Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Persistence. That long awaited day.

He learned how to read very early. Pointing to words and asking what they were at 18 months old soon led to asking what the letters were and how they worked. So he read his first book the week he turned three. At four, his favorite game was one he made up and called the “rhyming game.” He would write an ending sound like at, or ack, on the white board and we would take turns writing words that rhymed. He started simple with cat, rat, fat, and back, rack, track, but then kept going until he was soon using homophones and multi-syllabic words. I never pushed, but just continued to play games with him.

So, imagine my surprise when he got older and began really reading whole books, that he hated it. He hated it and he told me so every day. He took every opportunity to tell anyone he met how much he hated reading. I, as a teacher, had failed. When it was time for reading, he complained. When it was time to read science, he complained. When it was time to read history, he complained.

I talked it over with friends and family and the advice I received repeatedly was that some people just don't like to read and that's just the way it is. I refused to accept that. I plugged away and kept insisting on that 30 minutes a day for reading. I honestly believe that anyone who can read well, will enjoy reading when they find that certain something that sparks an interest in them. Our friendly bookmobile lady took up the case with me to find that spark for him. Any interest I heard him mention, I would ask her to bring books on that subject. We've tried basketball, football, martial arts, war books, books on how things work, solar system, joke books and anatomy. He enjoys all of those topics, but still didn't want to read about them.

Lately she's been bringing him dog books. He would read a chapter and put it down. He did enjoy one that was full of charts and facts about various dog breeds. So he read the charts.

Then she brought The Good Dog by Avi, a book written from the dog's point of view. The dog doesn't know what to call things, so he names them for what they do. A glow box for television, a staring paper for newspaper, a freeze box for refrigerator, and human pup for a boy. During reading time, he read a chapter. The next day, he read another. All week he read the entire 30 minutes without complaint. And today, yes, today was the day my persistence paid off and he said, “Can we do reading first? I like this book.” Oh, what music to my ears! The words I have longed for! And then for icing on the cake, when the timer went off, he asked if he could keep reading. Yes, my boy, yes! Today will be a reading holiday! Read as long as you like.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Update on Third Grade Plans for 2014-15

Several subjects had me guessing when I posted our plans for this school year back in July, so I thought it was time for an update since writing this post.

Our first formal history curriculum this year was The Story of the World (vol 1) by Susan Wise Bauer. I wasn't sure if we would like it or not, but we've been pleasantly surprised. The lessons are short and engaging, which he likes. The accompanying Activity Book has map work for every chapter, which I like. It's a keeper!

Hey, Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek has been a big hit. He breezed through Level 2 in just a few weeks and is working on Level 3. He is not happy that the higher level actually requires a bit of work, but on we go. The Level 2 book teaches a word and then has pages and pages of games, puzzles, and worksheets to help you really learn the word. So you don't actually have to try to learn the word, but you will learn it by completing all the pages of activities. Level 3 teaches you a new word, or ending, and then gives you just a page or two of activities to complete, so you do have to spend time purposely learning the new material.

Student didn't like doing Greek every single day of the week and wanted to vary days. He also wanted to pick up the Latin we had worked on last year and continue with that, so we are alternating days with Greek on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Latin on Tuesday and Thursday.

We likewise alternate between history MWF and science TTh. Language Arts has us doing Writing with Ease on MW and Winston Grammar on TTh. This really helps us to be able to fit more things that we want to do in our schedule without having a list as long as your arm to do each day. The things we do every day are Bible, read aloud, and quiet reading. So our daily schedule looks something like this:


Read aloud time varies and is most often during or after lunch. The student is learning the mandolin, as well as piano and guitar, so we practice those in the afternoon.