Do you ever have moments when you wonder if you should be homeschooling? My oldest child has always been behind in everything, but sometimes, I get it in my head that it is my fault- that I'm not capable of teaching her. At times, I have wondered if I should enroll her in a tutoring program for reading. She just wasn't getting it. Grant it, she's only six, and when I was six I wasn't reading either, but public school children are reading by kindergarten. And, while I hate to compare our progress to that of institutional schools, it's often hard to avoid- especially when many of her little friends and church peers are public schooled or involved in Mother's Day Out preschool programs at churches which use Abeka curriculum (which is quite advanced, in my opinion).
I worry that my darling little girl will feel silly or dumb because others her age (and younger) are reading and writing. Lately, I've noticed that she's started worrying about what others think of her. I don't know where this came from, but she has always been a sensitive little girl.
After purchasing a couple different programs (including Hooked on Phonics, which I think is a ridiculous program, but at least it comes with plenty of books, which made it worth the money), I finally listened to good advice and bought the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons (Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox, Elaine Bruner).
This book is all you need, and it's fantastic. It's reading curriculum for beginners in one inexpensive book. I wish I would have bought it a couple years ago!
My daughter is doing so much better, now. Mainly, she struggles with blending sounds to make words, and this book as really helped her understand blending. The book has a script which tells you what to say and how to correct mistakes to keep kids on focused and on track- which is very helpful.
I think it also helps that she's a little older. She may not have grasped this last year or the year before- even with this amazing book (although I think she probably would have, but who knows!), but she is doing well now.
There will always be something she struggles with, but, as I have mentioned before, there are other things she does incredibly well- above those her age, so it evens out in the end.
My oldest boy, who is four, has had the benefit of listening in on the lessons and such over the years, and is not far behind his sister (even though they are 21 months apart), with the exception of writing. Merikalyn's letters are well formed, while Nolyn's are still hard to recognize. Still, at four years old, he is already doing simple math (addition and subtraction), and has already caught on to some of the aspects of reading- such as blending sounds- even though I have not sat down to teach him these things. I think overhearing our lessons while he plays has probably taught him much more than if I would have sat down and tried to cram it in his head. He's just that type of child.
Each child is going to be different, even within a family- and my children are definitely proof of that. While one child may need extra attention and guidance in one subject, another child may catch on quickly. I didn't even realize Nolyn understood all that he did, until I heard him hollering out answers in the background while I walked Merika through a lesson!
Potty training was very similar to our reading issue. Merikalyn struggled with it. As her fourth birthday neared, I vowed to have her potty trained before the party. Well, her birthday came and went, and she was still in pull-ups. I was mortified! So many of my friends had potty-trained two-year-olds, and here I was with a four year old who refused to use the toilet! I wish I could say it happened that year (to her credit, she came a long way with making friends with the porcelain throne that year), but she was FIVE when she finally got it down. Nolyn, on the other hand, was potty trained when he was three... and not by me. My mother-in-law worked with both of the kids when they were at her house, but he as just generally interested in the toilet. One day, I was in the kitchen and saw him run into the bathroom, strip off his diaper and plop his heiny on the toilet! Then, I saw him get off and put back on his diaper! Ha! He had been doing this for a couple weeks, and I was clueless! (He was only wetting his diaper during naps and night time.) A month later, he was in underwear all the time.
My point here is, some kids just take longer to learn things. We may be embarrassed because it's not on the schedule most other children are on, or because it makes us feel like a failure, but eventually, it'll happen. We just have to be patient and loving. We may need to seek a different method of teaching, or we may just need to be more consistent.
We'll see many of these moments as our children grow, I'm sure. What makes it worth it is... once they get it, they really GET it.
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