Dear Helping Hand,
I have a daughter that has been in a home bound teaching situation for nearly two years. Now they made her go back. She hates it, and has always hated school, but she's a straight A student who loves to learn. I just don't know what to do? I don't know how to get her started in homeschooling. Every one at the school board tells me I can't do it. Please give me some feedback!
First let me try to put your mind at ease. It’s not uncommon for parents to withdraw their children from school mid-year and be very concerned about their current abilities. Many children simply need some "decompression" time to get used to being at home and to get comfortable in their new educational surroundings. As they blossom under the loving attention that parents offer many "learning disabilities" take care of themselves. I am by no means advocating that you neglect getting help for your daughter for any serious, medically diagnosed problems that she may have. But the advantages of one-on-one teaching will probably do her a world of good.
As you’ve already determined yourself, reading and spelling are foundational skills. To get her up to speed as quickly as possible, I recommend the following. The first is a cd-rom program called "Phonics Tutor", available at http://www.phonicstutor.com/. Because it is an un-graded program, your daughter won’t feel like she’s being put back in first grade. What it will do is help her recognize and remedy any deficiencies she may have. We shouldn’t be surprised that many children don’t get the phonics skills they need, yet are promoted every year. If your child is one of these that has "fallen through the cracks" take whatever steps you can to help her be a skilled and fluent reader and speller!
Second, one of the best things you can do to help your daughter become a better reader is also the simplest. Begin scheduling time for the two of you to read aloud to each other, every day without exception. Choose your reading material according to your daughter’s interests, and include some educational material as well. This should be an enjoyable time for both of you. Go easy on the instruction and correction. The very act of hearing herself read will do wonders for her pronunciation, expression, and vocabulary. If you need help getting started, here are two resources: Honey For a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt is a book containing many wonderful suggestions for children’s books.
Online you can visit http://www.classical-homeschooling.org/celoop/1000.htmll for a list of 1000 good books, sorted by age and category.
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