Thursday, March 29, 2012

What makes a sight word?

Sight words what makes a sight word? 

Aren't all words Sight Words if you think about it?  Once you learn to read you don't really sound out words anymore.  You just read them. You know what they are by looking at them. 

Now explain that to a new reader. Not so easy, is it? Hard for them to understand that the day will come that they will look at words and just know what they are.  Yes there will be BIG words that they will need to sound out but for the most part they will be able to look at a word to know what it is. 

How do we get to this place, this place of knowing what words are by looking at them.  There have been thousands if not millions of books written on how to teach a child to read.  Some work for some kids and some work for others.

Just like your mom always said Practice Practice Practice. I know sounds cliché' but it is true.  The more you read or even work with sight word list the easier it is to read those words. Those words become books and books become adventures and knowledge that you never new excited.

So you might ask what is a sight word? To me EVERY WORD is a sight word! Learn as many words as you can and go as far in life as you can with those words. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

ABC's of Homeschooling - V

Normally I write a post on the ABC's of Homeschooling over at my other blog Five in Training For HIM. But today I thought I would try writing it over here. Hope ya'll don't mind. Yes I am from the south and Ya'll is very common in my vocabulary. Just go with it.

This weeks letter for the ABC's of Homeschooling is the letter "V" of first thing that came to my mind right now in my world of teaching reading and letters is Vowels.  There are so many things you can do with vowels.  We have played with the short vowel sound games  online.  We have play matching games with vowel/letter cards. We have used magnet on the fridge. Oh my kids favorite was when we used rocks with the letters written on them to spell things out.

Some times we will only use mostly vowels and very few letters to see how many words we can use. My oldest loves making word search games.

For the letter V this week I say Vowels are very important in every day life and how we teach our kids about them is even more important.

Link up to the ABC's

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What do you do to keep your kids SAFE on the internet?

This week lets talk about internet safety for kids. That is a big subject these days. How do we keep our kids safe. To me the number one rule of internet safety is Supervise, supervise supervise! No matter how old your children are young or teen, they need supervision on the internet.

When doing research for this blog post the top concern I kept seeing is keep your computer in public places. Keep your computer in the common area of your house. This makes it easier to supervise your children and what they are doing. 

Be involved with what your kids are doing. If they are playing a game with the others online you need to join and play too. Know what is going on at all times. Don't assume that they are dealing with other kids.

What about youtube. You gave your child permission to watch some silly video on youtube. Have you looked in the history to confirm that was all they watched. Even when you completely trust your children they are still CHILDREN! They have natural curiosity. That curiosity can lead to things that are not good for them.  Check out this forum thread where that happened to a mom and totally surprised her that it was her daughter who was looking at in appropriate things on youtube. 

I recommend you that you install a program on your computer that will help you watch your children and keep your children safe.  There are programs like Net Nanny and K9.

What do you do for internet safety in your house? I would love to hear what you do. Might be an idea I could implement in my home. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Online Book Club for Homeschoolers! is thrilled to announce the arrival of the first-ever book club featuring fictional children's books with homeschooled characters! This book club is designed BY homeschoolers, FOR homeschoolers, and is perfect for co-ops, support groups, and family studies.

Each book in the book club is studied using a mixture of worksheets, hands-on activities, and online games. Activities are available for both older and younger student groups. All books include din the book Club can be easiloy obtained, either at your local library, local book stores, or via online retailers, such as

Best of all, participation in the Book Club is ABSOLUTELY FREE! Simply come by to register, and you can access all of the book club materials immediately! While you are there, check out our large and growing list of books for homeschoolers.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Educational TV and Videos

My littles (Honey 5 years old & Moose 3 years old) are really into watching educational shows on TV or on the computer. When I say they are into them. I mean they really enjoy watching them getting involved with them. Right now Team Umizoomi and Bubble Guppys are the "it" shows on TV for my littles. I love how on Nick Jr. they share with you what the show will be teaching your child. Team Umizoomi is a math themed show.  It demonstrates how math is ever where and how it's integral to our daily life. Bubble Guppy's is a show that covers all kinds of topics from dino's to dogs and uses all kinds of ways to teach it. Such as math, science and music to name a few. My children really LOVE being able to interact with the tv during these shows. The characters on the show ask questions and my kids reply out loud to them.  Again these are great shows but there is only one problem, you have to have cable and you have to wait till they are scheduled to be shown.

So when that becomes an issue we turn to the computer for educational videos online. Just today we sat and watched every video on the website. Some of them we watch twice. Moose ended up climbing up in my lap and just dancing in my lap with the videos. At first they argued over which one to watch first. Then we ended up watching them ALL. It was so much fun to watch my children's have so much fun.  The Wheels on the Bus and the 12 Lady Bug Picnic where their favorite.

These video's go really good with the  Which we have been doing more and more of with my daughter. 

Do your littles (children) enjoy educational videos too?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Teachable Moments

The homeschool co-op my children and I belong to recently backed away from offering so many classes and educational opportunities. We members usually have more than enough school work waiting at home, and additional classes that might or might not be compatible with individual families' current study topics simply complicate things. After all, these families are home schooling because they have chosen to teach their children at home!

Instead, we have begun thinking about positive "school" experiences that we are unable to duplicate at home. Because of this, we have scheduled a monthly show-and-tell time, where students gain public speaking experience. Another monthly get-together is simply a time for our children to play in the park, without structured activity. (Think "recess".) Our annual graduation celebration, complete with caps and gowns, is always popular. Our group even had a dance last year.

Despite this attention to activities that are difficult to manage at home, we can't forget that homeschoolers are able to take advantage of "teachable moments" that could never be duplicated in a school setting. Two incidents stand out in my mind as examples of why my youngest son is homeschooled right along with the rest of my kids, despite being developmentally delayed and having some serious special needs.

I didn't think Joshua would ever learn, or even be interested in, the concept of "color". After endless rounds of color flash cards, colored blocks, and books about colors, I was convinced he wasn't "seeing" the difference, and I took him to have his eyes examined! After being assured that his vision was fine, I renewed my school-inspired methods of teaching color, without success.

We focus on one idea at a time with Joshua, so I began always referring to items by their color. "Look at the blue ball! Oh, see the brown doggie! Do you like your red truck?" Bathing him one day, I automatically started to point out the color of the water, before realizing that "transparent" might be too challenging for him. Remembering something my older kids had enjoyed, I suddenly had an idea that I, somehow, was sure would work. I dashed into the kitchen, came back with some red food coloring, and dropped a few drops into his bath water. Swishing it around, I said, "Oh, my! Your bath water is RED now." Immediately, I saw the understanding in his eyes. It felt like a Helen Keller moment, as he asked about the color of every item in our bathroom.

The following year, counting became an important skill to master. Joshua had been able to "count" to ten for quite some time, but it was simply something he had memorized. He had no understanding of quantity. Flashcards and educational games had helped him learn to recognize the numerals themselves, but they had no meaning to him.

Our house gets quite cold at night, and Joshua has sensory issues that make it difficult for him to sleep beneath a blanket. One winter evening, I decided I would put an extra sleeper over the one he usually wore, to make sure he wasn't cold while he slept. As I produced the second sleeper and began to put it over the first, he gave me a surprised look, and I seized the opportunity to point out that he was wearing TWO sleepers. Once again, the understanding that dawned was visible on his face and, that night, he was able to count the animals pictured in his bedtime story.

Neither of these were particularly brilliant ideas on my part. They popped into my mind because I had learned, without consciously realizing it, that it takes something out-of-the-ordinary to get my son's attention. As a homeschooling parent, I was there to take advantage of a teachable moment that no curriculum can offer.

I can get together with other homeschoolers to replicate traditional school experiences, but even the most expensive school can't duplicate the teachable moments we find at home. The best educated staff won't know what motivates my son the way I do. The most caring teacher can't compete with a mother's love.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spelling is it Important?

I was reading an article over on called the  Importance of Spelling  and as I read it I feel like they are talking about my son in the first paragraph. He looks at spell check as the answer to his spelling issues.

Let me go back to the beginning. My son has always struggled with reading thus he struggles with spelling too. We have tried both whole language and phonics style of learning for reading. He can read he is just behind his age/grade level. His father is not a strong reader either. I on the other hand am the strong reader in the house and love to read.

I am seeing more and more how spelling is a great help with reading. The more words he learns to spell the more words he can read. When he ask me to spell a word I try to make him attempt to spell it himself. Another way we have been working on improving his spelling is of course using but I also love the vocabulary games that are offered on too.

What do you do to help your child with spelling? Do you agree with the article on Importance of Spelling? I would love to know how you feel. Share your thought.