homeschooling, homemaking, homesteading...home.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Words: A progress report

Cayden (3) is learning to write, which is fun enough on its own, but especially because it's been almost entirely interest-driven. I had made no specific effort to teach him his letters, either in recognition or execution. No flashcards, no drills, no handwriting lessons. (And no premeditation, it just kind of shook out that way...) What he has had is plenty of family story time (at this point, our reading material encompasses everything from pictures-only board books to subject-specific nonfiction) and observation. We did recite the letters of his name until he could repeat them. It was his own idea to pick those letters out on the computer keyboard. Imagine my delight several months ago when I returned to an open window to find the word "cayden" greeting me. It was quite a while before he decided to try his hand at physical writing, but sure enough on one chilly day I found a shaky "CAYDEN" scrawled on a foggy windowpane...and "MOM" on a second. He has recently moved on to try his hand at pencil-and-paper, and delights in inventing verbal spellings for imaginary words. ("Mom, what does C-D-X-P-2 spell??") He's starting to grasp the idea of the symbology having meaning. It's a very exciting time. It's also a bit validating...illustrating that a child will seek skills when he has a need/desire for them, and that academic knowledge need not be forced upon an unwilling or unready mind.

(AKA...the bulk of my rationale for homeschooling. But we'll just acknowledge that soapbox today; no need to get up on it.)

Theo (6) is continuing on the road to literacy. He finds the idea of "schoolwork" appealing and will often request worksheets or handwriting practice. He will take letter-by-letter dictation for short periods, but has limited patience for it. And he absolutely balks at the idea of attempting to create words beyond the few he has memorized. We play all sorts of word games (not because I am trying to Teach Him Something so much as because I'm a huge word nerd who enjoys these things--my 13yo stepson and I still goof off in that way) and it's becoming apparent that he isn't quite ready. He needs some more development of phonemic awareness before he can really make that next leap. To that end, I'm starting to focus my games a little more specifically, so I'll be able to tell when that starts to "click" for him.

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