Messy Times

Learning to read on the go

One area I've always had room to improve upon is sitting down and doing reading and writing practice. It's probably the thing that gives me the most guilt around home education.

On the reading side it's turned out fine for two of our kids who have learned on their own around age 7 & 8. They've since become great readers.

The thing that I find hard is the routine of dedicating time to practice. Yes we do embed a lot of this into our day to day lives, but intentional practice is much needed too.

As with all things that require consistency and a routine, we start well, but then for a whole bunch of reasons fall out of practice. Mostly life gets busy and really at home there are so many distractions.

In the past I've used Flash cards that we have kept in the car as a way to build in practice. Then when it was a good moment, I'd encouraged my son to pull them out and practice.

My son practicing sentence cards

This actually worked really well. There is often a lot of driving involved in home education. Filling this time up with something productive is right up my street.

I haven't done this with all my kids, but I'm starting it up with my youngest. She's almost six and I feel she's ready. I'm starting with easier ones to begin with. Some are letters. Some have pictures to support her and allow her to "guess" the word too.

She currently has five flashcard decks each kept together with an elastic band in the hope to keep it organised. They are kept next to her car seat. We encourage but don't force her to read them. Her older sister is normally there next to her to help her if she gets stuck.

Once she's mastered these, we can introduce harder ones and then level up to books.

The goal at the moment is to build up her confidence and enjoyment of reading. She's excited about it too and I feel I need to find the balance of her enthusiasm and being very specific about providing 'content' that is just the right level where she doesn't need lots of help.

And if I do the math with how much time they spend driving around in the mum or dad taxi, it's probably on average 1 hour a day. I'll be happy even if she only spends 5-20 minutes reading.

Messy Times

Life lessons for an unpredictable world.

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