Home school Curriculum Questions

What about teaching reading?

We've had a child who read at sixteen months, and others who began learning at three or four years old. The important thing is that you don't rush your child beyond what he or she is capable of. Keep the lessons short and rewarding one page at a time is often a good starting point for a youngster. If your child is under five years old and ready to start reading, then we suggest The Reading Lesson with its friendly format and slower, easy pace. If he is more than five years old, then we suggest Phonics Pathways it is more complete and gives a solid phonics foundation. (A five-year-old can go either way, depending on his abilities and interest level.)

Which history program do you recommend?

We have selected what we feel are the two finest history programs available: The Story of the World and The Mystery of History. Which one works best for you depends on your family. The Story of the World begins at a first- through fourth-grade level and grows with your child as he progresses through the series. If you have a bunch of little ones who would learn well with a story and worksheet/project style, then this is the program for you. The Mystery of History series is deliberately designed to accommodate a wider age group the core is designed for grades four through eight, with suggestions included for teaching to older or younger students. The Mystery of History is also laid out with the beginning homeschooler in mind. This series provides instruction, reassurance, and support for parents, while providing tremendous flexibility to meet your needs as a family. We have also found that The Mystery of History is more biblically accurate than The Story of the World.

How do you teach advanced math?

We have used different methods through the years, from Key to to Saxon, and finally to Teaching Textbooks. Our recommendation? Teaching Textbooks by a mile! We have never seen another program which is as friendly, thorough, sequential, and enjoyable as Teaching Textbooks. Best of all, it is completely self-teaching, so all you'll need to do is hand it over and get out of the way! Stuck on a problem? The CDs walk your student through every single step of every single problem. All they'll need to do is pop the CD in, go to the missed question, and watch the way it was supposed to be done. What a way to truly master math!

What about my reluctant reader?

Many children initially find reading difficult. The first thing you'll want to eliminate is any possible physical problem. Once you've checked your child's eyesight and confirmed that both vision and tracking are adequate, you are ready to work on the skill of reading.

First off, does your child understand phonics? If you give him a word he does not know, can he sound it out? If not, start here. BrainBuilder is helpful for children who need to build up enough processing ability to do phonics. PhonicsTutor/Frequent Words are perfect for the older child who is finally ready to grasp phonics. Phonics Pathways is an inexpensive and complete way to cover phonics with a younger child.

If your child knows how to read but just doesn't like it, then you have a couple of options. The one we most frequently recommend is simply to immerse your child in reading. Keep up with his math and thinking skills, but let all other school areas slide to give you more time for this. Think about it like this: a child who is an eager reader will find life much easier regardless of his or her profession. From architects to zookeepers, all need to read and keep up with what is going on in their profession, as do moms and church leaders. No other single skill (with the exception of thinking skills) will serve your child as much as a love for reading.

If your child hates reading, though, this will not be fun for him without effort on your part. Go to your local library and find books on his passions, ideally slightly below his grade level. This will make it easier for him initially and thus more rewarding. If your child is embarrassed by his lack of reading ability, try having him read to a younger sibling. That will give him a reason to read an easier book than he might otherwise feel comfortable tackling. Subscribe him to magazines on his favorite topics with some parental monitoring, career magazines (such as those covering fire fighting) can be a great fit.