Tuesday, August 15, 2006

That Time of Year

I actually have a running list of things I want to blog about. But I was reading about homeschooling this morning, and it's more timely than my list, so I'm going to ramble a bit.

We usually take most of the summer off from homeschooling. At least several weeks.

But if you're like me, it's always at the back of your mind.

I've got to "re-up" with our umbrella group. Print out the ID cards. Laminate them. Print out all of my info from last year (to have in *my* folders here, yes I'm that freakish about it). I've got to make a list of the material we will use this year. It will take me a good couple of hours. I need to schedule that.

However, I've already done a lot toward this year.

Both girls are signed up for a co-op.

Julia (11) is taking math, science and drama there.

Jillian (9) is taking science, creative writing, and art.

It's not the easiest place to get into. It fills up pretty fast. And this is our first year there. So I'm absolutely tickled that we're "in".

I found *all* of my other curriculum at the local used curriculum fair this year. I've got many of my lesson plans done (several weeks worth).

And I'm not planning to "start back" until week after next.

The girls SAT tests came back and they are doing really good. Amazing in some areas.

So all in all, I feel pretty good.

But I can remember a time when I was so worried and stressed.

Jessica (19) I didn't homeschool from the beginning. I pulled her out of school after 3rd grade. For many reasons.

It was a really smooth transition even though I had no idea what I was doing. Because you see, she could read.

Skip forward a few years.

It wasn't nearly so easy with Julia(11). It was reading that we had trouble with. All of the current wisdom says that they should read by the time they're what? Five? Well, five came and went. She just didn't get it.

Then 6.


I started to stress.

Luckily I had a friend who absolutely told it to me straight. She told me that Julia was bright (she is) and that she would learn to read when it was right for her to learn to read. And then she told me that I had an OBLIGATION to Keep it Fun for her. Did I want her to dread reading? Of course not. Then keep it fun.

We bought this:


And some Bob books.

That's it.

We "stopped" any other form of homeschool reading/phonics. We just listened to the tapes in the car. We sang. We kept it fun.

It still took her until she was 8 until she could read. It didn't just change her overnight. But you know what?

It changed *me*.

At 8 she learned to read. She is now 11 and reading on a 10th grade level. She adores reading. She loves series (like her Mama). We just yesterday got 9 used eBay books in the mail for her (a new series that her older sister read years ago) and she was thrilled. She's already devouring them.

My Jillian (9)? She could read before her sister. At 3 we were listening to the tape and she told me that she didn't need to listen to it anymore. She knew how to read.

Yeah, right.

I handed her a Bob book and told her that if she could read it, she didn't have to listen to the tape anymore.

Imagine my surprise when the child opened the book and read it to me. Word for word. With total comprehension.

(I throw that last part in about Jillian because I want to make it totally clear that it wasn't the curriculum or "me" that caused Julia to read late. It was just that she wasn't ready at 5. Or 6. Or 7. And I cringe to think of how the school system would have labeled this bright child if she had been in their care.)

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