Thursday, 28 April 2011

Learning to read

It has been ages since I've tried to write a post here - doing home ed is easier than writing about it, I guess. Or else it takes more time.

We've had a fairly unusual couple of weeeks, which threw our carefully planned timetables out the window, but are now settling back down to routine. Or trying to, it is difficult when there are so many bank holidays so close together.

(We don't do lessons when J is home - not formal lessons that is, though there are always things like gardening, board games, and football matches)

I know that as a home ed mom I am unusual in that I hate *hate* reading aloud to my children. It is something I never did when they were tiny (pre-school) and it is not something I've ever really taken to since.

That makes me feel like a "bad mom" or at the least an inadequate home educator (in fact to be honest, there is so much that other moms do differently or better than me, that if I was to compare myself to most of them I'd crawl under a rock!)  I guess my point is that we are all different, as well as similar, and that there is no one "perfect" way to home educate.

I do teach the children to read very methodically (unlike some other moms who wait until their child asks to be taught, or who read to their children so often that they learn by osmosis), using Peter and Jane. But that is the children reading to me, not me reading to the children.

We have a rule that no-one must talk or interrupt while I am listening to a child read; they need silence to concentrate.  And no, taking them into another room would not work, since the other dc left in the classroom would promptly down tools (pencils) and riot. Or at the least they'd start chatting mindlessly; or arguing about who was in whose seat/space/chair.

(Yes, they argue almost every morning about which part of the table they get to sit at, and what chair they get to sit on. Somewhere along the journey I've become too lax in my parenting. . .!)

When we began to home educate I used to spend two 15-minute sessions a day with A, who was three at the time, moving to one 20-minute session as he got older. But as we had more children and more children who were learning to read, that time has become a bit squeezed, and although I aim to listen to each child under ten read for 20 minutes a day, it doesn't always work out that way.

I recently came across the concept of audio books, which is working well for us just now, since it bridges the gap between a child being a completely independent reader, and still needing help with unfamiliar words. Initially I borrowed audio books from the library, but that was complicated because (a) many of the audio books were not really that suitable for us (a lot of fantasy/supernatural fiction) and (b) it was hard to find the paper copy of the book as well.

So in the end I bit the bullet and bought a KS2 set of audio books from TTS Education. So far, it is proving very popular and it does increase the children's confidence.

I just had a quick glance at more of the TTS website, but better close it down quickly "a home ed mom and her money are soon parted".