The Challenge of Homeschooling

Dear Dr. Linda,

We have a 5-year-old daughter who seems pretty bright. She’ll be going to kindergarten this coming fall and we want her to be in an environment in which she receives the best education possible. We’re afraid that if she goes to public school, she’ll just get lost in the crowd. We can’t afford private school, so we’ve decided to homeschool her. We’ve looked into it and it seems to provide everything we’re looking for. However, learning how to read is critical and we’re not sure how to go about that. There are so many programs out there and each one follows a different methodology. We’d appreciate any advice.

Danielle

Sign Up for E-News

Dear Danielle,

Homeschooling your daughter is quite a commitment. As you said, you’re going to have to do your homework to decide which programs and materials to use as she progresses. Teaching her to read is the first challenge you’ll have and using the right reading program is important.

However, no matter which program you choose, your first task is to create an environment conducive to learning. She needs to feel comfortable and that you’re her ally, not her enemy. Whether learning at home or in a school setting, children have the same needs—they need to perceive that the person teaching them is on their side in general. They need to know that their teacher, even if it’s mom or dad, supports, accepts and respects them whether they succeed or fail at a learning task. If a child, or even an adult, feels their teacher likes them, will always be there to support them, and respects who they are, that student will want to succeed no matter what the program is.

Also, in order for any human to learn, he or she needs to be engaged and stay focused. You can buy the most expensive program out there, but if it doesn’t hold your child’s attention, she will not learn.

Many children pick up reading quickly and easily, some even at three. However, most children learn to read around 6 years old. Some begin at 5 and others at 7. It depends on when they are developmentally ready. Otherwise, it’s like giving steak to a baby who doesn’t have teeth yet. When a child is not developmentally ready to learn to read, trying to force them to will only end up with tears and resistance to even trying, sometimes poisoning their attitude toward learning in general.

Here are some guidelines for choosing a program:

• For years, children were taught to read using “basal readers,” like “Dick and Jane.” These programs were designed to teach skills such as decoding, fluency, comprehension and more. They were grade-leveled and part of a series. Decades ago, they were phased out because many teachers felt they were too rigid and boring. However, many children and teachers loved them because they usually had the same group of characters in all the stories and presented the stories in a systematic, logical sequence.

• The “whole language” approach took over when basal readers were phased out. In the whole language approach, children read from a variety of material. In one textbook they may read a chapter from a chapter book or a poem. For many children, these books are much more engaging. But for children who need practice with phonics, they presented a nightmare.

• Phonics-based programs are key, especially for children who demonstrate difficulty in learning to read. Whether faced with a learning disability or not, we learn to read by connecting symbols to sounds, first the consonants and then the vowel combinations. All beginning readers systematically move from learning alphabet letters to the sounds of consonants and vowels/vowel combinations. The difference in how quickly this happens depends on the child. Some kids seem to connect the sounds almost on the fly, while others don’t.

The best reading programs are those that incorporate all of the above. They are phonics-based, but instead of using endless drilling and worksheets, they’re engaging and fun. But above all, stay relaxed yourself and remember that no matter how fast or slow she learns anything, assurance that you love her no matter what has more to do with her success than anything.

Dr. Linda

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

The DACA Dilemma and the Trick of the Trickle-Down Theory

Here is our very own Sen. Charles Schumer on the Senate floor last week: “President Trump has stood in the way of a bipartisan solution to DACA, a problem he created in the first place, and yet the president is in this dream world. He thinks, ‘Oh, I can blame Democrats for the impasse.’ As I said, only in the 1984 world where up is down and black is white could this be true.

Cuomo’s Frivolous Lawsuits Cost Us Money

Since Donald Trump became president, New York State has filed more than 100 lawsuits against the federal government. This includes those filed by both Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It does not include lawsuits filed by the City of New York. Most of them are political in nature, filed to please the plaintiffs’ voting base. In the real world, if we had filed ...

Big Brother Comes to Mahopac

High-tech, government-controlled, eavesdropping devices—listening and watching and prying into our everyday lives—are becoming pervasive. They are being positioned on the streets and highways we travel and they can be programmed to enter our homes and workplaces through the lenses and microphones of the PCs and smartphones we use.    

Of growing concern is the ...

Beautiful, 'Clean' Coal

After completing his first full year in office—an alarming year, at that— Donald Trump has concluded that climate change is not a significant national threat and that the sacred lands and waters of this country should be sold to the highest bidder. 

The Trump administration has withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement; deregulated national landmarks; freed public lands for ...

I Love 'I Hate Hamlet'

Let’s face it, folks. Not everyone loves Shakespeare. Not even all actors. Andrew Rally is one of them. In fact, where there’s a Will, there’s a way Andrew will find to avoid acting in one of those famously timeless plays. And for good reason. Shakespeare tests, to the fullest, an actor’s mettle, and Andrew is strictly a TV actor.

He has just ended a star turn in the ...

A Trip to the 'Liberry'

Raise your hand if you didn’t—did not—call the library the “liberry” when you were little. I’m guessing not a lot of hands just went up.

Didn’t just about all of us say “liberry” when we were learning to read? (Well, whaddya expect when a place is named something way too easy for little kids to mispronounce?)

OK. Now, raise your hand if ...

I Am Woman, Hair Me Roar

When you have short hair, it is inevitable that you will spend an inordinate amount of time growing your hair out and then getting fed up and cutting it again. I have been down this hair-brained road several dozen times before, complaining for months until I am convinced my husband is going to cut it all off while I sleep just so he doesn’t have to listen to me whine about it one more ...

I'm Mrs. Heat Miser

To be perfectly honest, I did not need a large rodent with insomnia to convince me that we had six more weeks of winter. It’s been so cold outside lately that when I go out, my nostrils stick together. The dog is so hesitant to go out that he does his business right on the deck, less than five feet from the door, and then gives me a look of contemptuous indignation when he comes back in the ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 28, 6:00 PM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

Freedom from Smoking

Health & Wellness

Thu, March 1, 7:00 PM

Kennedy Catholic High School, Somers

The Kennedy Catholic High School Players ...

Arts & Entertainment Other Religions And Spirituality

Fri, March 2, 7:00 PM

Kennedy Catholic High School, Somers

The Kennedy Catholic High School Players ...

Arts & Entertainment Other Religions And Spirituality

Bazzo Needs to Get His Facts Straight

February 15, 2018

To the editor,

Once again Mr. Bazzo, in his Feb. 8, column cherry picks facts, ignores other facts, passes along lies and spins so fast to the right that it’s amazing he doesn’t drill himself into the earth.

Bazzo is correct—the economy is doing well, and we should give credit where credit is due. Thank you, President Obama for taking the economy from the brink of another ...

Artworks by Maria Angeles Hegglin at the Somers Library

February 23, 2018

Art Works by Maria Angeles Hegglin at the Somers Library
On display 2/20 - 3/31 

Maria Angeles Hegglin is a self-taught neo-impressionist born in Cordoba, Spain and now living in New York. Her oils on canvas present an idyllic sun-splashed vision of the world. She is a landscape painter whose work is notable for its subtle colors and tactile surfaces that she accomplishes with a palette ...