Sorry for the delay in posting. Our church hosted a Ladies Retreat this past weekend that I was blessed to attend. I'll be blogging about it soon, with pictures!
Some of the best advice I ever received from veteran home-schooling moms was to read to my kids as much as possible and let that be my first priority. This seems like such elementary advice, and yet, I have found that I get tempted to rely heavily on bookwork and "assignments" to teach, more-so than learning from reading good books and trusting in that old principal that if you teach a child to love to read he will love to learn.
There are days where it is incredibly hard to be home with all 4 kids and bear the responsibility of educating them, plus caring for their daily needs. I'm just being honest! There are days where I feel totally overwhelmed and fear I am not meeting educational needs. Then there are other days that I watch with wonder as the children repeat to me all sorts of facts that, get this, I didn't teach them. It is all from the wonderful books they read. Of course, this sort of thing can happen regardless of whether or not you home-school, I'm just laying the foundation for how I feel about reading.
Those days where everything is overwhelming and unexpected things happen are the kind of days that I will gather all 4 kids on the couch and snuggle up with a good book. I couldn't express enough how important I think it is to read to your children and teach them to love reading. One way to help them learn to love to read is to surround them with really good books.
One of my favorite online resources for home-schooling which includes a phenomenal book list is amblesideonline.com. This website is a free curriculum guide for home-schoolers based on the educational method of Charlotte Mason. I confess I do not use it (at this point) for more than the awesome book list, so cannot speak about the actual curriculum, but the book list is fantastic. The books are timeless, interesting, challenging and so helpful in identifying books that our children do not need to miss out on reading. I have printed the list many times (it is sort of grade-based) and taken it to my local library and almost always the librarian will comment on what good selections the list contains.
I use "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons " by Siegfried Englemann to teach the basics of reading. It is a simple, dialogue based book that I have had great success using with both Dori and Micah. The lessons take about 15-20 minutes a day to complete. I think I started around 3ish with Dori, which was WAY too young, and around 4 1/2 with Micah. They have learned to read at different ages and paces, and I think that is normal. I haven't done anything formal with James yet. Learned my lesson with Dori. ;)
As soon as Dori learned to read at a level without too much stopping and starting, I encouraged her to read to her brothers and to read out loud to me. I know there are people out there that think this is somehow wrong for me to have Dori read to her brothers, but I disagree. She gets practice and they bond. They have been doing this for quite awhile, although I think it is about time for Micah to branch off and start reading aloud or to James. Actually, now that I think about it, this may not work as they fight like cats and dogs. Maybe he could read to Judson?
I'm planning on posting once more on the home-schooling topic, then have a slew of other things to blog about that have been on my mind--such as: the Ladies Retreat (with pictures); modest swimwear (I know this is random, but there ya go); and some misc. photos of things we have been doing lately.