Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Seeking a little bit of council

It is a beautiful morning outside my window? A soft breeze blowing the banana leaves, clear blue skies and a beautiful warmth beaming into my kitchen from the sun.

Is it at yours?

I am needing some good homeschooling advice and I would really appreciate your thoughts and ideas on this.

A Charlotte Education is what I am working towards in my household which basically is all about living books and narration. My children love to narrate after whatever story I have read, they are both literally bursting at the seams to share in there own words what the story meant to them and I really should write there narrations down all the time.

Narration comes naturally now, it's just what we do after every story. Actually I see narration growing my children's confidence, self esteem and vocabulary, it truly is remarkable.

Narration in our home is one of the most fun times.

But that is not what I need advice on.

We have been working through a phonics program and my son especially just can't stand this particular book, but I have persisted with the book because it's like a security in my mind, some sort of structure where I think he is learning. But I am actually starting to think this particular text book is holding him back only because he does the work because he has to. So now I am seriously thinking about ditching the program all together.

What is your opinion? I feel worried about it.

I need some good feedback.

This is the only textbook we do. For language arts this week, Joshua has been doing copy work, spelling wisdom and English for a thoughtful child and writing letters and he loves them. Is this enough? I just need some sort of great big push to move me on. I just need some real encouragment.

My daughter on the other hand is breezing through these text books,which brings me to another question. Do I keep on using this phonics program with her, or will she eventually get totally bored with it?

Being the only home school parent in this town and far, far away from any homeschooling weekly get together, I don't get to talk back and forth with all these issues. So this morning I am seeking some good council from my precious blog homeschooling friends.

I value you so much and this blogging community. I love reading your blog posts.

Your council today would be much appreciated.


  1. Sarah I need to head out soon but popped over when I saw the title of your post:

    I think Rebekah is about the same age as your Joshua or maybe a bit younger and besides I'm not an expert by any means so take this with a grain of salt:). some things that came to mind when I read your post which I wanted to share with you and mostly what I've read on yahoo groups and heard other mums say:

    boys can take a little longer to learn to read than girls which might explain why your dd is finding it easier or it could be that he learns differently to your dd in which case something else will work better.

    why don't you stop the book for a while may be a month or two and then pick it up later and see if it makes any difference. I've been told that can help sometimes.

    also, i think the copywork, spelling wisdom etc you are using is ample for him right now as he is still 6 am I right? even if he wasn't I think it's still enough because you are working at the pace he needs:)

    I'm sure the more experienced hs mums who read your blog will comment and give you some great advice:)

    I think what you are doing is GREAT with him so I wouldn't worry too much if you are concerned about him being behind or not learning enough. From what you've shared it seems he is already doing heaps in the LA department:)

  2. Rosemary's idea to have a break is always a good one when there is a block.
    From yesterdays's post, I think your son is nine. As you know my boys do not read well and I feel I left it way too long to check out what was going on with them. Always putting it down to boys reading slower than girls, not ready etc. Now one is almost a teen ager and not reading very well.
    Not to panic, but if you seriously think he has a difficulty don't hesitate to get it checked out. If he is reading okay then I wouldn't panic at all and just keep him going on the other stuff you mentioned. If the child is reading, this is the key to all the other information they need to access as time goes by, so long as he is encouraged and provided the books and other means eg computer, to learn.
    It is not easy being in a place where you do not have other home schoolers for support. Do you remember the post I had a few months back showing some of the phonics activities I used for my guys? Games like scrabble, upwords etc can lighten the day while you take a break from formal book work. Others may differ, but I have found that only the repetitive use of the phonics makes them familiar with children who just don't seem to catch on the way others do.
    Have a great day Sarah. Look to the Lord for encouragement and don't hesitate to email me if you would like some of our worksheets etc.


    That's the link to my recent post.

  4. Hi Lusi,I know you love the blogosphere (so do I) but there is lots of experience and sharing over at AussieHomeschool. Are you a member there? There are some great ladies, with wide varieties of backgrounds, children and methods... just a thought ;)

    You can unpublish this comment if you like... if it isn't helpful. :)

  5. Hi Sarah, lots going on here right now so I hope this makes sense! :)

    I would probably leave the text book for now ans let Joshua have a total break from it. A change is always refreshing! We use a little of the CM approach here too (though not as much as you I think). However narrations and copywork form a major part of our LA program. In fact this year (or late last year) I ditched the Sonlight LA sheets and the Sequential Spelling program we were using. I struggled about ditching them too, especially as my 12 yr old son is NOT a good speller! Since making that choice though our days are more relaxed and peaceful, less crammed with 'book work' and we have introduced Rod and Staff Grammar and Institute for Excellence in Writing. IEW alone is brilliant and we are loving it (It think it may be recommended by Ambleside Online?) My son's spelling is improving, but best of all his writing is developing! So, we have found our own 'way' with Homeschooling, still using Sonlight books, some Ambleside titles, and less book work. Take the leap! Give it a go for the rest of the year and then review it. Love Mel xx
    PS. I do plan to use Sonlight LA next year for at least 3 of my children and assess it as we go. :)

  6. Lusi? What made me call you Lusi? I'm a duffa. Please forgive me Sarah?

  7. I am so sorry to hear you don't have homeschoolers around you. I lived almost that way for the first 10 years of homeschooling (and there was no internet/blogging) and it was lonely. I am thankful you find it helpful to be in contact with "us" other homeschoolers through the internet.

    I am a huge fan of phonics. I think learning some simple rules really helps with spelling, etc. I use the Daniel Webster Blue Back speller, a simple book with lists of the phonetic sounds and sight words, to supplement Abeka phonics.

    However, as for giving you advice, I can only say this. I would encourage you to keep praying for wisdom from the Lord to discern if the issue is truly with a book that isn't suitable or an attitude that needs to be lovingly rooted out. I have had issues with both. Sometimes you toss the book, sometimes you work on diligence and cheerful obedience with the student. I feel confident that as you pray and glean through the great advice, you will find a solution that works for you and your family. Blessings!

  8. I'm not a homeschooler and my sons are too old, I'm with Rosemary and give your son a break. And I like Ruby's idea of word games.

    Prays and hugs.


  9. Hi Sarah,

    When I come up against a block like that, I tend to lay the book aside for awhile - and then at a later stage either attempt it again, or make the decision to can it. Some books we have come back to, and others we have left behind for good.

    With your daughter - if she is still happily working through the text and learning from it, let her continue, until she finishes the course, or you start to notice that she is no longer getting any benefit from it.

    Hope my thoughts help you out a little.

  10. Dear Sarah,
    I haven't read all of your comments, not sure If I am repeating what someone said before me. but I would like to adivice you from the heart of a mother. "Phonics is not for every child". I wish I heard this advice when my Anna was younger.
    I came to realize that phonics was not for her many years later. I was told by a very experienced homeschool mom "phonics can screw up some kids" It did mine, she had a horrible time with spelling, she wanted to spell everything phonetically.

    As I look back, i didn't learn with phonics. I have learned that when somethings are not working, it's best to toss it aside and maybe try again later. My daughter didn't do well with Abeka when younger, now that she is in highschool, she is doing well with it. Hope this helps.


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