers by James Baldwin

James Baldwin was published during the turn of the century was a teacher, writer, and was a man of Christian faith. He wrote  over 50 books including readers, adapted stories for young children, history text, literary analysis, classic literature, and apologetics. Read more About James Baldwin.

The first set is the only complete set, which means the other books were not found or have a price tag. I will continue to search for them and add to the list. I have noted special characteristics of each set or book.

book-goggles-348090_640I have listed them in sets, in order of edition. This is somewhat misleading because many of the books were for 12-16 months use, so a book would be used for longer than our modern grade levels, in some cases.  Most times the level’s name was simply indicative of coming after the one preceding it.  Because of this I tried to find readers of the same publisher and author. Some series are not as complete as others, usually meaning that the missing book had a price tag on it. I will update as I find missing books from a series.

Find out where your child should begin reading by having them read, either silently or aloud, and asking some basic comprehension questions or asking your child to retell a story after reading a  short piece. Use the reader that is appropriate, moving forward in the series.

Some  readers will have phonics lessons for the little ones and oration lessons for older students. Others have spelling lists, language instruction, and exercises, or questions to check comprehension. I will make a note at the introduction to each set to indicate any special features.

 

The Baldwin Primer I just love this little book with color picture, beautiful cursive, music, and hands on activities. It’s a perfect beginning reader!

Baldwin School Reading by Grade: First Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grade: Second Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grades: Third Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grades: Fourth Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grade: Fifth Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grade: Sixth Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grades: Seventh Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grade Eighth Year

 

These have so much to offer. They include a variety of genres, along with exercises requiring response to the literature(expression), phonetic exercises(in the back of the book) and spelling exercises.

figures-54851_640The Bender Primer

Baldwin and Bender’s Fourth Reader

Baldwin and Bender’s Fifth Reader

Baldwin and Bender’s Sixth Reader

Baldwin and Bender’s Eighth Reader

 

These also include a variety of genres, along with exercises requiring response to the literature(expression), phonetic exercises(in the back of the book) and spelling exercises. The teacher’s manual imparts better understanding to the exercises in the readers. I do wish to find the complete set.

Reading with expression: a teacher’s manual to accompany …

Reading With Expression Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Years

 

More Readers

Perhaps to use in place of the missing 2nd and 3rd readers to the sets above.

Fairy Stories and Fables: a Second Reader

Another Fairy Reader: Companion to Fairy Stories and Fables

 Old Greek Stories: a Third Reader

The Golden Fleece: More Old Greek Stories: Companion to Old Greek Stories

 

mill-208571_640Adapted Versions For Young Children

Stories of Don Quixote: Written Anew for Young People

Robinson Crusoe: Written Anew for Children

Gulliver’s Travels Into Some Remote Countries:Written Anew for Children

 

Fifty Famous Stories Retold

Thirty More Famous Stories

Fifty famous people, short stories

 

Old Stories of the East

An American Book of Golden Deeds

A Story of the Golden Age

Stories of the King

The Story of Siegfried

 More James Baldwin

 

Bonus: The Industrial Primary Arithmetic

Free 19th Century Readers

Here are some 19th Century Readers. I have listed them in sets, in order of edition. This is somewhat misleading because many of the books were for 12-16 months use, so a book would be used for longer than our modern grade levels, in some cases.  Most times the level’s name was simply indicative of coming after the one preceding it.  Because of this I tried to find readers of the same publisher and author. Some series are not as complete as others, usually meaning that the missing book had a price tag on it. I will update as I find missing books from a series.

Find out where your child should begin reading by having them read, either silently or aloud, and asking some basic comprehension questions or asking your child to retell a story after reading a  short piece. Use the reader that is appropriate, moving forward in the series.

Some  readers will have phonics lessons for the little ones and oration lessons for older students. Others have spelling lists, language instruction, and exercises, or questions to check comprehension. I will make a note at the introduction to each set to indicate any special features.

steinbach-56641_640

This set of Readers has no primer. Selections include fables, fairy tales, rhymes, myths, nature stories and stories about life. Each book is graduated  to ensure a comfortable transition from one year to the next. This is a typical characteristic of the Readers.

New Century Readers Book 1

New Century Readers Book 2

New Century Readers Book 3

New Century Readers Book 4

New Century Readers Book 5

These readers are also graduated in form, starting with phonics  and sight words in the primer and focusing more on vocabulary and comprehension in the latter years. The exercises in the books include enunciation, spelling, vocabulary, mechanics of writing, articulation and comprehension. The speller covers enunciation, phonics and the mechanics of writing. It includes over 500 exercises covering years of spelling instruction.

Sander’s Union Pictorial Primer

Sander’s Union Reader: Number One

Sander’s Union Reader: Number Two

Sander’s Union Reader: Number Three

Sander’s Union Reader:  Number Four

Sander’s Union Reader: Number Five

Sander’s Union Reader: Number Six

Bonus: Sander’s Union Speller

This set  includes oral exercises in articulation and inflection, new vocabulary defined, reading notes and blurbs about select authors. The Speller includes dictation exercises and enunciation marks. Words are grouped by pattern and language uses.

McGuffey’s Readers Online Tutor -an online tutorial for using the texts.

McGuffey’s Eclectic Primer 

McGuffey’s First Eclectic Reader 

McGuffey’s Second Eclectic Reader

McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader 

McGuffey’s Fourth Eclectic Reader

McGuffey’s Fifth Eclectic Reader

McGuffey’s Sixth Eclectic Reader

Bonus: McGuffey’s Eclectic Spelling Book

The New McGuffey First Reader

The New McGuffey Second Reader

The New McGuffey Third Reader 

The New McGuffey Fourth Reader

The New McGuffey Fifth Reader

I’ll be on the lookout for the rest of this set.  They include includes oral exercises in articulation and inflection, spelling and vocabulary words, and comprehension questions. The Speller includes dictation work and words in their various parts of speech.

McGuffey’s New First Eclectic Reader

McGuffey’s New Fourth Eclectic Reader 

McGuffey’s New Fifth Eclectic Reader

McGuffey’s New Sixth Eclectic Reader

Bonus: McGuffey’s New Eclectic Spelling Book

Other McGuffey Readers

The Eclectic Second Reader: Consisting of Progressive Lessons(McGuffey)

McGuffeys’ Alternate Fifth Reader

Mcguffeys’ Fifth Reader of the Eclectic Series

High School Reader

 McGuffey’s High School Reader

Bonus: A History of the McGuffey Readers You can find out more about the McGuffey series and the levels here and here

Which Homeschool Method is Right for My Child?

right-238370_640There are many methods and philosophies for homeschooling. I can’t condemn any one of them. As long as your method doesn’t include letting your child run wild, while never involving him in discussion that leads to learning, you should be commended for taking on the task that God has given you in the raising of your child. What is key in this education endeavor is finding what works for you and each of your family members. Personalities, talents, and interest vary widely from family to family and person to person. Why would we all homeschool in the same way?

If the method you thought was right hasn’t been working, even though you have given it your best efforts, give yourself permission to change it to suit the needs of your family or the individual child. If the method of homeschooling is working for you, in other words, your kids are learning and your methods don’t cause strife in the home, then don’t let those outside your family shake your resolve. Keep on keeping on.

The truth is there are a lot of great homeschool methods out there, Charlotte Mason, TJEd, unschooling,  basal curriculum and more.  Learning what your children need is not going to happen overnight. It takes time and diligence. So, when you experience some blow-outs don’t freak out. This life affords a lot of do-overs. Forgive yourself. Forgive your kids. Take a day off or whatever you need to collect yourselves. The day is very forgiving.

Whatever you do, don’t spend all your time trying to force learning down your child’s throat. No matter how good the method or curriculum you chose sounds, no matter how logical it seems, you must consider that we are all so diverse. Our learning style is different,  our temperament is different, and our aptitude and abilities are different. And at some point you just may have to face that your child has a limit of understanding, whether it be because of a special need or because Joe is Joe. You might have a mechanic on your hands. He might be bound for vocational school instead of college.  Frankly I love a skilled and honest mechanic. I had a great one through college that kept my jalopy running. On the other hand, you might have a child that excels on his own, who has such focus and determination that he goes through material like the energizer bunny and leaves you and your other children in the dust choking on fumes as he ventures into subjects you did n’t know existed.

If the method you chose is not working and your child is bucking at every task given, consider letting his learning be more self directed and self taught, by taking a guiding role instead of a teaching role. This is especially helpful when a child is not completely trusting of your ability to take on the teaching role (or when you are too scared to). Allow him then, to begin sharing with you what he has learned in casual discussion.

Meanwhile, take on your own learning, perhaps at the same time of day. Something new. Sewing, crochet, making yogurt (whatever really). Watch youtube videos. Read blogs and library books. Produce something from your learning. Show  him that being smart is not about knowing all the answers, but knowing where to find out what you want to know. Learn beside each other.

My oldest is super bright. Truly, if I tell you the details, I would feel I was bragging. It has nothing to do with me it is totally hereditary and she gets it from here father. They are both very annoyingly smart. Hence Jeopardy is never viewed in or home. However my daughter’s weakness lies in the fact that she stops actively listening when she thinks she already knows the information. She tends to miss out on important new details. I still do read-alouds. I do want her to learn to listen, but I have changed her schedule a bit to include a range of specific resources for learning (websites or books), and subtopics(multiplication) under the state required subjects (math)  for her to pick from. We discuss frequently what she is working on, what she has read, what progress she has made. This allows much of her learning to be self directed, though I am right there beside her when she falls into a ditch. It  has been a learning experience for both of us. She still has a listening problem, but here is much more respect for me as her teacher. This does not fit any of the above methods perfectly,  but I cannot argue its effectiveness. She is interested, busy, and learning. I am happy.

empty-314554_640One of the problems in public school is that teachers were not in charge of the classroom, so if the teacher has developed a relationship with a student or simply has a personal teaching style that meets opposition from admin, the teacher has to abandon what she knows to be the best practice for a child in exchange for what outsiders propose to be the “best practices in teaching.”

Here we can enter the discussion of collectivism vs. individualism. Do we really want to adopt a philosophy of  thinking of the group to the suffering of the individual. Sure they have small group teaching in public school. For how long, and how well do they get to know what each child needs? Do the quick learners get the same attention or is time too short? If  they deem one child un-teachable, will he get attention at all? It is almost impossible for individualized curriculum int he public school. Individualism is what is needed no matter your curriculum or method adopted.

How can another person attack your teaching choices without being guilty of leaving out the individual? There is simply not one and only one way to teach your children. One could argue that there is a right and a wrong way to teach your child, but that can only be discovered  by you, when you experience success or failure with a particular child.

My personal approach is to teach my children the basics (a love of reading, writing and math) and then to show them how to use these to research about any topic they want. I want my kids to understand that they are the teachers and learners. Sometimes guidance is needed, but I am not the only authority. In fact sometimes I have to Google the answer. In public school there is way to much dependence on the teacher for the “correct” information.  My last years were spent as a fifth grade teacher. I expected independence on some tasks, after all they had so much more practice thinking than my first graders. However, while my first graders were plunking out five pages during writing, my fifth graders couldn’t think past a paragraph.

Some parents do not agree that you can allow this kind of self guided approach for a bought curriculum, but you can teach your child within a matter of weeks, how to look up a tutorial on whatever subject he is working on in a book, in order to teach himself and complete the page. My daughter thinks this is the coolest thing. She is taking charge of her own education. I am still there in the circumstance that she needs more help or simply wants to share how exciting the information is. She delights in this too.

shoes-291845_640If you are unsure about what curriculum or method to choose, don’t choose one yet. De-school. Have some fun with the local library. Let your kids check out books that they want to read. Encourage a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Enjoy some free outings with other homeschoolers or on your own as a family. Enjoy some movies that teach science, social studies, or theology. Work on life skills like doing the laundry, preparing a meal, or cleaning a bathroom. Oh, you know your child is going to love that one! Or simply put off buying a curriculum and build from from free sources on the internet until you find the one you are in love with (although you could build your own for free until graduation).

Whatever the method or curriculum you choose, don’t let hecklers dissuade you. I know some moms doing the bought curriculum from cover to cover, happy as a lark (and so are their kids). On the other hand, I know moms that are unschooling with the same satisfaction.

New homeschool moms need to read homeschool articles, blog, books, and posts while realizing that all of this advice is subjective.  Sometimes moms read these things and start doubting everything they are doing, others get really defensive and act like someone is questioning them or judging them. Maybe someone is but who cares?  They are  not the ones loving your children, raising them, housing them, feeding them, and they won’t be paying their college bill (not that college has to be the goal). I have one kiddo that  doesn’t care to go. She doesn’t feel like she needs it. Frankly, I have to agree. Her skills will sell themselves. I think she is already a success. There are those that think that college is the goal. Early graduation is the goal. I say that enjoying the learning day in and day out and finding a passion to follow is the goal. If your kids get that, Homeschool is successful. If college is needed for their passion then your little success will probably learn whatever is needed to make that happen.

You are going to find out what fits your kids by learning and gaining understanding your kids day in and day out over the first couple of months of school. When you feel you have a grasp on things, tailor whatever curriculum or method to your findings.

 

 

Reading Levels

103_0024Many mothers taking their children out of the public school are very concerned about the reading level in which their child is reading. When getting started with homeschooling, there is a good place for this concern. Finding the right placement to start your child’s curriculum is an honest endeavor.

When my children were taken out of public school to homeschool, my oldest was reading high above her grade level in reading, and while she glommed onto math quickly, her interest and confidence lacked in math, nevertheless, she was right on track with her grade level standards. She also had a solid understanding of patterns of speech and was a natural speller. Most of what she was doing in school bored her. In making curriculum decisions, I had to keep these things in mind.

There are many placement tests all over the web to use. The free ones are harder to find than others. At www.iamhomeschooling.com,  the author has compiled a list of free place placement test in both math and language arts.

However when we talk about reading level, there is an easy way to do this with access to leveled books. You can find out the level of books using your libraries database, and there are  other websites like www.scholastic.com where you can find the level of a book in your home. Keep in mind that interest level is not the same as reading level. Some websites only give the levels of interest, or what age group is reading books just like this. Often this number is inflated for those that read the book aloud to their students, but if you are looking for an independent read for your child, you want to focus on the reading level.

You are going to be looking at two things Independent Reading Level and  Instructional Reading Level. Independent  Reading Level is what your child can decode and comprehend on their own without any help whatsoever, Instructional Reading Level is what they can decode 90-95  percent (or thereabouts) and comprehend up to 80%. This should be at a comfortable and fluid rate of reading, not stumbling over every other word. Public School would use a timer to measure this, but I think observation by the parent is sufficient. If they are stumbling over the words, it is too hard and they will not comprehend the text enough to appreciate the story or gain new information.

Neither of these levels matter in the grand scheme of things, but it gives you an idea of what books are well suited for your child. Honestly, I don’t worry about this at all when letting them choose reading books, I let my children find out for themselves. As I have gotten to know them as readers, observation helps me choose books for other subjects like science. Remember not to dwell on where they are at, but instead where they are going.

Find a starting point, a level you think they might be close too. You can do this by having them read a couple of books on different reading levels and go up or down as your observation tells you to do. There are many reading levels within one grade level. Grade Level Equivalent is probably the easiest level to understand and also the level that you will find most readily available. The number consists of a whole number for grade level, a decimal, followed by a number for month in the school year. So, a book with a 5.4 grade level equivalent is understood to be for a fifth grader in the fourth month of school.

Once you have found a starting point, have them read the book, silently or aloud, depending on preference, for a minute or two. Have them stop and tell you what they have read. If your child can tell you most of the main points with a couple of details perhaps even comments that show they can apply what they read to other situations or relate them to similar circumstances, chances are this is their independent level. Instructional level is found when the child reads and needs help comprehending some new information or vocabulary but most of the decoding is accurate. If you didn’t have your child read aloud at the beginning and you question why your child did not comprehend the text, you can have your child read aloud to see if there are decoding issues.

boy-160174_640I’m less concerned about reading level than I am getting him interested in reading. I just let my child’s interest lead his reading and rarely do we do book reports.  I rely mostly on discussion. I rarely have to ask questions. They are usually so excited about what they are reading that they are eager to share. One of my children is a relatively new reader and is reading above grade level, but sometimes  he wanted to read books above his own level because of interest. When he fell in love with Oz, the books were not on his independent or instructional reading level. To accommodate his interest we used the audio version on LibriVox along with the book. Regardless of whether he comprehended everything or not, he understood more with the audio than he would have without. He love it so, he continued with the entire series.

Some are very adamant that a child should not have a book in his hand that is above his grade level. In my opinion it limits a child’s reading. My daughter was told once, that she couldn’t check out a book at the library that was above first grade level. Every child is differs in development and some find an interest early on that they choose to go after. When they do, growth follows. I know reading level was not a consideration when I was in school Library books were checked out on an interest basis only. I couldn’t have been happier.

Whether a child is on the grade level they are assigned to, is a lot less important than fostering a love for reading. Most veterans homeschooling moms will tell you that their children have all developed reading skills at different ages and in different methods, that standards do not always match individuals. I think that the change in philosophy was what allowed my son to go from reading on 1st grade level (in kinder) to reading 3rd grade level in a matter of months after beginning homeschool. The big difference was that he is allowed to follow his interest, and when he is interested, he is motivated to gain comprehension, through audio, videos, and through discussion after he reads.

Let interest be chosen over a designated reading level. Your child will likely put back a book that is too hard in exchange for one that he can read well enough to gain insight and be entertained. As long as he has an interest in reading on some topic, he will continue to develop his reading skills.

Want to know more about Teaching Them to Read?

Teaching Them to Read

100_1027How do I teach my child to read? This is a question lots of new moms ask. I think that many think there is a secret formula. Special materials. A formal program. You do not have to have teaching experience. None of these things are needed and you really don’t need to start with a “lesson”. You  start doing what it is you are trying to teach. You need to start with reading. When I was a child my Granny sat with me and read.  When I asked her to read again, she read again. She loved to read and spend time with me. I loved her, and in the time we spent together, I learned to love the story. Although many of us read to escape and we do so in solitude, blocking out the rest of the world. Reading can also be something that you can do together, with a child, a spouse, a friend. My husband and I are currently reading through the Old Testament together. If we get busy, I miss it. I also remember a time when we traveled a long distance and read a Gothic Renaissance novel to me as I drove. I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed someone reading to me as an adult. My children love to read with both of us and though my youngest two can read on their own now, they still very much enjoy being read aloud to.

So, start with reading books to your child, often. During reading you can point out characteristics of print, tracking from left to right, and from top to bottom. Point out periods, commas, exclamation points, and question marks. Talk about why theses marks are there and how your voice changes when you see them. Ask your child to notice how you take a break to breath, shorter for commas, and longer for end marks. Notice aloud, the high frequency words you see repeated in text. “This word is ‘me’. Can you help me find out how many we can find on this page?”

Explain a couple of new vocabulary words. Sometimes a detailed explanation is needed, but many times all that is needed is a synonym for the new word. This allows for the flow of the story to continue with minimal interruption.  At the beginning stages of reading aloud you will notice that your child may not want to discuss a lot with you. Children to know what happens next,  and what happens on the next page. They are learning to love the story. They are learning to visualize.

Retell difficult parts in simpler words. Make comparisons that help with the understanding of the text. “Have you ever felt that way? I felt that way when…” A similar situation is given in order to make a connection or to relate to the text, something the character does, says, sees, or feels. The connections can be made with other books you have read together, tv shows, Bible stories, news stories, stories you have heard in others lives, or your child’s own experiences. These are stories we remember when reading another similar situation. Connections help a reader understand new information with greater ease. Connections are the reason that we can cry about something that has happened in a movie, even thought we have never been in that exact situation. We relate to it because of another similar situations. The similarity does not have to be huge. A small likeness can help you compare to events. There is no need to make a list of questions before you read every book to your child. Use the connections that you make while reading. Share them or turn them into a question to get your child thinking. Start small start with one at the end of the telling. “When the character said that, it reminded me of Dad and how he always says…”, or “Does that remind you of someone who always says….?”

Ask open ended questions. “What do you think the character was feeling when that happened?” or, “What do you think the character will do now?” or, “What do you think…?”  Scaffold this (start small). Hold of on asking  your child to retell the events for you. They are still learning to love the story.  Before long  your child will be more and more curious about reading the words for his/herself. You child will be pointing out words before you ask. You child might start asking questions for you answer. You have shared your connection sin the past and now your child is seeking your help when a connection is hard to make or may just need confirmation they are on the right track. Often your child will simply mimic the questions and behaviors you have had when reading together. When your child is interested you can read along side her pointing out phonics rules little by little. ” the “ow” says /ow/ in this word. When your child shows interested in trying to read on his/her own, allow it, but be there for support. Your child will not have full mastery and will need you there to help decode some word still. “What’s this word, Mommy?” It’s okay to give the word to your child. At this point find some simple readers that your child can spend small amounts of time on reading aloud to you or silently. (I’ll be posting some this week in the public domain.) Don’t stop your read alouds with your child. You are still needed. You will continue to model inflection and speech patterns when you are reading aloud. You will still be entertaining and spending the close time your child loves.

Once your child is reading on their own. Continue the discussion. After your child reads, ask, “What happened in the chapter today.” Continue to ask your child to make connections with the book. Laugh over the characters. Empathize with them. Judge them. Befriend them. My children really like this time to discuss what they have read. It is a time to get their opinions out without risk of failure (It is not a multiple choice quiz). Their connections belong to them, and their judgement belong to them. The discussion will help you see whether they are understanding the text. If your child has little to say, consider that it is not the right book, whether it is because it is too difficult or not of interest. It does little good to have a child read something they are not interested in, and if it is too hard, it will lead to frustration. You can still continue your read alouds. You could also take turns reading or sit beside each other and enjoy seperate books, but  continue reading.

You can do this. You are all your child needs. Just read.

Favorite Science Ebooks

science-41512_640Here are some of our favorite science books. Though we are not yet middle or high school level at our house, I have compiled some I think you might like. I have also included some traditional texbooks from the 21st century. They are categorized by a broad range below.  There are many more on Google Books. You can use some of the words in these titles as key words in your search. You can read more about searching for free  ebooks on Finding Free Textbooks on Google Books or Searching the Internet Archive.

Primary

You can find more science for primary in Narrative Style Science Readers

Plant and Animal Children: How They Grow

Plants and Their Children

Intermediate

Object Lessons in Elementary Science: Following the Scheme …

First Year Science-with experiments

Real Things in Nature: A Reading Book of Science for …

Science for Beginners: A First Book in General Science for … with exercises to illustrate principles

Science for Beginners with exercises to illustrate principles

Middle Grades

CK-12 Life Science for Middle School

CK-12 Earth Science for Middle School

From Vitamins to Baked Goods: Real Applications of Organic …

iguana-223157_640High School

Zoölogy for High Schools and Academies

CK-12 Biology

CK-12 Biology Workbook

CK-12 Basic Physics – Second Edition

CK-12 People’s Physics, Version 3

CK-12 Earth Science for High School

CK-12 Chemistry – Second Edition

General Science: First Course with questions and excercises

General Science