The third is where I continue to struggle. Folks, there are A LOT of options out there for homeschoolers, and at times it can be overwhelming. And part of the struggle is finding what works for your children, who (guaranteed) are not going to learn the same way you or their siblings do.
Take Akea, for instance. We're on reading program #???. She's an auditory learner who can memorize anything from Shakespeare to Robert Frost...and she could probably pass a high school history SOL test. But throw a word at her that she's never read before, and she falls to pieces. I, on the other hand, am a visual/kinestetic learner, so I have literally cried over the past two years in trying to find a way to teach her to read without shelling out thousands of dollars that we don't have for a private tutor. At seven, I thought she'd be at least plowing through
I also thought we'd have started a foreign language program by now, but that's been put on the back burner. AND I thought I'd have time to teach her some drawing skills, go on field trips once a week, and do weekly history and science projects. We are a part of Classical Conversations, and I thank God for that program. And though we've done several lapbooks this year, it's been a struggle to find the time to do those, because above all, I want her to be able to read the books she loves so much.
So what are we doing? Well, I dig the whole phonics thing. Really, I do. I found a wonderful program called All About Spelling that focuses on phonics and presents the information in logical, bite-sized ways. And don't let the "spelling" part fool you. This is very much a program that can be used to teach reading, though they have come up with All About Reading recently. I've started that with Charlie and have been very pleased.
Last week I added in something else that I think is helping her tremendously. At my sister-in-law's recommendation, I got a couple Mr. Pudder and Tabby books from the library. At Byron's suggestion (he is also very auditory), she sits down with one and reads a chapter. On a scrap piece of paper, she writes down words she can't decode (read). I then transfer them onto flashcards, using my best wanna-be-elementary-school-teacher handwriting. We have a pretty big stack from just one book, and we go over them daily. Phonics purists may cringe, but you know what? It's working. It's strengthening her visual memory. And being the nerd that I am, I point out phonics rules to her, though I think for the most part they go in one ear and out the other. Maybe it's a Machiavellian approach, but she's reading those books beautifully.
I'm including this in the Rural Thursday blog hop because like homesteading, homeschooling is a bit of an "opting out." And I'd love to meet others who have similar struggles/solutions/ingenious suggestions.