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Mom Loves It; Daughter Hates It

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vol. 11 No. 64, October 21, 2010, ISSN: 1536-2035
© 2010, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!
And please visit our sponsors! They make it possible.


Learning Through History
Explore the world with a variety of history, timeline and geography products for middle and high school students. Learning Through History 64-page thematic issues are a perfect start to forming a unit study or to supplement textbook learning. Add period timelines and maps to form an entire course of study.
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  • Middle Ages (Early/Late Middle, Byzantine, Vikings, Mughals)
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Notes from Heather
-- Reader Feedback
Helpful Tip
-- Lost in the Crystal Caves
Winning Website
-- Creative Spelling Ideas
Reader Question
-- Mom Likes it; Daughter Doesn't
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Reader Feedback

"Thank you so much for printing my question about what to do after 100 Easy Lessons.  I really enjoyed reading the responses!  Luckily, my son loves to read, and be read to; we typically spend at least 2 hours a day just reading.  Right now his favorite is Shel Silverstein's Runny Babbit -- oh, and of course, any LEGO magazine or catalog. :-)" -- Cara


Your feedback is always welcome! -- mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net




Helpful Tip

"This is an awesome interactive, telling how it really felt in there, the things they had to do, each persons experience. It's really neat." -- Toni

Explore a gypsum crystal cave far below the earth's surface where temperatures and humidity are over 120 degrees and near 100%.  Follow real scientists as they brave the caverns of giant crystals -- and enjoy the fun animations that give kids a chance to feel like they are really there, too!


Winning Website

Creative Ways to Practice Spelling Words

This page is LOADED with great ideas and links for FUN ways to do spelling! :-)



Do you have a website, tip, idea or experience to share for our next issue?

Send to: mailto:HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Last Issue's Reader Question

"Hello -- I enjoy your newsletter a lot and decided to write in for some advice. My daughter is currently doing 1st grade level curriculum and we're using The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading. She is doing very well, but she doesn't enjoy the reading lessons and some days it's worse than pulling teeth to get her to do the lesson. She's throwing fits, crying and telling me it's too hard, too much, etc. I wouldn't do it if I really thought it was too hard for her; she just doesn't want to (she is very hardheaded) and I can't figure out how to get over that. She is doing very well on the days she 'decides' she will cooperate and do her lesson. I really like the book we're using and don't like the idea of switching. Any advice will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!" -- Natalie

Our Readers' Responses

"I used The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading, too, last year. In mid-year, we tried Time4Learning for a few months. At first, it wooed her and we abandoned OPG in favor of T4L's language arts lessons. At some point, she tired of those and wanted to return to 'books', so we finished out the year with OPG. Overall, we had more success with it, but this year we moved to All About Spelling, which also teaches phonics along with spelling and uses various media in the process. So far, All About Spelling is a hit here! www.allaboutspelling.com

My advice is, perhaps she just isn't quite ready for formal instruction on this subject. You might try simply engaging her by reading aloud books she likes. Visit the library frequently. With my child, I would ask her to pick a common name or word in a picture book, and that was *her* word to read. She can read entire books to me, now, but she still loves selecting a word or word set and being the reader just for those words.

Don't discount the possibility of a vision or input processing problem, too, but if you're sure she doesn't have those issues, just make it fun and stress-free for awhile. Give her brain a rest and maybe with a little more time she will be more receptive. With my girl I've had to shift gears on curriculum choices a few times, and that has helped rejuvenate both of us. We're doing that with math right now, learning time and money from a colorful workbook. When finished we'll return to her normal curriculum. I think the variety helps; as you both start looking at the same information from another angle or approach, it can stimulate your teaching and enhance her comprehension." -- Ellen


"Natalie -- I have also used The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading. My first-grade daughter is now reading at a tremendous level thanks to that book! Here are some suggestions for making it more user-friendly for you and your daughter:

First of all, I did not sit down with her and the book to work on the first section of the letter sounds. We would just talk about the sounds at various times throughout the day. I would say, 'Hmm... what letter does t...t....table begin with?' Or, 'P says puh...puh... can you think of a work that begins with P?' We did a letter every day. Once she learned the sounds, then we sat down with the book to put the sounds together. I started with very short sessions at first. I also did not use the suggestion that the book gives to repeat everything three times. You can tell if your daughter knows the concept; r epeating a known concept over and over gets tiresome.

We tried to complete a lesson a day, but sometimes we'd stop halfway through and resume the next day. Once your daughter begins reading well, then get some readers from the library and show her how her reading is translating into reading 'real' books! After a couple of months, my daughter realized how much she could read. Then she started asking me to do more lessons every day!! Sometimes we would do four lessons at a sitting. She started to get so excited about her ability to read! So, hang in there -- m y daughter did not like the book at first either, but eventually even she saw the tremendous results. I now have a voracious reader who read over 1,000 pages this past summer!" -- Heidi in Wisconsin


"I am also using The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading with my twin 6 year old boys. I also really like the curriculum and the systematic way that phonics is presented. The lessons are short, simple and to the point. Yet, both boys balk and roll around on the floor and moan and groan and fight about who shouldn't have to go first when it is reading time! They are very capable of doing the work--I truly do not believe that it is too difficult for them. That has lessened now and cooperation has improved since we started rewarding with chocolate chips. They get one chocolate chip for each sentence they read without complaining. We are at lesson 100 (started in January when they turned 6; only in the last month did we think of the reward). Some lessons have 14 or more sentences. They think it is really cool to be given the chocolate chips even if they have lost a couple. Whoever volunteers to go first gets two extras! They do have to get through all of the introductory practice in order to get to the sentences and earn the reward. Sometimes if this has gone well for several days in a row I will offer a larger treat -- and they have to do all the sentences without complaining to get it. When I do periodic review, I often write words on a white board for them to read and they have to read three correctly to get a chocolate chip. They have to earn 5 before they can eat them so we can get through several words before their mouths are full. Of course, I do strive to always have an encouraging spirit in presenting the lesson; the more they fight, the harder this is, but chocolate chips have eased a lot! If they are really obstinate, then the lesson waits until Dad gets home but they've lost the opportunity for reward at that point." -- Abi in California


"I had a very similar experience with both boys, now 8 and 6. I had to wonder if they just didn't care about the 'story' they were reading. After we got about 3/4 through the book, we simply switched over to reading 'real' books. When we come across something new (or something they forgot), we just address it as we read and keep on going. It doesn't 'feel' like a lesson, they are just reading." -- Pam H.


"Hi, Natalie -- I have four boys and a little girl. My boys are all avid readers even though the youngest is only 7 and is still a 'basic' reader. My advice to any parent is to take it easy on the mechanics of writing and aim at instilling a love for reading. How do you do that? Read, read, read! I am a firm believer in the valuing of reading aloud to your child/ren. Let your daughter get such a hunger for good books by you reading them to her and watch how her interest in reading is sparked. It has worked for me - four out of four boys! I have no doubt my daughter (who's 15 months old) will be the same." -- Beth


"Natalie -- Your description of your difficulties with your daughter sounds just like my experience with my second child. He reacted much the same way to my attempts to teach him to read. My oldest son had basically taught himself to read at age 4 (as did my current 4-year-old son recently!), so I figured that by age 5 and 6, my next son needed to be reading, too. I knew that he knew the sounds of the letters and therefore should have been capable of reading, so I continued to push him. And to be honest, my decision to do that is the one I regret the most out of my so-far 12 years of homeschooling. Not only did that child continue to struggle with reading for years, but he developed a hatred for reading. I finally did back off and stop trying to teach him to read for a while, and when we did get back to it later, he was much more ready and the lessons were much easier. But the damage had been done, and it took years for him to read well and to enjoy reading of any kind. He is now a 7th grader, and he does read some, but nothing like all the other avid readers in our household. So, I encourage you to just set the reading lessons aside for a while.

Also, I would really encourage you to consider looking at a different curriculum. I know you said that you do not want to do that, but while the curriculum may be just what you enjoy, it may be the opposite of what your daughter needs or her learning style calls for. I have had to stop using curriculums before that I loved -- or that were much easier for me to use -- because they did not fit the needs of my children or our family situation at the time. I know it's hard to do! But I would really suggest that you be open to any and all possibilities here, and keep the end goal in mind -- your daughter learning to read. Her ability to read will affect her for the rest of her life. If she had some kind of medical condition, I'm sure that you would search far and wide to find the best doctor to take care of her specific ailment, to help her as best you can. Look at this the same way. So I guess to sum it up, if it were me, I would stop the reading lessons for a while, and during that time off, re-assess your curriculum, your daughter's needs and learning style, and see if a change needs to be made. Good luck!" -- Mindy

Answer our NEW Question

High School... How Much Time?

"I'm looking for a little wisdom from parents who have homeschooled through high school. I have a 10th grader. How much time should I have to spend helping her with her work?" -- Vicki


Can you help answer Vicki's question for our special High School Edition on October 28th?
Please send your response by email to: hn-answers@familyclassroom.net

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