Saturday, September 28, 2013

Curriculum Series {Phonics}

The OPG is our Phonics book of choice.  True story, I bought this book the summer (or two?) before I even thought about homeschooling.  I have NO idea why I bought it, other than I was planning to do an "Alphabet Summer."  I'm not sure how this book fit into A-B-C activities??  Looking back, it was a God thing.  (I realized that after I started reading The Well Trained Mind.)

The lessons are scripted and quick.  About 5 minutes per lesson.  Some days we do 1, some 2, or some none.  Whatever time allows and whatever the kiddos will sit still for.  They will quickly be reading small sentences and fun little "stories" which are really a few related sentences put together.  Its neat to see the transition from focusing on sounding out each individual word to understanding the full sentences and stories.

I used this book with my 2nd kiddo when I pulled her out of school mid-1st grade.  I opened the book up and started asking her questions.  (I find it sad that before I homeschooled, I didn't really know where she was in reading, other than she wasn't struggling at all.)  When I got to the first lesson she couldn't easily do, that's where we started.  

My son (at 4) asked me to teach him to read like his sisters.  I picked this book up and we started at the beginning.  I quickly realized I didn't like the repetitive nature of the letter sounds plus (we had the Letter Factory) he already knew them all. I simply skipped ahead and started in Section II.  We've been going strong since then and he's almost done with the book.  Somehow this kid just instinctively knows how to read, so its very little work for me.  I don't even go over the "instructor" part at the top of each lesson anymore because he just starts reading "his" part on the pages. 

I know I lucked out (so far) in the phonic department and that teaching kids to read has not been a struggle for us.  I know it is a huge struggle for some though.

The Little Miss (3) keeps asking about it, so I guess I'll have to start her soon too.  She runs the show around here so I think it'll be a little different trying to teach her. :)  She already knows all her letter sounds (thank you Leap Frog) and some sight words (thank you Preschool Prep). 
 (No we don't to school by DVD, but we do spend a lot of time in the car driving children to extracurricular activities and waiting to pick them up.)

We also use the BOB books.  
My son adored these each time we would check them out from the library.  It was far and few between since they were always checked out.  I gave up and bought the series.  I figured I have another one who will use them and I can always resell when we are done. These are a great confidence builder.  Very quickly, they are able to read the whole book by themselves!  They are 12 to a set (I believe) and worth they cost in my opinion.  I bought one set at a time.

Other Phonics curriculum we've tried and let go of....

Explode the Code books
This was really just busy work for my son so he felt like he was doing "workbooks" like the girls.  I decided there was no reason to spend money on busy work.

Reading Eggs online
This program I did like.  I set all three kid up with an account about 18 months ago using a handful of promo codes.  Then they recalled them and we only had 2 weeks. At the time, I didn't want to pay for it, so we dropped it.  I just tested my 6 year old again to set up another account and he surprisingly passed all the reading levels, point in paying for something we don't need. I will use this for the Little Miss when she starts "school."  Hopefully by then, it will all be on the iPad.

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