On Homeschooling and Mommy’s Learning Curve

pretending to read
pretending to read

Note: This column was published in the Barrow Journal on February 17, 2016.

I’ve been noticing lately how easy it is to sit down with my six-year-old and do his lessons. He might complain that he doesn’t like lessons, but when we sit down together, we usually have fun, and sometimes he wants to write extra math equations or letters. I’m always a bit surprised but delighted by that.

It wasn’t the same with my older son, at least when comes to the sit-down, pencil-on-paper work. Even though he could do it, I don’t remember him having fun. I blame myself.

It may be part personality. It may be because my six-year-old likes to sit and draw, so writing letters and numbers aren’t far off from that. But I think mostly it’s because I didn’t make him do this kind of work until recently, and since this is my second time around, I’m not worried at all that he’ll get it.

Whenever my kids struggle with something, my mantra is: “Don’t worry. You’ll get it.” That is, we’re just going to keep going over this in very, very short lessons, and eventually you’ll catch on. There is no pressure. We don’t have a test we’re cramming for. I don’t care if you get it this year or next, but I know you will learn it. And in the meantime, we’ll also learn about all these other things you’re interested in learning, especially since you’re absorbing it like a sponge.

With my first child, I felt pressure to prove to myself that I could actually teach him. So I started giving him formal lessons right after he turned five. He already knew his ABCs and all the sounds of the letters, so I figured he’d learn to read easily. When he didn’t catch on quickly, I got frustrated, and sometimes I took that out on him. Even when I tried to hide my frustrations, he could sense I wasn’t pleased. I know this affected him in a negative way.

If he went to public school, he would have been expected to start reading in Kindergarten and 1st grade. He would be expected to write sentences. I got caught up in thinking that he should be able to do those things because his counterparts in school were doing them, although really, I wonder how many other children struggle with it too?

It didn’t take me too long to remember why I wanted to homeschool in the first place. I think too many kids are being pushed to do academics before they are developmentally ready for it. Now that I’ve watched how my older son learned how to read so easily – like a lightning bolt struck him one day! – but not until he was ready for it, I am convinced that all kids should be able to learn without the pressure of keeping up with their peers.

The nice thing about homeschooling is that when you realize you’re making a mistake, you can stop, regroup, and try again. When I realized I was pushing my son at too young of an age to read, I stopped using the reading curriculum I was using at the time, and we tried other things. Many months later, we picked up that curriculum again, and it was so much easier.

After that, I knew I wouldn’t push my younger son to read at such an early age unless he proved to me that he was ready to learn. Waiting and relaxing about those academic milestones has made all the difference for both my sons and me. Learning should be fun.

 

Finished 100 Easy Lessons!

(We had a rare snow day here last week!)

Just an update here to celebrate that the seven-year-old finished all the lessons in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I’m really proud of him, and I can sense that he’s become more confident and has a different feeling toward learning how to read. Though sitting down to do his lessons is not his favorite thing to do, I think he’s excited to gradually be able to comprehend the written word.

Not much but a little…I have noticed him reading on his own without being asked to.  Once he sat down with me at my computer as I was writing my column, and he read a sentence that I had written!

So where do we go from here?

Well, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons has a list of books that they recommend starting with, and they offer a word list to go over with the child before they attempt read it. The first few books, I have discovered, are so easy that I’m skipping some of them, but I’ve ordered some of the others from the interlibrary loan system.

While we wait for those, I’m also using something else:

I inherited a Hooked On Phonics set from my aunt who is a retired elementary teacher. She had passed it on to her sister when she retired in case she wanted to use it with her grandchildren, and she never did, so that aunt asked me if I wanted it. Though I’ve heard some criticism of Hooked On Phonics, I never pass on something that is free, so I took it. It’s a huge set, and as soon as I laid my eyes on it, I thought it was too intimidating, and I probably wouldn’t use it. But my son walked into my room as I was looking through it. There are workbooks, tapes, etc. that I will probably never use. (But never say never!)  Then there are these single-page, folded workbooks with just a small piece of fiction or non-fiction on them and some comprehension questions. There must be a thousand of them, and they go from 1st grade level up to college level reading!

Though I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, I told my son I was probably going to give the set away. My son wanted to see it. (Maybe the fact that I said I was going to give it away made it more inviting?!) He wanted to see those single-page workbooks, and I said casually, “You wanna try to read these?” He tried reading the first one, and he read it just fine. He said after we finished 100 Lessons, he wouldn’t mind working on these. Who woulda thought?

So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re just going read these little passages (that get bigger as the level gets higher). Before he reads them, I have been typing up a list of words that I think may be hard for him, and we go over them.  Armed with those words, he’s been able to read the passages very well, and they make a short and sweet lesson.

At some point he may get bored with these, but I’m hoping by then, he’ll be well on his way into reading books of his own choice.

(I know my aunt is probably reading this, so THANK YOU FOR THE HOOKED ON PHONICS SET!)

1st Grade Homeschool Reading

If this post helps you, be sure to check out:

The Everyday Homeschooler’s Guide to Teaching the Early Years

***

Click here to see my previous post, review and photographs of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy LessonsNo matter what reading program you use, I hope my experience shows you that it’s okay and beneficial to tweak it to meet your child’s needs. And sometimes trying something new helps too.

100 Lessons 2

At the beginning of this year, I decided to start again with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I had started that book when my son was a young five-year-old, and he did very well in it up to Lesson 50. You can read about that in my review of that book.

Last year, I had him practice reading with a variety of resources, which you can read about in Homeschooling Reading and Language Arts for Kindergarten / 1st Grade. He was not interested in reading, and even now, it’s not his thing. He loves to be read to, but he doesn’t volunteer to read anything on his own. I decided not to worry about this because I felt reading would “click” for him when his brain was ready for it. (And I’m so grateful we are homeschooling because of this.)

But this year he is seven, and I think it’s important to try to establish those reading skills. I know there’s a lot of debate about letting children read when they are ready, etc., but I’ve decided to take the middle road and while not pushing him beyond his level, I was going to make sure he continued to practice and hopefully progress.

This is why I wanted to use 100 Easy Lessons again. If he could do that, I knew he’d be progressing slowly with each lesson. Two years ago we stopped at Lesson 70, but I decided we’d start back at Lesson 50, which is where the book got hard for my son at that time.

He did not want to do Easy Lessons again, but I told him that I thought he would find them much easier than he did two years ago, and I was right. He was relieved, and I was very relieved! He said he didn’t like doing the lessons, but when he is reading, he seems to enjoy the silly stories, and it isn’t hard getting him to do the lessons.

This is a significant contrast from two years ago, and it confirms my suspicions – If he balks at a lesson, or stares off into space, or fidgets, or acts silly, or slumps out of his chair, then the lessons are too hard for him. If he complains but still does it without a lot of coaxing, then we’re doing just fine.

So we’ve continued to do the lessons, and he has been reading the stories very well! He is reading fairly smoothly, and I’m very proud of him.

Hitting a Snag

At about Lesson 76, my son started to do some of those things I just mentioned: balking, slumping, staring off into space. But just the day before he did fine! There was not much difference between these two lessons, so what happened?

Without much thought, I stopped the lesson and I went to speak to my husband. Later I regretted speaking to him because I thought I reacted too quickly, but it turned out to be a good thing.

I think what I wanted when I talked to my husband was for him to agree that I needed to back off on the lessons. I thought, he’s balking, and I don’t want to push him. He doesn’t like reading, and maybe I’m ruining his potential love of reading. Maybe I need a new strategy.

Well, typical of a man – my husband couldn’t just listen, he wanted to solve the problem.

He thought our son needed to just practice more, memorize words and pick out books he would be more interested in reading. I didn’t argue with that, but when they got home from the library, and I saw the books my son picked out, I panicked. They were way above his level! I thought this had the potential of really discouraging him. But I didn’t say anything because my son was excited about reading those books, and he wanted to read them with his dad.

My ego was a little hurt too, but I’m glad I kept my mouth shut.

My husband started to sit down with my son whenever he could and have him read from those books. He was very patient with my son, and he only made him read 2-3 paragraphs. Some of the words were really hard, and he didn’t make my son read those. My husband made lists of words and made my son write them each three times. (Not my son’s idea of fun, but he has done it.)

In all, those lessons with dad have not been a bad thing, and it’s exposing him to some new words.  I hope it continues to help him and not discourage him.

We also decided I would continue to do 100 Easy Lessons with my son.  I realized what my son disliked the most about this book was having to read the story twice. I already had stopped making him read the vocabulary words twice (because I forgot I was supposed to do this – I’m not reading the script verbatim.)

Without reading everything twice, the lessons go much faster, and he’s doing fine.  No balking or sulking! I’m impressed with how smoothly he’s been reading the text because it’s getting harder!

Luckily the stories in 100 Lessons got a little better right when I needed them to. At Lesson 79, they started to have Part 1 & Part 2, so you have to read the next lesson to see what happens.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons says that once a student finishes this book, they will be at a second grade reading level. I have no doubt we will finish 100 Easy Lessons this year – we are at Lesson 92 now – so I’m happy that my son is right where he should be!

A few other notes about how I do Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons:

  • I don’t worry about doing a lesson everyday as the books suggests. We do them four days a week.
  • In the beginning it was helpful to read the script, but now that my son knows the routine, it seems silly. I skim over it to see if anything new is coming up, and then I just point to the words and let him read.
  • I don’t make him read the words or story twice.
  • I have found that it helps him if I point to the words with a pencil.
  • There is absolutely no need for us to go over the lessons on the names of the letters because my son learned that when he was two!
  • I don’t read the comprehension questions in the book anymore. Instead I ask my own questions and talk about the passage with my son. It’s much more engaging for him.
  • I don’t make my son do the handwriting practice at the end of the lesson anymore.

Basically, I have tailored this book to my son’s current needs. It works very well that way! No matter what program you are using for teaching a child to read, I would recommend following your instincts and make it work for your child’s needs.

Please share your experiences teaching reading to your children. What resources do you use?

Homeschooling Reading and Language Arts for Kindergarten / 1st Grade

A quick note about a resource you may like:

The Everyday Homeschooler’s Guide to Teaching the Early Years is for all parents of young students who are beginning to homeschool or who are in their early elementary years. Homeschooling young children doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, and this no-fuss resource will show you how. It will guide you on how to create an ideal environment that will honor your child’s natural desire to learn as well as how to foster creativity and tips on setting priorities.

This resource also answers many questions that new homeschoolers have, such as What are my kids supposed to learn? What resources should I use? How do I meet other homeschoolers? And much more.

Thanks so much to my readers for inspiring me to write this. I hope it helps.

Click here to view the Table of Contents and Introduction.

Click here to purchase.

Now back to the original post….

***

 

Last year I wrote a post titled How I’ve Taught Kindergarten Reading, and now I’m following that up with our reading progress this year. I have titled this page Kindergarten / First Grade because I really don’t know what level my son is at, but I’m guessing somewhere between K and first.  If your child is five or younger, I suggest you start with that post. Now my son is six-and-a-half.

I read over last year’s post with a little trepidation. How far have we come? I can’t say my six-year-old is reading independently or that he’s excitedly delving into chapter books on his own. Frankly, he’s just not that interested in reading (or math, for that matter), but we have made good progress.  He says he likes our lessons, but he doesn’t ask for more.

Since he doesn’t balk at his lessons (like near the end of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons), and he’s quite agreeable to teach, I feel we have finally gotten into our groove when it comes to learning reading (same for math).

In other words, I’m not forcing anything, but I don’t wait until he says, “I want to learn how to read” or shows an interest.  I do that for most other subjects, but I strongly feel that he’ll be more capable of doing the things that interest him once he learns how to read (and do basic math). I also feel that the earlier he can learn these skills, the easier it will be for him.

So how have I taught him?  Like always, I have used my instincts, and as for curriculum, I have pulled from many sources. I’m fortunate to have been given many educational tools!  It would be foolish for me to buy something unless I knew for sure my son needed it.

Time Spent Teaching

As far as formal reading lessons, I still alternate reading and math lessons Monday-Thursday mornings, although I’m flexible if we get busy. I also use Fridays for catch-up, if needed.  We spend about 20~45 minutes on a reading (or math) lesson.

Resources Used**

The main resource that I started out with was passed on to me from a friend who is a retired Kindergarten teacher.  Ready to Read Phonics by Educational Insights.  The reason I gave it a try is because the lessons are on cassette, and all my son has to do is follow along in a workbook and listen. I feel strongly that he is a auditory/visual learner, so I thought he would like it.  I stop the cassette and repeat some of it when it goes too fast.  The set also has some fun games and simple books to read.

This set has proven useful, but by itself, it has not taught my son to read. The instructions say to repeat the exercises until the child has mastered them. (A lot of reading and math sources say this.)  Well, my son is NOT interested in repeating anything, and I don’t blame him!  After one time, it gets boring for me too.  So I’ve done one lesson at a time, and I have followed them up with several days or weeks of other lessons going over the same material.  Simply put, I have used it as a sort of teacher’s guide.

The second main resource I have used is My Big Phonics Word Book written by Cass Hollander and published by McClanahan Book Company.  Each page spread goes over one letter blend, i.e. “-ag,” “-am,” “-ap,” etc. all the way to “-unch.”  We read each page, and then we use the accompanying stickers in a notebook, and I have him write the words corresponding to the pictures.

**These items may be old and not as accessible, so I encourage you to simply look for cheap workbooks at various stores such as Walmart, Target, a grocery store or teacher’s store. Go to library book sales. Exchange with other homeschoolers. You can adapt many simple materials to teaching basic concepts. There’s no reason to spend a lot of money.

Other than this, I have used games, videos and reading practice:

Games**

  • Long vowel “Go Fish.” ~ On index cards, I wrote out 36 long vowel words, and I made sure there were two of each long vowel sound. Deal six cards to each player and the rest goes into a pile. Player #1 asks Player #2 for a specific long vowel sound (i.e. “Do you have a long vowel e card?”) If yes, Player #2 gives Player #1 that card. If not, Player #2 says “Go fish,” and Player #1 must draw card from the pile. If Player #1 gets a match, he keeps them and sets them aside. Take turns until all the cards are used up. The player with the most matches wins. Be sure to read the words as you play.
  • Blends and digraphs “matching or memory game.” ~ I used a small blends and digraphs chart that someone gave to me, but there are many to be found on the Internet, such as this one. Simply make two copies, cut out the squares, and paste them to heavier paper, if needed. Mix them up, and spread them out on a table. Each player takes a turn turning over two cards, trying to make a match. If they find a match, they put it aside in a pile. Keep taking turns in this manner until all the cards are matched up. The player with the most matches wins.
  • My sight word game (sometimes the three-year-old plays this using letters.)
  • Sight word bingo 

**Note that you can adapt these games to teach a variety of skills.

Our favorite videos

Reading Practice

Most importantly, however, I have started a reading practice with my son. I try to get him reading even if it’s 2~3 pages in an early reader. This is where I know we’ve progressed because last year this was almost impossible for him.  Now it’s challenging, but he can read!

As we’re reading I remind him of all the phonics rules we’ve learned and the various blends. I don’t make him suffer through words if he doesn’t know them, but I do try to get him to sound the words out.

Our favorite early readers are the We Both Read Books, and my son’s favorite titles are Just Five More Minutes, Animals Under Our Feet, and Fox’s Best Trick Ever.

Language Arts

Last but not least, we make language arts part of our daily routine. I don’t have to worry about ‘teaching it’ because it’s going to happen no matter what.  Please see:

Since my son and I love stories so much, I have used this opportunity to teach him the elements of a story using a few worksheets in Story Elements by McGraw-Hill Children’s Publishing.  I’ll write more about this in an upcoming post.

Writing Practice

We don’t have a regular writing practice yet. My son isn’t particularly interested in writing at this time, but he has good handwriting skills, which luckily came easy to him. I have him write periodically for special purposes such as:

  • The phonics workbook (see above)
  • Our snake book project
  • Whenever an occasion comes up (and we take advantage of every holiday) to make someone a card or write a thank you note, I have my son make a card and copy a note in it.
  • My son also knows I’m available if he wants to dictate a story or letter for me to write for him, but so far, we’ve only done this once.

I hope this helps you think about how you can teach reading in a relaxed and eclectic manner! 

How I’ve Taught Kindergarten Reading

 

I’ve written a lot about how I haven’t pressed too much formal learning on my five-year-old.  I believe playing, fostering his imagination, and letting him acquire a love of stories and books is the most important part of Kindergarten.

I tried short, formal lessons though, and it worked for a while, but now I’ve stopped.  This is partly because my two-year-old has stopped taking naps and we’re having an early, beautiful spring, but mostly because he was struggling to stayed focused, and I feared he would start to hate reading (math too).  Since he’s above his grade level anyway (his birthday is late August, and he would begin Kindergarten this coming fall, if I were enrolling him in public school), I’m certainly not going to worry about letting him go at his own pace.

To give you an idea of where we’re at, he is a master at the ABCs & phonics.  He can sound out many simple words, though he is often reluctant to do so.  He knows several sight words.  He still struggles when reading early readers, though.  He is good at reading the online books at Starfall.com.

This is what I’ve done to get him this far.  Click on the links to learn more:

  • My five-year-old learned the ABCs very early, around 21~22 months.  It was part of our everyday fun.  (Don’t worry if your child didn’t learn the ABCs this fast. My two-year-old still doesn’t know them. He’s a completely different kind of learner.)
  • To be honest, I don’t remember how he learned the phonics.  I think he taught himself!
  • We worked through Lesson 70 of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  (That’s the longest and most formal of all the reading lessons I’ve done with him.)
  • Sometimes we play the sight word game that I made up.
  • He has watched Meet the Sight Words 1 from Preschool Prep Company several times.  (This was a gift, and he likes it.  I haven’t bought the others in the series though.)  If you have an auditory/visual learner like my son, these may be worth looking into.
  • I’ve sat with him and had him try to read early readers.  We’ve got many books, but I especially like the We Both Read books.  Since he struggles to focus, I only make him read 2~3 pages at a time.
  • We used Progressive Phonics for a while, and I really like it, but we’ve gotten out of the habit. (PP is FREE!) (Thanks to For Love of Education for telling me about PP!)
  • Recently I went back to Starfall.com. In the past I’ve let him play with Starfall on his own, but now I sit with him and do one line at a time (if you go to this page, you’ll see how each line is numbered.)  He can do the quizzes and read the books well, and I think it’s a good review/practice for him.  As we have time, I’ll keep doing this.  He likes it as long as I don’t push him too hard. (SF is FREE, but they’ve added more to it that is accessible via subscription, but it’s reasonably priced.  I’ve considered signing up for it, and I may in the future, since my son likes the site.)

None of this includes the exposure he gets to reading and phonics through other means, such as books I read to him, computer/iPod games, and television shows he watches.  Though he hasn’t asked to play on the computer/iPod in a long time, he does love educational television shows.  Right now he’s on a Super Why! kick, which has to be one of the best shows that teaches reading.  Another good one in regards to sounding out and building words is Word World.  He has watched that quite a bit.

As you can see, if you want a solid, how-to teach my child to read, I’m not the blogger you should read.  I have tried different things because 1) I had them or I could afford them, and 2) my son liked them.  I watch my son closely to see what he likes and doesn’t like, and I ask him too.

For now, this works for me, although I have great respect for those who need a curriculum plan laid out for them.  I completely understand how we need that sometimes, and we each have different personalities, organizational and learning styles.  As we teach our children, we have to find what works best for them and us.  Otherwise, we’ll get over-anxious, frustrated, and that will not help the learning process for sure!

What are your favorite resources for beginning reading?

Stay tuned!  Next week I’m writing a column about math!

REVIEW: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Everyday HSer Early Years Cover w border jpeg

A quick note about a resource you may like:

The Everyday Homeschooler’s Guide to Teaching the Early Years is for all parents of young students who are beginning to homeschool or who are in their early elementary years. Homeschooling young children doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, and this no-fuss resource will show you how. It will guide you on how to create an ideal environment that will honor your child’s natural desire to learn as well as how to foster creativity and tips on setting priorities.

This resource also answers many questions that new homeschoolers have, such as What are my kids supposed to learn? What resources should I use? How do I meet other homeschoolers? And much more.

Thanks so much to my readers for inspiring me to write this. I hope it helps.

Click here to view the Table of Contents and Introduction.

Click here to purchase.

 

Now back to the original post….

***

Earlier this year I decided to try Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for my then four-year-old.  (We started three months before his 5th birthday.)  If you look up the reviews on this book, which is also called the Distar method, they are mostly favorable, but I could see that it doesn’t work for everybody.  That’s not surprising because nothing works for everybody.

Fortunately, my son loved the lessons when we began the book, and I liked the book because it was easy for me to use.

There is an eighteen-page parent guide at the beginning of the book, which is important to read, and in each lesson, there’s a script that parents are supposed to follow exactly.  At first this looked daunting, but after reading the guide and doing a few lessons with my son, I saw that it was beneficial.  During the early lessons, I kept to the script fairly well, though I changed some of the words because I knew my son would understand me better with my changes.

As we continued on with the book, I didn’t have to read the script so closely because it’s very repetitive, and by then my son knew what he needed to do.  However, I glanced at each lesson beforehand to see if there were any changes.

What I like the most about 100 Lessons is that each lesson builds on the one before it, and it introduces new letter sounds gradually.  It helped that my son already knew all the sounds of the letters before we started this book, but the way it’s taught, you could potentially teach a child who doesn’t know any phonics. 

I have a feeling that if my son had not known the sounds of the letters, he would not have liked it.  Since the beginning lessons were very easy for him, it built his confidence and showed him that reading lessons were not scary.  As he sounded out words with these sounds, he was delighted that he could read!

A couple of points about how this book teaches reading:

  • The book teaches the child to sound out words by blending the sounds together instead of pausing between sounds.  For example, we usually teach kids to sound out the word “mat” by saying “mmm (pause) aaa (pause) t.”  The Distar method says not to pause.  Say “mmmaaat.”  This simple technique helped my son hear the word, and he was able to decipher it quicker.
  • The book also uses an altered orthography or symbols to help the child read.  That is, if the sound is a long A, such as in the word “lake”, there is a line over the A, and if it’s a short A sound, such as in the word “cat,” there’s no line.  Silent letters, such as the E in “lake” are printed smaller.

The altered orthography worried me at first because I wondered how my son would transition to regular books with regular print, but quickly this worry faded.  My son was so excited that he could read!  He said, “I can read in this book, but I can’t read in those.”

Three things I liked about the book:

  • The silly pictures: My son would read the stories in the book, and I would keep the accompanying picture covered until he finished. He always looked forward to seeing the picture, so this gave him an incentive to finish the lesson.  (Yet I can see where the pictures and stories might not interest older children.)
  • The book gradually introduces many irregular words or “sight words,” and since there’s so much repetition in the book, my son has most of them memorized now.  This is why I didn’t worry about the altered orthography.
  • The book also requires the student to write two or three sounds at the end of each lesson.  Fortunately, my son was already writing well and enjoyed this part too.  It’s a good reinforcement of the sounds and practice of writing.

Making my child excited about reading is the first step in getting him to read.  I’m grateful that 100 Lessons got us on the road to reading.  Yet, as we got further into it, things changed.

Once we got to around Lesson 50, the lessons got harder.  It wasn’t that my son wasn’t reading well.  He could do the lessons, and he was learning, but while we did the lessons, he would squirm in his seat, start talking about other topics, and act silly.  It was very hard for him to focus on the lesson.

I should interject here and say that the book claims these lessons will take only twenty minutes a day.  The first few lessons took only twenty minutes, but as they get harder and there’s more reading involved, they take much longer.  And when my child could not focus and kept squirming, I think we spent closer to 45 minutes completing a lesson.

Suddenly it became a lesson in patience for mama!  Fortunately, this was about the time we were going on vacation to Chicago, so we took a break.  After returning home, I looked up 100 Lessons on the Internet and began to read what other people’s experiences were.

I found one person who said a tutor recommended this book for her child, but emphasized that the lessons should remain light and fun.  Another man described his little girl as squirmy and unable to focus too.  He gave her incentives to finish each lesson, which worked.

Reading this renewed my patience with my son, and I regained my equanimity.  Here are some tactics I employed:

  • I made sure we had plenty of time to do the lessons.  I didn’t rush my son through them.
  • I gave my son “wiggle moments” when he got too fidgety, and he loved that.  I’d count to three and then we’d both wiggle for a few minutes.
  • I was also more likely to take a day off from a lesson if we were busy with errands whereas in the beginning, I kept a tight daily schedule.

With this new strategy, we inched our way up to Lesson 70 where we reached another plateau.  At that point, the book became monotonous.  Since my son was reading quite well anyway, I decided to take another break from the book.  Now I feel we probably won’t go back to it. I’ve searched my shelves for all the early readers in my house, and my son seems excited to be able to read real books with more lively illustrations.

Above is a photo of part of Lesson 69.  My son completed through Lesson 70.

At the end of 100 Lessons, it states that a child who successfully completes this program will be reading at a second grade level.  Considering that my son is only five-years-old, I feel confident that I don’t have to push him to finish it right now.  He is happy that he’s starting to read, and he’s reading early readers.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

If you have a young child who is struggling with reading, I highly suggest giving 100 Lessons a try.  I’m not sure it would interest older students because the stories and pictures are silly, but it never hurts to try.  Also, I found the book used online for $11, so it doesn’t hurt the pocket book either.

Have you tried Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons?  What was your experience with it? UPDATE: I will be posting an update of our experience with 100 Easy Lessons this January 2014. My son is now seven, and we are finishing the book!

UPDATE JANUARY 2014: We have finished 100 Easy Lessons. Read about our experience with it two years later here: 1st Grade Homeschool Reading