So we've been using this very very good program for teaching reading and spelling called Spell to Write and Read. It's a great program that teaches phonics in a way that really sticks with the kids, and teaches lifelong spelling habits that persist throughout their lifetime of learning, reading and writing.
However, said program is also very teacher-intensive. It's too time-consuming and requires way too much patience and concentration for all involved. Especially in this household where I have 4 little distractions running around. It's been so good for us, up until now. She's learned cursive really well, and she knows most of the phonograms and is reading at grade level. But it's boring for her (Because it's tedious hard work), and it's frustrating for me, because I just don't have the time to devote to it.
So, following the wisdom of one of my friends,I have decided that the most perfect reading program in the world is not the most perfect program for MY family, if we never use it, or don't use it the way it's intended... or start crying half way through a lesson because it's too frustrating.
We've moved back a step, and have begun to find the joy in learning about things step by step, day by day again. We don't need to jump to jr high level spelling in one week! We don't need to be PERFECT in one day!! This is what I have learned over and over again since the twins have come.
So here we are back to the original program I bought and we are enjoying the slow pace. It has delightful stories, a fun workbook, short lessons, and most importantly... CRAFTS! The added bonus is that it's often very easy to incorporate lessons for our little preschooler Z into it.
Today, we learned about short u. E already knows that u can say three sounds, and she knows how to write them, and she can read words with them slowly. It was such a nice lesson, however, because instead of being boring, she had her confidence raised by being able to easily do it, she got in good practice of reading easier words, and she enjoyed the craft (making an Umbrella.. u).
Z did his all by himself too! He drew a circle first, then cut it out. Then cut it in half. I drew the zig zag for the bottom and he cut that out and then he cut out a J that I drew for him for the handle.
E's umbrella is done without any of my help or suggestions LOL. She even drew a secret message under the umbrella handle.
While the kids were making their U crafts, I set little snapdragon up on the floor to distract her from bugging her siblings, with a mat and some nesting cups to build a tower. She had so much fun that the older kids got distracted themselves from their work and abandoned the art project to play with the cups too.
I love this part of homeschooling.. the interactions and relationships that blossom from spending so much time together with their siblings.