At this time of year, some parents are told that their child is likely to be “held.” That’s a tough message for any parent to hear. As a tutor, I can honestly tell you that this is sometimes necessary and sometimes not. As a result, more and more families, including professional teachers, are turning to homeschooling. Schools today cannot produce high school graduates who can compare favorably in knowledge and skills with the eighth grade graduates of the 1900s.
Reading is the most important element of a child’s education. It is a precursor to any other subject. My elementary school teachers avoided phonics altogether and chose to teach word recognition instead. Like most children who do not learn phonetics. reading was difficult and not enjoyable. I got good grades, but it took a lot of extra effort on my part. It wasn’t until adulthood that I learned phonetics. I was amazed at how suddenly my reading skills advanced. It’s no wonder that most parent educators feel very apprehensive when they start teaching their children to read. However, with a little knowledge and the right tools, I guarantee it’s a lot easier than you might expect. So, let’s start that process in this article.
Thirty-eight percent of children are “hands-on learners” (Artisan Personality). Unfortunately, the school system does not effectively teach this large group. They are often falsely labeled as dyslexic, attention deficit or problem children. My oldest grandson was of this type of personality.
At a young age, he was eager to learn anything that had to do with action…like riding a bike. Bumps and bruises did not deter him. He just got up and went for the toy over and over again until he got the hang of it. He showed a great degree of intelligence in this way. However, when he entered the school, things seemed to be different. He was not interested in formal sitting learning. Like so many, he concluded: “If I can’t do something with it, it’s a waste of time.” You can learn more about this personality type in the book: “Please Understand Me II” by David Keirsey. He describes the “Craftsman” Personality as action-oriented people who bring excitement to their relationships.” Churchill and Patton were of this personality type. In other words, these kids are not unintelligent, dyslexic, or ADD. On the contrary, they are very intelligent. What is missing is the teaching method because it is not designed for action-oriented attention.
In third grade, I was visiting this grandson in his class. She was taking a written test and answering multiple choice questions. She got the first three correct, and then proceeded to mark the rest without reading them. I said, “doesn’t the teacher want me to read this?” “No, he replied, she doesn’t care.” Because she didn’t do anything wrong, this kept repeating itself, causing her mother to have to catch up with him every summer. Eventually, his mother pulled him out of the school system and he began homeschooling.
In the school system, it is not uncommon for these action-oriented children to be retained every two years. I’ve been given those kids midterm because the teachers had given up on them. By simply changing the method used to teach them, these children catch up with their classmates and graduate on time.
Unfortunately, the repeated failures of practical students are typical. If this is your child’s story, early learning curriculum must be action-oriented.
Fortunately, for my grandson, his mother found the answer. However, many of these children reach adulthood without reaching their full potential because they believe they are “not as smart as everyone else”, which is far from the truth and is the biggest farce of all.
We recommend that learning be presented as a game for young children because it is the most natural way to learn. However the “Guardian personality” adapts earlier than most to formal learning, which is the most common method taught in public schools. Similarly, The Guardian’s parents/teachers prefer to teach this way. All children should gradually acclimatize to ” formal learning.” (Note: One can learn more about the personalities from The Guardian and others in the book, “Please Understand Me II” by David Keirsey.) guardian personality. At a very young age she wanted to help and was eager to point out and follow the rules in the face of her brother’s frustration. My point here is that all children are different, and the school system often does not treat this as one size fits all when teaching. We don’t have to repeat that same mistake in the home school setting. Instead of deciding that a child should learn to read at age five, let her reveal her learning schedule and style.
For example, let me tell you a story about my second grandson. koti (“Analytical Personality”) He has never attended public school. His mother homeschooled him from day one. She read to him regularly and it was a fun time for both of them. Once he learned the alphabet, she tried to use flash cards to teach him phonics, which is a very unnatural way of learning for most young children. It quickly became a chore for both of them. I reminded her of a game I use to teach children to read. He changed everything. Koty quickly learned the phonetic sounds from him and begged to play more often than his mother wanted. He was able to read the first reading books. He even spoke difficult words like Premium at local gas stations as they played word reading on the road. However, he had no desire to pick up a book and read alone. After reading the book “Better Late Than Early” by Raymond and Dorothy Moore, his mother continued to read to him. At the age of eight, he picked up a book and asked his mother to read it to him. Having no time at the time, she refused. Impatient to wait for her, she began to read the book himself, and thereafter had an insatiable appetite for reading. Within six months he was reading at a fifth grade level. We highly recommend the book “Better Late Than Early” because it explains how important it is to accommodate a child’s natural tendencies rather than fit them on a square peg of our own design.
Whole Brain Teaching Verses Left Brain Teaching
The Conventional Method (workbooks, flashcards, lectures…sitting at a work desk) teaches the left brain and reaches about 45% of children. However, Whole Brain Teaching (“Total Physical Response”) teaches all learning styles by involving as many senses in the learning process as possible. With this method, children learn faster, retain more, reduce stress and dropout rates decrease by 90%. It also improves brain health making it a good method for people with learning disabilities.
As a homeschooler, can you teach your child to read?
It is a common belief that to teach reading you need to have a teaching degree. In the 1900s, many teachers did not have high school diplomas, and education was better than it is now. Unfortunately, there is no magic: if you can read, you can teach children to read. Of course, the right tools and information are the key to success.
(1) It is important for your child to associate reading with phonics as early as possible. Once they learn their first 8 sounds, they should be able to read their first early reader. As soon as they learn 6 more letters, they should be able to read their second early reader…and so on.
(2) Many children learn some of their phonic sounds incorrectly, making them slow readers or unable to match sounds to words. As a tutor, I have found this common with computer phonics games and in public schools. Therefore, it is important for the educator to ensure that the sounds are learned correctly.