Sunday, 17 September 2017

Can My Homeschooled Child Read? Homeschooling in New Zealand

First before we go any further let me state that my daughter has no special needs or additional learning needs this is our personal reading journey. Every journey and child is different so take anything you find useful and leave the rest.

Early Years

My husband and I have always loved reading, it's an important hobby for both of us so it was only natural it would be something we shared with our daughter once she came along! My daughter's book collection began before she was born as I collected kids books from the travelling book salesman who used to come into my work.

We started reading to our daughter very early and cloth/board books were always brought out at tummy time. Also during this time she saw us reading, she heard us reading and there was always a bunch of books available to her. My husband also read his books aloud to her when he was reading in the evenings. He likes Tom Clancy so it was a lot of Russian Spy type stuff but she just loved hearing her daddy read, it didn't matter what he was reading.

Pre-school Years

Our main goal during those toddler/preschool ages was to foster a love a reading. Visits to the library, stories, pop up books, books with funny pictures we used everything we had to give our daughter the opportunity to see, hear, look and touch books. We never pushed her to start reading during these times that love of books and reading was always far more important than her being a fluent reader at 3.4.5 or even 6 years old. We knew that if our daughter loved books she would love learning to read them for herself eventually.

Early School Days

When Abby turned 5 I was determined to teach her how to read. I spent hours researching curriculum, brought workbooks and generally stressed out about it to be honest with you. For some reason my philosophy from her early years had been thrown out the window and I was all sit down and do the workbook kind of teacher.
The pressure and judgement of other people on our decision and my ability of homeschooling our daughter really got to me and I was determined and quite frankly terrified that I was going to let my daughter down. Firstly I purchased the Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons I had heard great things from other homeschooling parents so it was the first thing we got. I also purchased the All About Reading Level 1. We didn't really do either of these as they are intended, firstly the 100 easy lessons was quite boring and less than half way through Abby was so over it and it was making reading seem more like a chore that I really had to try and persuade her to do it. BUT the principles of this book are amazing and I really credit it to those first steps of Abby learning to read. I don't regret purchasing it definitely served it's purpose even though we didn't do the full 100 lessons. I really loved the look of the All About Reading curriculum. I watched reviews, read blog posts and I really thought that we would love it. However, the time it took to set up, the flash cards, the tiles, the workbooks, the readers it was just all too much! As any 5 year old Abby really struggled with the time it took to complete a lesson and there were just too many bits! The the thing we did and still do use from this series is the readers. A collection of short stories in hard backed books in three different levels with black and white illustrations. Abby loved them, right now we are onto the last book in level one and I will be purchasing level 2 for her soon. These books really helped build on Abby's reading confidence.

It Clicked

I believe it was a mixture of all of these things that made it click for her, she's still 6 and still learning but the reading thing reading clicked for her and I credit that first of all to her love of books. I stepped back, I trusted her ability to learn and trusted my ability to be able to facilitate what she needed to get there.

How I Support My Daughter's Learning. 

Now that she has the basics I see it as my job to support her learning, firstly I never say no to a book at the library. It might be too hard for her, it might be too easy, it might be too long or it might just be a story I don't personally like but that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if we get it home and it doesn't get read. What matters is she is making decisions for herself, finding her interests and exploring. The other thing I do to support her reading is I just read to her, for fun, at bedtimes, when she's playing Lego, on holidays etc. If she asks me to read I will read (maybe not at that second but I will make her a promise to read it to her when I can before bed etc.) Abby also has her own CD player and a collection of audio books which she can put on herself when she chooses. Along with going to the library and borrowing books and audio books we also take part in the reading programs and events that our library hosts, there have been puppet shows, reading rewards, performances, story times etc. Along with Abby getting to choose what she reads I always make sure she is surrounded by really good stories, funny stories, silly stories, stories that rhyme and great authors are so important. If you are interested in hearing some recommendations on cool books to get kids giggling and loving books leave a comment or send me a message and I will make sure I make it happen. Above all I quietly encourage her and give her space and time when it comes to her reading aloud to me, building reading confidence and giving her time to work it out is far more important than finishing the book quickly.

What We Used 


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