In the Kid Zone

Move the School!

My son is on the go, all the time, everyday.  It is hard for him to sit still while watching a movie.  It is hard for him to be still while reading books with mom or dad.  It is hard….well you get the point.  I would like some one to build me a treadmill where I can run him and collect the energy to power my house.  With all this activity you could imagine how hard it is for him to still at the table to do school.  At times I have to move school to keep him interested.  I do believe that to be able to sit still and have patience is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced.  However, being flexible so that learning can happen is a perk with home schooling.  Today my son and I had school on the family room floor.  I bought a clear plastic sheet at my local hardware store so that my kids can do art products on it and not get my table messy with glue and paint (see pic below).  I placed our sheet on the floor and got out our writing and math.  Just being in a different location or position really helps my son to concentrate on his work.  It isn’t a studious attention, that isn’t him, but I do have less complaints and whining that he doesn’t want to do school or that he is too hot to do school.  We have a pub table so that when we are working at the table my son can stand and not sit. 

Other places that I have done school is at the library, outside in our backyard, and at a park without a playground.  Having school in your front yard would be interesting too!  When moving to a new location for school remember to bring the minimum.  You are not going to bring your whole school room to the library or the park.  Pick things that would be easy to do and then provide a lesson using the place that you are visiting.  Obviously at the library you can look up books on the history lesson you are working on or when at the park your nature study comes into play.  Don’t get into a rut with where schooling has to happen.  Have fun!

Below is a picture of a 18″ by 24″ clear plastic sheet that I bought for my kids.  At my local hardware store (Home Depot) they are as small as 8″x10″.


The Reading Dilemma

One of my biggest concerns when starting home school with my daughter was teaching her how to read.  It is the basic skill to be able to learn more and learn on your own.  I decided that I would register with an online school located in our town.  They gave me a lot of books and easy lesson plans (I eventually didn’t go back because I needed more flexibility in the curriculum).  My daughter did good in kindergarten, did really well in 1st grade, and has soared in 2nd grade.  Yet she is a typical developing kid.  How do I begin to teach reading to my son who has a speech delay and difficulty in articulating words.  Reading is based on being able to manipulate those sounds with your mouth.  So much fun!

My son knew his alphabet sounds using one of those Leap Frog fridge toys.  At first I decided to try to use the curriculum that I received from the online school.  It was too difficult for him to grasp.  The curriculum had the child identify the sounds in the beginning, middle, and end of words before actually teaching reading.  The lessons went on to identify a specific sound in one word out of three.  He was frustrated to tears and I was frustrated to tears.

I am blessed with a friend who is a teacher at a very small, classically based school.  She recommended the book Phonics Pathways.  It is one book.  No teacher’s guide and no worksheets.  The recommendation is to just start out 10 minutes per day.  Learn a page and go on.  Nice!  Sitting still is not a talent for my son.  We started off.  He was getting the concept.

Then some family members who had used Hooked on Phonics said that it would be great for my son.  I should try it out and they still had their curriculum.  So I stopped the Phonics Pathways and switched him over mid year.  It is a good program.  I wouldn’t say it was a great one.  They have the child learn sight words with music.  The words were 3 to a flash card.  The difficulty was that once the words were out-of-order in the books my son couldn’t recognize them.  Also they were really big sight words like “sometimes” and “review”.  Yah, that is going to go over well when a child has trouble even saying “six” clearly.  I gave it a 1 1/2 months before I called it quits.  My son did enjoy the musical way of learning but he wasn’t learning.  And the program jumps between easy and hard concepts instead of building up to the harder stuff.

Today was the first day that we are back to Phonics Pathways.  We jumped right into the book and my son did 4 pages in the span of 20 minutes.  He need a little help but I think that this is our book.  We will have to go through the summer to keep up his skills but it will be worth it to have my son reading and eventually talking more clearly.

I was able to get Phonics Pathways from my local library!  I am all for free resources when home schooling!