Oct 9 2003, 07:13 AM
I was wondering how everyone does their vocabulary. Do you use your spelling words or add in a few extras just for vocabulary? Do you test on them? I have been getting words from Donna's list, reading books, and spelling lists. My son is to write the words, part of speech, definition, and two words from the Thesaurus. I have not been having him write sentences or take tests. Looking forward to hearing what you do. Thanks!!

Oct 9 2003, 07:57 AM
We used to get words from a thesaurus and write the synonyms and antonyms.

Some things that we did is

  1. Identify the part of speech
  2. Make up sentences (written or spoken)
  3. Change the part of speech by adding a suffix
  4. The word family would be written out and discussed (example: ab-rupt, ab-rupt-ly, ab-rupt-ness). Notice the word is broken into syllables.

During our homemade sentence structure classes, we would start with a plain-jane sentence. The children were to decide how to fix up the sentence by adding descriptive words, but there is so much more to the lessons.

This is where vocabulary came into play - If they wanted to describe something as "blue" then they would have to find "blue" in a thesaurus and pick a substitute word. While they have the thesaurus open at the word blue, they would notice that there are different substitute words for blue: sapphire, azure, gloomy, sad, unhappy, depressed, dejected, melancholy. They would need to choose the word with the particular definition of the "blue" that they wanted. (sneaky eh? ) Anyway, in the past, we were able to include good vocabulary "observations" and research skills with this method.

Links to my Sentence Structure Lessons

Oct 9 2003, 10:29 AM
We have a list of 20 per week.

  1. Day 1-Look up definition, part of speech, etymology.
  2. Day 2-Write sentences using vocabulary words (more than one can be used in a sentence)
  3. Day 3-ABC order/study (Wed is church day so we don't overload)
  4. Day 4-Thesaurus (synonyms) & study
  5. Day 5-Test We all incorporate vocabulary words in conversation throughout week.

Hope this helps.

Oct 9 2003, 10:30 AM

QUOTE (Donna @ Oct 9 2003, 07:57 AM) We used to get words from a thesaurus and write the synonyms and antonyms. In creative writing classes, we would start with a plain-jane sentence. The children were to decide how to fix up the sentence by adding descriptive words.

Thanks for the suggestions. I wasn't doing the antonyms, but will begin that soon . We have dressed up a few sentences, but that is like pulling teeth. I think I will need to do this at least three times a week, just to help him get over the feeling of doom . Once he gets the hang of it, maybe I can cut back some. I wonder if I could turn this into a game of some sort. I could do it with him and then compare to see who has the best sentence.

Oct 21 2003, 09:01 AM
Your post reminded me that we used to have spelling bees. The children enjoyed them a LOT!

Oct 21 2003, 12:04 PM
How do you do your spelling bees? I have a 4th and a K. Not much competition there . Would you have them stand in line (like they did in school) and give each words according to their grade and then if they get so many right, you give them a prize?

Oct 21 2003, 12:33 PM
I have two kids and they both stood together. I called their name (This word is for..) Then I gave a word that was for their grade level or slightly above. They stood together in the foyer, which sort of gave the effect of a stage. Whoever spelled the most correct words won the bee. (It was a long time ago, I hope I am remembering this correctly.)

The win was recorded in the record book. We didn't have a spelling bee certificate then, but knowing me, the winner was rewarded with something such as getting to decide something that we all did together like which movie to watch on movie night or maybe the winner had first pick on any candy that I had around the house.

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Posted > Schooling > Science > Nature Studies

Nancy in FL
Apr 27 2005, 05:21 PM
I have been planning on starting this for some time. I bought our supplies yesterday for each of us to begin our own nature journal.

I read about this in "Educating the Whole Hearted Child" by Clay and Sally Clarkson and "A Charlotte Mason Companion - Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning" by Karen Andreola.

The children and I love nature and science so I thought this would be a fun way to learn more.

Here are some of the benefits of nature journals in homeschooling:

  • Earth Science - plants, insects, birds, animals, trees & shrubs, weather, observing, identifying, measuring, comparing, listing
  • Social Studies - local history, mapmaking, nature communities
  • Physical Education - walking, exploring, hiking, outdoor activity
  • Math - measurements, charts, graphs, mapmaking, computation
  • Art - hand-eye skills, observational drawing vs imaginative drawing, art expression, mapmaking, learning to compose
  • Language Arts - WRITTEN: poetry, prose, fiction, nonfiction ORAL: description, problem solving, communication LISTENING: oral learning, group sharing
  • Creation Science/Bible - Learning about God through his creation, appreciating His creation by getting in touch with it

Another good book to pick up on learning how to begin one is "Keeping a Nature Journal" by Clare Walker Leslie & Charles Roth. *This is not a Christian based book and does have a lot of "new age" and "earth worship" philosophy and evolution in it. But as far as teaching the how and why, it's great. There are sample pages included. I picked mine up used on ebay for about $7.

They advise that you keep one every year and then keep them as heirlooms to pull out and look through each year. They say once you start it becomes a life long habit.

I can see how it would develop many skills we'd like our kids to have. I will also be doing one. I think it will be fun!

Do any of you keep nature journals?

Apr 27 2005, 05:36 PM
We did. I used ours to acquaint the kids with the natural goings on, the weather, birds, trees, plants, and stars, (bugs too). It seems to help to develop the basic science type skills of observation, analytical thinking and basic scientific skepticism. Research skills are helped as well when they look things up in books.

M. Diana Cerepaka
Apr 27 2005, 06:19 PM
Using nature journals here seems to have improved our observation skills.

Apr 27 2005, 06:24 PM
We have kept a nature journal for three years now. We use an 11x14" sketch book. Each time we go out on a nature walk the three of us share a two page spread. We draw what we see, write what we hear, then go home and get more info about those things. We look up the scientific names of plants and animals, find out what type of clouds were in the sky, annotate the temperature and wind speed, etc. We press leaves and wildflowers and include those in
our journal, and also pictures if we happen to have a camera with us. For stargazing I paste some black cardboard into the book, and then the kids use sparkly pens to draw in the constellations or northern lights or the moon phases or whatever. It's a lot of fun to do this with the kids. At least, it is for me!

We have Keeping a Nature Journal, too. I agree with Nancy - it is top notch as to the "how and why". Our pages have definitely improved since I read that book!

Nancy in FL
Apr 27 2005, 06:27 PM
I hope that each of my kids do get very involved in theirs. They draw all the time...every single day of their lives they are drawing something. And because of my son's natural curiosity about science, my two girls have picked it up too. They love observing nature and drawing what they see.

The only problem I see is getting my son to "write" in his. He is very scientific and logical. He will probably be good at logging the data that he sees but I don't see him writing poetry or anything. I may just be happy with that. I think it will get easier and more comfortable for them (and me) as we go.....hopefully.

Apr 28 2005, 07:19 AM
I love ours, we used a sketchbook and on their second, my daughter is using watercolor pencils for the birds and plants see sees. My son sketches in charcoal pencils. They label their drawings, take measurements, parts of the plants, latin names, origin and write a poem or descriptive note about what they see. Trees we have two willows about 3yrs since we planted and they draw stages of their tree with measurements and they each have a photo
with their tree at each season to compare each change of the tree and themselves. My daughters favorite place to draw.

Weather, moon phases, constellations, bugs, sun shadow effects, sunsets. Pressed flowers and leaves. This has been a great part of our learning.

Apr 28 2005, 07:51 AM
Good morning ladies,

I am just reading Karen Andreola's A Pocketful of Pinecones. It is based on a nature study.

Every time I read it, it seems to bring calm and peace to my moment. The chapters are short, easy and fun to read, so you can take it with you to the kids events and steal in a chapter or 2.

Because of this book, I will be starting nature journals with my kids.
God Bless,

Nancy in FL
Apr 28 2005, 11:17 AM
I have been thinking about buying this book. [Karen Andreola's A Pocketful of Pinecones]

Nancy in FL
Apr 28 2005, 11:20 AM
We began our nature journals last night. We all chose a verse, quote or poetry for our front page and then drew nature pictures around it. Mine says "The natural world is the expression of God's personality in a form that is within reach of all of us to comprehend in some measure " which is a quote by Mr Downton, a friend of Charlotte Mason.

I can't wait to get out in the field and use it! Maybe next week.

When I bought the journals I also bought special drawing pencils. I got the 2b, 4b and 6b type. They are way too soft and smear easily. I think I'll go with regular pencils or try the ones with harder lead.

Apr 28 2005, 12:39 PM
This reminds me of when we first started using a nature journal. My son had been in public school (k-2)
and it was our first year homeschooling. We walked out into the woods and he didn't know
quite what to write. I asked him -- what do you see? He didn't know. I asked him -- what is
this tree (we were standing in front of a pine tree which was probably the only tree he could
identify at the time.) He wrote in his journal..

"I saw a pin tree"

It was a start.

Apr 28 2005, 05:01 PM
Well, all this talk about nature journaling got me in the mood to go outside. My dad came over for lunch, and I talked him into going for a drive with the kids and me around Ft. Richardson - I'm so glad we did! Here is what we saw:

10 soldiers standing around a broken humvee
4 bald eagles
4 trains
3 semi-frozen lakes
2 geese
2 F-16's
1 porcupine
1 firetruck

And we heard ducks but we couldn't see them. The kids are drawing in the journal right now and having a great time. The geese and the porcupine really held still and let us watch them for a long time - the porcupine was neat, because he started to get irritated with the car engine and rattled his quills at us before he waddled away. The geese were swimming in a big puddle since the lake was still pretty frozen - the female had a collar on, and the male
stood over her and guarded her, keeping us at bay. It was neat.

Apr 29 2005, 10:33 AM
Alright you guys. I've got to add one more thing to my list for the fall! Thanks a lot!

No, just kidding. This stuff sounds Great!! Not only the obvious educational benefits, but also the family quality time! Even though we get much of that at home, there is something to be said for being amongst God's creation and being there together.

I like Melanie's idea of having one sketchbook for the family. Each one can have a contribution. They can also see how different perspectives work together. We will have to try this!

Apr 29 2005, 02:36 PM
We have been keeping nature journals as well. The kids all love them!

The oldest now though, he observes, draws, and sometimes writes what he sees. But he sure spends a lot of time observing, and thinking about what he is observing. He sees things the rest of us miss at times.

One thing that has helped with the journaling is the Missouri Frontiers. We are an official group, but don't send in the info collected for awards, but instead use it as learning experiences. The book is wonderful, and is free for all Missouri residents. They have a copy of it online if anyone wants to print it off. It just won't have a snappy cover! (Unless you
make one, that is ) Just go to Missouri Department of Conservation Frontiers

May 3 2005, 09:24 PM
I checked out the Charlotte Mason Companion book and am having a hard time getting into it. I came back to this thread for some wisdom, as I love the idea of a nature journal. We love nature and have so enjoyed taking
time to smell the flowers (or weeds) when we hike, but we don't make it a daily part of life. I love the idea of watching things grow and change and seeing that process unfold. Like the butterflies... that has been almost a
spiritual experience for me... seeing a miracle unfold right before my eyes... it happens every day but I never took time to observe it.

May 3 2005, 09:33 PM
Florida Junior Birder Program
I found this link that might be a help too... I'm not sure where I got the link...probably here.. but it looks good all the same. It's making me wonder what Virginia offers in the way of nature programs.

Nancy in FL
May 4 2005, 10:23 AM
Barbra-Sue, when I first bought that book it took me a bit to get into it as well. I have to admit that I am not reading this one cover-to-cover. I am picking the chapters that are interesting and reading those first.

We now have a few field guides: Insects & Arachnids, Pond, River & Lake Life, Shells and Florida Wildlife to help us get started. That will help when we are drawing our nature object we will be able to label them correctly.

I hope to be able to take the kids to St. Augustine in a few days to officially begin our

May 4 2005, 10:41 AM
I need new field guides... all of my guides were specific to Alaska.

I also like your idea of a kick off field trip to begin the process. We are so blessed in our new home to have a creek right out back. My kids catch fish and salamanders. They are trying to catch a crayfish, but he has been able to allude them so far.

I'm glad to know that it's not just me concerning that book. I like some of the ideas, but my own natural tendencies just don't fit.

May 4 2005, 10:59 AM
I think that we are going to start out with observing what we see on our walks to the library. And I also printed a copy of the Weather at Our House from Donna's site and use that. Then we are going to move on from there. I just want to see how it goes. But, this is a great suggestion for us as all my children love the outdoors. It is going to be interesting to see how this turns out.

May 5 2005, 01:51 PM
My son (7) is keeping a nature journal. He's taking digital pictures of nature and uploading them to kidpix and putting down his observations. He's going to make his journal pages a year in review slide show

May 5 2005, 03:06 PM
So, is there any rhyme or reason to it all? Or do you just record what you've found each time you go on a nature walk?

May 5 2005, 03:14 PM
Well I am just playing with this idea now... but for me, the idea is to take time and really see nature. You also build observation skills, research skills, artistic skills and a sensitivity to the world right outside our doors. I'm sure there is more benefit... but I am looking forward to just sitting and enjoying nature... we live a hurry up and go lifestyle. We choose our neighborhood based on the beautiful, natural location and easy access to the trails and parks. I rarely take time to enjoy it. Our kids will live in an even crazier world than we do (if our generation is any sign of what's ahead) and I think it's even more important that they build an appreciation for the incredible planet God gave us.

Nancy in FL
May 6 2005, 12:07 PM
It really helps to pick up the book I mentioned at the beginning of the thread. It shows actual pages of nature journals. There are many ways you can do one. It depends on your preference and what you and your kids will enjoy.

May 6 2005, 12:15 PM
It can be whatever you want! We draw/write about whatever catches our fancy on a given day. My son tends to focus on the "ewwww" factor, my daughter tends to focus on flowers, and I seem to really like birds and
mushrooms. The other stuff gets in there, but you can definitely see your specific interests emerging over a period of time. The book Nancy mentions can help you get started, and then you can just tweak it however
you wish.

Oct 10 2005, 03:49 PM
And Donna has some beautiful printouts for journals too at her website.

Oct 10 2005, 04:23 PM
Last week when we went nature journaling I took time to draw each vein in a leaf. Trying hard to be accurate. We also have geese arriving and we drew a few of the had a collar on so we wrote down the number....we'll see how often we see him.

Oct 10 2005, 08:24 PM
We have not done well with nature journals. I think I will get each of us one of those art books at Michael's. The kids have a hard time keeping up with the papers in a three ring binder.

Anyhoo, I think all of my kids are old enough now that I can sit them down in a forest and have them observe. I am looking forward to giving this a try, one more time.

We have a lovely nature park here in town, that I would like to go to again. I think we will
start there.

Oct 10 2005, 09:26 PM
We have only used our nature journal twice since we moved here - once to draw an egret and once to draw a toad. I've got to get it together.

Oct 10 2005, 10:42 PM
We use art books too. My "tip" is to only draw on one side of the matter how tempting it is to do otherwise. We also color our pages with colored pencils (although regular pencils will do the same) and the color is transferring from page to page all over the drawings.

My requirement so far is that they must draw three things... it's working well. They also must write something.... what they think, what they drew, what they heard... I don't care... something. I take great care in modeling my pages the way I hope they will someday.... My oldest does the best.... I need to help my youngest write.

We're going to Mount Vernon to nature journal tomorrow. Can't wait!

Nancy in FL
Oct 14 2005, 12:03 PM
The kids are finishing up their pages from Tuesday while visiting the At Augustine Lighthouse, the historic district and the beach. They are enjoying their journals a lot. They even ask if they can work in them.

I do have them work on one side only. They use colored pencils when they want to add color. It seems to be working pretty well for all of us. I haven't done one page on mine yet.

Oct 24 2005, 05:59 PM
Today our co-op took a field trip to the National Zoo. My neighbor and I took our kids together and actually ended up spending the day with just our two families. I took our nature journals and we couldn't keep up with the group..... we were taking time to draw and really see the animals.... they were doing some papers...a treasure hunt of sorts, my kids also played animal Bingo....however I found it to be one of my most favorite trips to the zoo. We were really seeing animals in a new way.

My kids still don't love nature journaling like I do.... but I required they draw so many animals.... When we went into a building I would tell them they needed to find 2 things to draw..... I still hope by modeling what I want, they will do better and better. Now my neighbor and I had the BEST time. We were amazed at all the things we were noticing by taking time to draw. Of course we shared our excitement with our kids.

Did you know cheetahs have stripes on their tails and it's a way to tell them apart.... Orang utan is two words. Elephants have long bushy tails (at the end)... Emus legs are extremely hard to draw! lets see what else...... I know I learned more than that.... I drew on about 4 pages..... some pictures big, some small.

I also drew a few plants I found interesting in the zoo.

I also want to draw the panda tonight. My son needed to sharpen his pencil while we were at the panda enclosure and by the time I got him settled the panda had moved and I never got to draw him. My daughter took a nice picture so I am going to draw him from that.

Tonight I want to color my drawings.... We didn't spend time coloring.... just artwork is getting better and better! I am very pleased!

Oct 25 2005, 07:43 AM
Wow, that sounds like so much fun! I don't live too far from the National Zoo and have actually been thinking about going but wasn't sure how I would handle it with 5 kids alone. I think though that you just gave me the incentive to go though. My kids keep a nature journal but complain of looking for things to draw and write about. They do however just LOVE drawing animals and going to the zoo would be a great way for them to get "into" their work. Ya know, I live even closer to the Baltimore Zoo and they just reopened it in the spring with some new animals I think... maybe I could go there instead and sleep over night and the next day go to the aquarium and do a whole new "aquatic journal". Thanks for the ideas! And have fun coloring, that's always the best part.

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Oct 7 2006, 11:09 AM
I'm requiring my daughter to read two of Shakespeare's plays this year. Since my day is wide open, I decided I'd study up a bit on the Bard. The book I have offers Shakespeare in context so the reader can have that sort of thing going on in their mind while reading his works.
So far I have learned that during Shakespeare's time:
-> Most believed the earth was in the center of the universe (Ptolemy) up until around 1610, and so it was with Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
-> People believed in elements and humors and if a doctor thought a patient's humors were unbalanced (such as having an abundance of blood) then the patient was cut and bled to restore his balance.
-> Religion was still tumultuous at this time.
-> There were two social classes: the aristocrats and everyone else.
-> Pretty much -- women had no rights, no education, and no inheritance. The husband was 'KING' of the household.
-> Mortality was high as cleanliness in medical practices did not yet exist. There were two major bubonic plague outbreaks in Shakespeare's life.
-> London, at the time, was a crowded city with no sewer system. Crime was high, law enforcement was low and there was not enough street lighting. Despite that, it was the social heart of England. It was a bustling metropolis
-> Back then the theaters did not escape criticism or censorship. They were opposed by puritans who believed the theaters fostered immorality. Additionally, the "Master of the Revels" job was to read the play scripts and remove parts that were not politically or socially agreeable.
That's all for now I should get back to studying.

Oct 7 2006, 11:25 AM
Have you read about nosegays's and baths yet?
I always enjoyed the non-school stuff about Shakespeare.

Oct 7 2006, 12:40 PM
That's pretty good Donna......what book are you using?
Inquiring minds want to know.....

Oct 7 2006, 02:10 PM
DD is taking a Shakespeare class at co-op. They just finished "Julius Caesar" and are gearing up for "Hamlet". To go along with the plays, they use a text titled The Brightest Heaven of Invention.
The publishers they use have the play in the original text on one page & on the facing page are various notes. She found that very helpful. Oh, dd2 used Folger Shakespeare Library.
They do the same thing.
Oh, guess what?!!! The London Shakespeare Company is coming to the local university & we're going to see them perform the dress rehearsal (cheaper that way) of "Julius Caesar". Unfortunately this isn't the play that Patrick Stewart will be acting in.

Oct 7 2006, 04:37 PM
That is nice Trish! Even if it is not the Patrick Stewart one although-- it would be great to see Patrick Stewart on stage.
Roberta this particular book didn't go that deep into their 'cultured' state. (a pun)
Ginger, the one I am using at this moment is Cliff's Complete Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. I will dig information out of a few more books before I am finished.

Oct 7 2006, 04:46 PM
All is well that smells well...

Oct 8 2006, 12:48 PM
What plays are you reading Donna? My daughter and I reading Hamlet right now with 5 students we meet every other week and use the Mel Gibson movie after we read and review discussion questions. If anyone uses this movie be forewarned that it doesn't follow the play but jumps around quite a bit. I have to watch and synch up the parts that go with each act.
Here is a little trivia I learned at the Ink and Blood exhibit. Shakespeare's Bible was called the Geneva Bible. That is the Bible he would have used and learned from. Although the King James Bible was developed in his time this was not the one he would have been referencing.

Oct 8 2006, 01:33 PM
He also was probably familiar with the Bishop's Bible ['_Bible] (the cliff's book mentions the Bibles of the time). I've seen a facsimile of the Geneva Bible []. There is a facsimile of the 1560 edition of the Geneva Bible at our local university's library. I've looked at it.. they do not allow it to be checked out.
So far we are going to read Julius Caesar first (because I have it in this Cliff's edition which is the equivalent of Shakespeare for dummies). Then we will read Macbeth. I have others, but I doubt we will get to them.
I've not decided on movies yet however..
Throne of Blood [] (Kumonosu j

Categories ,


Feb 11 2006, 06:24 PM
A family friends dd is 6yr old, she had to repeat kindergarten last year, 2nd yr now. She knows very few names and sounds of the alphabet. She's highly distracted and shy at times too so I guess when the teacher is teaching and Julie (this little girl) is not paying attention, they dont make sure she gets it. They move on and she's behind. She only has 3 months left and is no where near ready for 1st grade. I looked up the schools website, couldnt find an actual website for them but wasnt surprised when I found that they have not be recognized for their great reading scores You'd think 2yrs in kindgarten should do good, its good they didnt pass her but they definitely arent making sure she gets it this time around either. She is not mentally retarded I dont believe but she has very poor fine motor skills (Cant open doors, never been made to try etc) Her younger sister is a brute (in a nice way LOL) She's the one that would beat up a boy if she had too, not Julie, I dont know if its because she's been so girly that her parents baby her more or what?

Anyway, she's here this weekend so we can work on reading (well phonics) and I've already seen some progress in the hour of school we did today but I'm wondering why in a total of 15 months in school she doesnt know this stuff already! I have never dealt with public schools so I dont know anything about it on the parent side. Has anyone had a child failing in kindergarten and no one did anything about it? The father is frustrated!! He cannot read himself and is not happy at all about the school failing his dd in the same way he was. He was taught the look say method and it never stuck, I cannot tell if they are teaching her this
way or not. She says they work on sight words but she doesnt know any phonics yet so is she not paying attention during phonics or are they not teaching it at all? URGH!! Anyway... If you were the parent of this child what would you do? I am going to write a letter to the teacher (because father cant, he wants me to help, mother wont, not on her priority list ) I'm definitely going to ask what their method for teaching reading is but what are some other questions I can ask?

She knows that C says "C-uh C-uh CAT" so now every time she sees a C she says "C-uh C-uh Cat" no matter what the word is. I showed her the word CAT and when I show her the A in the middle of the word, she again says "C-uh C-uh CAT" Maybe they have let her use that too long so now she sees "C" as CAT sound? urgh! help

Feb 11 2006, 06:34 PM
That is unheard of! Failing Kindergarten. Isn't that just nuts!
Okay....that said. I taught my kids to read with Phonics Pathways by Doloros Hiskes. I wish I
was done with it I would send it to you. It would take her no time to "catch up" as you have
found out. My girls were reading well by the time they were 5 or so.....Eli, well, we're still
working with him and he is 5 now. The parents could work with her with this
doesn't take brain surgery, and it may help the father, too. I jsut read though that one
parent can't help and the other doesn't have it on her priority list.... .
If I was the parent I would teach the child at home while still sending the child to school.....if
they don't want to homeschool. or feel they can't.
I don't's hard to watch a child slide behind like that. Maybe if they see the progress
from time with you they will feel motivated to do something themselves. It's a sad
situation....but if she is only in Kindy...then maybe she will get more in the next grade and
find a teacher willing to work with her.

Feb 11 2006, 06:56 PM
The father is motivated. So, he is the one that would be doing the teaching. Needs to be
something he can read, too. Hmmm....I can't really think of anything better than Phonics
Pathways that Pam mentioned. I will keep thinking about this...but this is an unfortunate

Feb 11 2006, 08:46 PM
Ok I'll be looking for Phonics Pathways! Not on ebay but I'll search til I find it. I found the
site and it looks pretty good!!
Right now I have (as far as phonic books etc) ...
Hooked on Phonics (K) (this is Julie's)
Reading Made Easy with Blend Phonics for the First Grade
The Natural Phonics Primer with Blend Phonics
Word Mastery
Several of these are the free ones I downloaded from Don Potter web site
The only one I've really worked with is Reading Made easy, that is what I'm using on mine
but it starts right away with words and I just wonder if she's ready for that? I've worked with
mine with phonics for a long time (birth?? LOL) so they are definitely ear-trained for phonics,
Julie is not so that's one reason I'm hesitant to start with words right away, I dont want to
leave her behind!
Till I find Phonic Pathways, has any one used these? I really dont care much at all for Hooked
on Phonics, personal thing I'm sure, I just dont see why they charge so much to teach a child
how to read when every child has the right to read whether their parents have money or
not...anyway! lol
I've looked thru Word mastery and that focuses more on one letter at a time so I may try
that one since I have it on hand.
Thanx for the replies! I will be looking for Phonics Pathways to add to the collection LOL

Feb 11 2006, 09:04 PM
I know I sound like a stuck record on this, but Letterland has been successful in teaching
children phonics where other programs have failed. I am a big fan of the program.

Feb 11 2006, 09:38 PM
QUOTE(sumi @ Feb 11 2006, 08:04 PM)
I know I sound like a stuck record on this, but Letterland has been successful in teaching
children phonics where other programs have failed. I am a big fan of the program.

"After completing her purchase at for Phonic Pathways, distraught
homeschooling mother and friend logins to see yet another "Great book" to buy and shoots
her computer..."
LOL! I *just* got done at amazon... back to amazon/ebay/web to search for Letterland now.
Note to others... please refrain from posting any great books for at least 3 hrs.. posting of
new books can continue once that time is reached... LOL
Thank you Sumi..
And to others, I found Phonic Pathways on Amazon for under $20 so I bought it.
I'll be back in a bit....

Feb 11 2006, 09:39 PM
I've used Alphaphonics. The child needs to know the letter sounds prior to starting. It would
be terribly hard if she didn't.
I have a friend down the street whose son is in 1st. He is struggling with reading. The
reading teacher has talked to her and said "I've done all I can with him". I lent my friend a
copy of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and her son was seeming to get it. The
problem , for him, is that they are shoving the sight words down his throat and not allowing
him to sound anything out. I believe he is highly frustrated and is not bothering to try. 100
EZ Lessons does encourage the child to sound out everything--even if the word is not
pronounced the way it is sounded out. I can honestly say that this did not hinder my dd in
learning sight words. For example, she would sound out y-o-u and then say that is a funny
one and then say it correctly. Eventually she dropped that extra step and now just reads the
word as it is pronounced. My friedn stopped using the book because it is just frustrating him
more since he is not allowed to sound out in reading class.

Feb 11 2006, 09:56 PM
QUOTE(mimzie @ Feb 11 2006, 09:38 PM)
"After completing her purchase at for Phonic Pathways, distraught
homeschooling mother and friend logins to see yet another "Great book" to buy and shoots
her computer..."
LOL! I *just* got done at amazon... back to amazon/ebay/web to search for Letterland
Note to others... please refrain from posting any great books for at least 3 hrs.. posting of
new books can continue once that time is reached... LOL
Thank you Sumi..
And to others, I found Phonic Pathways on Amazon for under $20 so I bought it.
I'll be back in a bit....

It's the curse of the homeschoolers....buying all the books that everyone

Beth AK
Feb 12 2006, 01:30 AM
Yep! 'Tis true! If it worked for you it must be good....let me buy it and try it too!

Feb 12 2006, 05:41 AM
I taught my son to read at home - I didn't trust the schools with something so important. (I
guess homeschooling was inevitable for us! )
I would just sit down with her every day and use whatever program works for the little girl,
or even a pencil and a piece of paper (that was my curriculum ) until she starts "getting
You're sweet to help your friends like this.

Feb 12 2006, 06:19 AM
Thank you Melanie , I do appreciate your words!
The father offered to pay me, pretty much whatever I wanted to do this (He paid a tutor
$300 a month for himself a few years back and still cannot read..) But I told him that I
couldnt put a price on teaching a child to read. Every human has the right to learn to read
and *I* cannot be paid for giving that child what is rightfully theirs. (Which is why I refuse to
pay for high priced phonic programs lol) I dont see how they can charge so much and make
such a huge profit off of giving a human something that is rightfully theirs. I am a collector of
phonics books, yes.. LOL We have realized that but I think the most expensive one I've paid
for was the Phonics Pathways which was $16.
My *dream* is to teach other kids or tutor them if they are struggling in reading, I dont
know where or when I'll start as time isnt allowing much right now. I am not the best teacher
or wanting a huge pat on the back, the ultimate payment is when just 1 more child "gets it"..
then 2.. then 3. I'd love to teach in PS when my kids are grown. I figure I'll be an expert by
then, what else would I do LOL
Anyway sorry to ramble...

Feb 12 2006, 06:53 AM
Aww... I think it is great that you are helping them out. I was just curious though if I am not being to nosy why exactly is this not a high priority for the mother? I was all so thinking and this may seem silly that if you found something that works for the daughter it
might for the father

Feb 12 2006, 11:17 AM
=QUOTE(mom-to-five @ Feb 12 2006, 05:53 AM)
Aww... I think it is great that you are helping them out. I was just curious though if I am not being to nosy why exactly is this not a high priority for the mother? I was all so thinking and this may seem silly that if you found something that works for the daughter it might for the father

The mother is just not hmm how to put it nicely LOL She loves her kids but doesn't love the responsibility that comes with it? She wouldn't ever neglect her kids but when it comes to emotional love and attention, she's not there at all for them. Its kinda like "Ok, I gave birth to you, now you are on your own, I'll feed you but that's about it" She doesn't sit and talk with her kids daily, she doesn't ever play with them, she's either at work or on her computer and the kids are just *there* Last summer I brought their middle dd to my house a lot. I would have her for a week or more and the only one that called would be the father. The mom never called or seemed to care how she was doing and when I brought her back, it was kinda like "Already??" Then we'd usually stay for a bit and after a few hours the mom would say "Are you taking her back with you?" The dd isn't a bad child at all (I don't believe in such a thing LOL) the mom just didn't want to deal with them.
She can read and could easily help Julie but wont . I live an hour away so it's hard for me to constantly help her. I plan on bringing Julie over for Spring Break to give her a whole week of learning.
I've been looking into stuff to help the father also, he's going to take more work because he's gone 30 yrs with the wrong way of learning to read. I've found out its a lot more complicated
There's a block there in the brain on reading and once that's removed, then he can start over and learn but gotta get the blockage down first.

Feb 12 2006, 04:14 PM
That Phonics Pathways was written with remediation in is not babyish or
anything....just laid out and matter of fact. They do have a "mascot".... Dewey the
bookworm....but it isn't a big deal. I think this book would help the Father, too.
It starts with short vowel sounds.....
Then it adds consonants in front of the short vowels...
sa, se, si, so, su
ma, me, mi, mo, mu
and so on....
when a few consonants are learned then short owrds are introduced.... like run, Les, fun, etc.
Then it takes off from there.

Feb 15 2006, 10:36 AM
I worked in a aftercare program at a local public school and had a two "lost boys". The local public school system at that time taught whole language method only and they were completely clueless about reading. I used a book from the library call How to Tutor by Samuel Blumenfield, who created Alpha Phonics. The reading section was a simple step by step method of teaching reading. I copied several pages and made basic daily lessons for the boys and worked 15 minutes a day for each boy during the homework time. I saw a lot of improvement in a year's time.
How to Tutor might be a good choice for both father and child. Also, you said that the dad has a reading problem. You might want to pick up the book Phonics A to Z by Wiley Blevins from Scholastic. This is an AWESOME resource book for anyone wanting to understand the phonic method. It is very readable and had great practical resources. If you get it (or inter-library loan), read section 5 Meeting Individual Needs and photocopy alphabet recognition assessment and the phonemic awareness assessment to give to Julie the first day she arrives and assess where she is. The book also give great ideas for books and activities to teach the all levels of phonics instruction and list of tests and assessments if you still have problems.
Also, has anyone informed the school about the father's reading problems? Learning
disabilities run in families and they may want to have her assessed by the school special education program. There maybe a processing disability there that no one knows about.
Please keep us updated about this family and we will keep you in our prayers.

Feb 15 2006, 11:06 AM
I think I would start with the alphabet and make sure she even knows her letters. You can "retrain" her to understand that "c" makes the c (try not to use "uh" in it). It might be confusing to try to say a word without the "uh" attached to the "c".
Sounds like dad can learn too, just need to find the key that opens that door. At least he's motivated--that's more than half the battle.
Also, maybe some self-confidence is missing there--on both parts??? Or just Julie.? A little accomplishment will probably do wonders for her.
I learned by taking "at" and adding all the consonants that would make words: bat, cat. etc.
But you know, it might help to add every consonant--even if it doesn't make a "real" word--
just to reinforce the sounds.
Does dad understand any basics of word or even letter sounds?
I know, not much help, but maybe the answers to some of these questions will provide some
Good luck.

Feb 15 2006, 12:29 PM
QUOTE(mimzie @ Feb 12 2006, 11:17 AM)
She wouldn't ever neglect her kids but when it comes to emotional love and attention, she's not there at all for them. Its kinda like "Ok, I gave birth to you, now you are on your own, I'll feed you but that's about it" She doesn't sit and talk with her kids daily, she doesn't ever play with them, she's either at work or on her computer and the kids are just *there* I'm sorry but I would consider this neglect. Parenting is a lot more than just giving birth. Just my 2 cents....
I'm glad to see that dad is willing to go the extra mile even when he struggles with the same issue. I also think it's great he wants to pay you..... consider the payment for your time away from your own family...not the gift of reading. Good luck!

Feb 15 2006, 04:30 PM

Thanx for the books, I'll be looking them up! (Yes, its an addiction! lol) Can one have *too many* phonics books? I think not! LOL
She does still have trouble with the alphabet so I'm trying to teach it all as we go with Starting at Square One
I dont know if the school knows, I'm sure they do but I'll ask and see if he has told them. I've also been doing a lot of research on the net on dyslexia (which the father has) and a lot of it says that *some* dyslexia is from the way they were taught to read which probably rings true in this case so I'm kinda scared to say that is Julie's problem, I don't want the school to label her as that just because the father has it too ya know? I don't want them to give up on her I guess.
She did really well when I worked with her over the weekend. It seemed to almost click!

self-confidence is a BIG part of it!! She's use to everyone just telling her what it is but while she was here she got out the flash cards and pretended to be teacher with the other kids and I was observing every second of it... little did she know.. LOL and she would say "What's this letter... It's a..(whatever it was)" She did probably 10 of them (But when we work with her on them she doesn't know any of them, she just sits there saying "I don't know") Its like she's scared to get it wrong?? Maybe she isnt praised enough at school for the little accomplishments? (We mad a HUGE deal out of "cab" when she got it right, we made a certificate and everything LOL) So hopefully that will boost her confidence some.

I dont know what level the dad can read on, he knows cat, dog, etc, I'm not sure if he knows all CVC words or just a few of them, at first he was pretty embarrassed about it but I think he's getting more comfortable with letting me know he cant read much at all. I have several test I could do with him but I don't know if he's ready for me to know that much ya know? I talked with him about it the other day, just a little to let it sink in and I'll talk with him more about it later. We are pretty close, he's like a brother to me so he's learning not to be embarrassed about that stuff with me.

I agree about the neglect thing but I didn't want to say "She's a horrible mother..." LOL I had to give her a little credit Last summer when she knew Julie would probably be going back to K, the school had given her a book to work with her and a cd (full workbook) and she gave it to me saying "Here, do you want this for your kids, we'll never use it so it shouldn't sit here and collect dust"

The dad is very determined to not let what happened to him, happen to his dd.
I think a lot of Julie's probably is that she doesn't ever have to think for herself, she knows if she just sits there, someone will tell her the answer so she's not having to think at all for herself.... in a classroom full of kids, she's not the first to answer so she just listens for the answer and that's about it, then at home, dad works with her and when she just sits there waiting for the answer, he gives it to her thinking she doesn't know it at all... but like I said, maybe she's scared to try for getting it wrong? Hopefully over spring break I can work with her enough and give her the confidence she needs.
Thanx again to everyone that has replied!

Feb 15 2006, 08:09 PM
=QUOTE(mimzie @ Feb 15 2006, 02:30 PM)
at first he was pretty embarrassed about it but I think he's getting more comfortable with letting me know he cant read much at all. I have several test I could do with him but I don't know if he's ready for me to know that much ya know? I talked with him about it the other day, just a little to let it sink in and I'll talk with him more about it later. We are pretty close, he's like a brother to me so he's learning not to be embarrassed about that stuff with me.

You know, dad needs to understand that intelligence has nothing to do with education. He has a learning disability--which can be fixed.
Good for you for working with him and daughter.
Perhaps Julie could "teach" you. Purposely get the letters or sounds wrong. Let her correct
Good luck.


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Feb 11 2006, 03:03 AM
When do we actually start "reading" books?
Zachary has really picked up in reading (I'm sure if I looked through this thread, I'd see where I was posting worries about his not reading not too long ago) Well he is reading and doing pretty good at it!! Tonight he read "Ziploc" and it amazed me!! LOL I know, not a big step but I'm so new to this (Zachary is my first) so I'm at a lost as to when to call it "reading" I feel he is just now "reading" since he is sounding out words pretty good?? I've heard others claim reading when they know the sounds of the letters as reading, who knows?

I know it all takes practice and we are going VERY slowly through the McGuffy Primer, Should I let him read 1 page and go on or make him read the pages over and over until he reads them quickly? The first page is "A cat and a rat. A rat and a cat." and that is it, next page adds a few words and so on. Right now we start with page 1 and read all the way to the review (which is 6 pages or so) then next day we do the same, start with page 1 and read to the review. Maybe do this on a week basis or let him move on daily as long as he sounds out each word correctly? This is pretty much the first book he has ever read so I think he's doing pretty good. I have TONS of the little phonics books and beginning reader books but he had NO interest in them at all and only read *maybe* 3 of them. He hasn't been over joyed with reading but day by day he's getting use to the idea of reading daily. Anyway, what do I do?

Feb 11 2006, 08:33 AM
It sounds like you are doing pretty well. My two girls learned to read together and one of
them is a very strong reader and the other one only reads when she is curious. I kept
stressing to them that reading is like riding a bike or something and that you have to
practice to get good at it. Now they stay up until 11:00 pm or so reading and talking all night's cute. My girls are doing second grade work.
I would keep him reading like you are.....enough review to keep him at it and some new stuff
to challenge him. I think it is important to let them read what they will be very easy
but it reinforces what they are learning. It is also important to keep the
learning going.
I put all those easy readers I had out where my girls could get to them easily......on the
coffee table, in their rooms, in the bathroom, etc. They never read all of them...but they did
peruse them fairly often. I think just having them around and accessible helped.
Now I need to get my 5 year old Eli reading......
Congratulations, by the way!!! You've made a reader! Way to go!!

Feb 11 2006, 12:00 PM
I agree w/ Pam....saturate your home w/reading material; above, at, and below his current
reading level. Maybe entice him w/ a trip to the library or bookstore. Sometimes they're
more apt to read something they've picked out...sometimes not. Follow your child's lead on
how much to read.

Feb 11 2006, 12:06 PM
I will give Pam a third "yay". Great advice.
Saturating your home with good stuff is a great idea too. Oh, and ask your child to find
words in the the Glad bags or other containers with labels. We used to drive now
the road and I would ask my girls to read as many signs as they could to me. It was like a
game. Fun.
Congratulations! How exciting!!!!

Feb 11 2006, 12:26 PM
I just wanted to add, we do have books EVERY where!! lol We have 2 FULL book shelves in
this room (our school room), a full one in the kitchen and a full one in the front room. We
even have 1 filing cabinet drawer full and in alphabetical order (The ones in the filing cabinet
are the beginner reader ones) He has full access to them but just doesn't care much to get
them out and read them. Maybe they are too babyish for him?
I was thinking last night after I posted, maybe if we took more TV time away, he'd have
nothing else to do but read?? LOL Did that ever work for anyone? We are using the Robinson
Curriculum so reading isn't going to be something to pick from, it's going to be a MUST!
Anyway, I just wanted to mention that we do have TONS of books (I live at half price books
sometimes!) and never walk out with less than $50 worth of clearance books ($1 or less
each) But like yall said, maybe I need to let him pick some out so he feels they are HIS. (I
usually go by myself cause I like to spend hours just going thru the clearance) He's always
excited to see the new loot but that's about as far as the excitement goes. But maybe it will
be different now that he actually knows how to read? Anyway, thanx for the advice!

Feb 15 2006, 10:10 PM
Sorry for the lateness of this reply. I hadn't seen it a few days back. And I apologize (after just finishing this note) for the extreme lenght, but I had alot to say (hopefully helpful). Anyway, I'm using a curriculum similar to Robinson. It's A2. I debated Robinson but chose A2 instead. It sounds like you are doing fine. I personally define reading as when a child can sound out (or sight read) a series of sentences and demonstrate comprehension of what they have read. In terms of books, I have alot of the leveled readers Step 1-4's. The step 1's worked really well in the beginning. They were high interest and easy to read. I also went with a phonics based series called Dr. Maggie's. Again, High interest story books that are progressive. Initially my two (twins) didn't like to read books either. And in the beginning, I didn't do anything about it, other than ensure we did our daily reading lessons. But once I knew they were reading fairly well, (see above), I began instilling a "policy" that if they wanted me to read books to them before bedtime, then they had to read at least one book to me during the day (in addition to lessons). Sometimes they would choose a real simple book. But they have gradually begun to choose more appropriate levels. We also would do shared reading (I read a page, then each of the kids would read a page). We would do this most often with books we've read many times before, like the Dr. Seuss ones.

One thing you can do to speed the reading along a bit is to include the dolch sight words into your lessons. I don't like the sight word method, but it's still important for children to know these words. I made them sound out all the words and then if they didn't sound they way they looked, I would let them know. "Great! You sounded it out correctly. But this word is an exception. It actually says___". That way, I knew they were using their phonics but also learning their sight words. I'd put checks on the back of each card whenever they could read a word immediately. After three checks, the card was put away. I started with about 10 cards. And grouped them based on high frequency and word families. I eventually went up to 25 word card stacks, adding new as others were learned. This added only about 10 minutes to each child's reading lesson but really helped in their reading, as so many more words were readily accessible to them when reading stories. You can get the sight words on the internet through an engine search. There are many sites that have documents all set to print as word cards. The dolch list is split into K-3rd grade but I didn't follow that. I based it on words they would need to use most often and ones that could be grouped together. There is a website that has extended "important words" lists that we are going through now. There's alot more words per grade level. It may sound like overkill, but I'm a firm believer that learning to read is THE most important aspect of being successful in academics and in the world.

We are also using McGuffey. But we started with "100 easy lessons to teach your child to read" first. Then we went on to the primer and 1st reader. For the Mc Guffey's, we went through them quickly because most of the primer and and about half of the 1st were review from 100 ez lessons. So we would do about 5 lessons a day and move on. When the kids had trouble with more words per lesson, then we slowed to 1-3 lessons a day. There is so much review of the words in the mcguffeys. All previous words are used repeatedly in subsequent lessons, I haven't worried about doing the lessons more than once. Sometimes if my son had a hard time with a particular story, I would have him repeat it the next day. I also would make both of them repeat a sentence for smoother fluency if they had to sound out too many words. This hasn't happened very much in the Mcguffey's because it's been alot of review. But it happened often in 100 ez lessons. BTW, I have twin boy and girl. My dd has finished the 1st reader and caught on to reading very easily. She's having some trouble with multi-syllable words but is other wise doing very well. My son took longer to catch on and we went slower with him in the beginning. He's almost done with the 1st reader. After he's done, we will spend alittle time reading regular books (dd has been doing this for a couple months now) and then start the 2nd reader. Starting with the 2nd reader, I may instill a two day per lesson plan as the content is more advanced and stories alot longer (sound out words aloud, read story silently on first day. review words and read alound story on second day). I still haven't decided though. One other thing I have done with the Mcguffey readers and now with dd in the regular books is I set up a vocabulary notebook. They each have their own notebooks. I write down any word they have trouble sounding out in context (at this stage, trouble means if they have to literally sound out each letter or if they just to an uneducated guess. If they can quickly sound it out by reading clusters: pl-ay-gr-ound, that's acceptable). Once the word is written down, it's reviewed daily until they can recognize it easily on two consecutive days. If they cannot recognize it easily, they have to sound it out. So while I don't have them repeat the lessons, I still know they are reviewing the trouble words.
Sorry so long but I hope this helps...

Feb 15 2006, 10:27 PM
Oh wow, thanx, that was very helpful!!..
Now to reply to it.. LOL j/k
Ok I just had to reread through my first post cause I couldn't remember.... I do not like the sight words because I did not want them to know them without know how to sound them out (like the look say method I guess?) but the way you explained it sounds great! I'll have them do that instead, I've gone back and forth and we've run into "sight words" and I'm stuck on "what do I do!!" so that will take care of that problem and get us moving on with reading!

That sounds like a good idea with the McGuffeys too, we'll move on instead of going over each page a million times because it is all repetitive. I didn't make him even read today because I can tell he's getting tired of it (a lot was going on today too, dh stayed home from work, so I ran to the office depot to get school stuff.. I wasn't *here* so kids didn't do school

We have never been able to stick with anything on phonics, right now we are trying out Starting at Square one (by AVKO) I have a ton of phonics books (Alpha Phonics etc) but the kids get bored with them so fast, maybe I'm going TOO slow for them? I tend to want to repeat everything to make sure they get it but maybe I need to just move on and let them learn it that way. The way I do it, it'll take us 25 yrs to finish school

Anyway, thanks for all the ideas, I'm going to make sight words now (I have tons of lists of sight words saved on my computer LOL)


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