Now that our eldest is in regular school, I haven't given up our "homeschool". I get more time to sit with Rebecca and teach her, one on one (on one, in my lap).
Jackson's progress has been amazing, and we are so grateful for Mrs. Sandoval and the program that Stockdale Christian uses. He is at the top reading table and in three short months, has progressed far beyond what I had labored to teach him for two years!
I have learned that I was not teaching reading correctly. I started with letters, then moved on to sounds, then had Jackson sound out each individual letter. I tried to have him smoosh the sounds together quickly. I hoped words would eventually come out. They did, but it was a long and difficult process.
His kindergarten program focuses on phonics and family sounds, like "at" or "ig". If he knows what a "b" says, he can more easily blend these sounds together to make words!
So, I have rethought my approach with Rebecca. She knows 90% of her letter sounds (sometimes B and D or I and L are confusing, but we will get there!) Instead of focusing on individual sounds only, I have started her on letter blends. I am interested to see whether she becomes a fluent reader more quickly than my guinea pig.
I have also simplified our homeschool this year. I am not worrying about math and science and art books. We just read a lot. I am focused on building a sturdy reading foundation, and then we will begin to branch out. I have observed that Jackson's class spends most of the day reading and writing. They read and write numbers as well, and they do other things, but all of his homework and "Station" work focuses on literacy.
So I am doing the same thing.
What am I using?
We read this Bible each morning. We have gone through the Jesus Storybook Bible, cover to cover, probably six times over the last few years, and so it is nice to have a new way of presenting Scripture. As my friend recently pointed out, "Wow! This Bible has a lot of words!". It does, but the stories are short and pointed. And the illustrations are vivid and beautiful. We can do basic art appreciation by observing the pictures and asking questions.We also use this book three morning a week. This has been great for phonics. Right now, we are sounding out words, focusing on word families at the end of the words.
After we finish the bookwork, we get out the Ipad for some real fun! This app can be found here, and is a very simple and straightforward way to reinforce sounds and blends. The letters all make their sounds when you touch them. I have Rebecca say, "A says.." and then have her touch the "A". After we run through all of the letters, we move onto the page where we build words in word families.
We are able to consistently do school two to three times a week, and that seems to be enough for now. I am enjoying the blessing of being able to teach Rebecca without Jackson being here. I can focus more on her strengths and weaknesses, and we have a lot of fun together.