I’m always on the lookout for good unschooling reading resources. The big question to consider when strewing any resources is how do your kids learn? I’ll be upfront and say that I do very little actual teaching to read and my biggest role was to offer the boys opportunities to learn and then sit back to let them choose what works best for them.
My three older sons all learned their letters and letter sounds around two. (The newborn obviously isn’t reading yet.) My eldest started reading just before his 7th birthday and now, 2 years later, is reading far above grade level. My second son, age 6, is reading some words and, if he decides to sit and practice more regularly, will be well on his way to above grade levels within the next year. My 3 year old is practicing writing letters and pretending to read by sounding out words.
These are some of our favorite reading resources:
Letter Factory DVD
Tad the frog goes to the Letter Factory and Professor Quigley lets him sit in on the lessons as the talking letters learn their sounds. My boys have all loved the characters and Leap Frog has done a fantastic job in making each letter and sound memorable. For example, a “monster” walks into the “A Room” and all the little A’s scream “Aaahh!!!”. Don’t worry, it isn’t a scary monster, just the professor in a fuzzy purple costume. The “P Room” is always a favorite as the P says “P” and pops like popcorn. I recommend this to every mama (or grandma) that I know who wants to introduce their child to letters in a fun way.
Letter Factory Flashcards
We bought the DVD and Flashcards as a bundle and these cards have been played with a ton over the last 8 years. They’ve seen better days but, by some miracle, we have managed to keep all 26 together. The kids love to ask their littlest brother what each letter says and the older two build words and ask each other to guess which word it is. The only downside with word-building is that we only have one of each letter, which limits the amount of words. But they are still a great tool to introduce letters and beginner reading.
Talking Words Factory
(Can you tell that we love Leap Frog? They didn’t even need to pay me for this.) This show came with our initial purchased bundle and shows the Leap, Lily, and Tad going to the Talking Words Factory. I think some of the talking letters must graduate to this factory because it is all the loved letters from the previous show, except this time they go through the “word whammer” and get stuck together, along with the icky, sticky letters (vowels). This is the movie that has gotten both of my older boys interested in building words and all I have to do is hit “play” while I’m making dinner.
The big question to consider when strewing any resources is how do your kids learn?
Books, books, and more books
As you can see, we love both technology as well as old fashioned paperbacks when it comes to reading. We don’t do phonics lessons, or forced reading assignments and probably never will (unless a child asks for it). My goal is for my kids to grow up thinking reading is a normal part of every day life. We love Leap Frog and also purchased a LeapReader Pen and LeapPad a couple months ago. So far they are well loved and I believe they will both contribute to the boys’ growing love of books and reading.
What are your favorite ways to foster a love of reading in your children? In yourself?
Unschooling Reading Resources
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It’s the last Friday of the month and I thought it would be a good time to share some of my favorite reads this month. These are some of the best blog posts of September that I have been reading. If you like them and want to see more of what I’m reading through the month, be sure to check out my Facebook Page and Pinterest Boards.
Organizing Files on Your Computer: By Leah at Fabulously Organized Home
I have a ton of files on my computer. Photos, podcasts, ebooks, homeschool printables, volunteer forms, and more. It have is semi-organized but have been trying to figure out something better. I needed a way to go through all my files to figure out what I have and where I should put it all. This post has some great step-by-step instructions on how to organize your computer files. I have a lot of work to do but Leah gave me a starting place and the motivation to get started.
Developing a Vision for Your Family: by Sheila at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum
I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this post. “I want to invite you to dream: to dream about what you want for your family, and what you want for your marriage, and what you want for your home.” Who doesn’t want to dream? And then to include your husband in those dreams is pure bliss. Plus, Sheila has free printable worksheets for your and your husband to pray though and develop an action plan.
What excited me about Sue’s blog is that she’s a “been there, done that” unschooling mom. She has unschooled her children into adulthood and, as a perused her blog, I became even more confident in the decisions we have made in regard to our own children’s education. It is great to see the perspective of someone who is further along in this journey who is willing to give us the opportunity to learn from her own adventures. This post is one where she talks about how her ultimate goal is that her children know they are loved by her and by God, and that they have a love of learning.
Decluttering. Downsizing. Simplifying. I have spend the last couple years of my life doing just that. I purged a lot of stuff a few years ago before my littlest Biscuit was born (we needed the room) and then we downsized out home about a year ago and I had to purge even more. Let me tell you a little secret: once you get over the initial hurdle of beginning this process, it feels great! I live in one of the older homes that Ruth talks about and it has been a mixed blessing. Some days I dream of having a more modern home (or maybe just one with all it’s baseboards in tact!) and possibly even larger, but most days I remind myself that a smaller home is a good thing. It’s easier to keep clean and it forced my family to draw close to each other. There is no room to withdraw and hide. Less stuff + less space = More love to go around.
We eat rice frequently and, for unknown reasons, have been having a lot of leftovers lately. What better way to use leftover dinner than to make desert from it? This recipe has been a huge hit with me and my boys. I like it with a handful of raisins and C likes it best with approximately a cup of cinnamon. The Biscuit will usually eat whatever is set in front of him but he has a strange habit of pouring his milk into his pudding. Hot or cold, this is one yummy dish!
I like to read. A lot.
I thought it was only fair to share some of my favorite posts that I have read this month:
How to Store Ebooks: by Amy from Raising Arrows
This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that I like to read. I love the practical way she puts everything into folders. I also have been attempting to use Calibre Library but I’m still working on figuring that all out. So folders are working well for me right now.
How to Use Your Skills for God: By Tricia Goyer
A great reminder about how the skills and interests we have are gifts from God and meant for us to use for His purpose.
Top Ten Pieces of Advice for New Homeschoolers – by Planner Perfect’s Jenny Penton
Simple tips for anyone who is starting their homeschooling journey or for those who are feeling stressed about where they are at and want to get refreshed. She also has Top 10 lists for questions she gets asked as an unschooler and her favorite homeschooling websites.
My Rather Imperfect Home – by Sheila from To Love, Honor, and Vacuum
She speaks to my heart. Let’s allow our homes to reflect who lives in them!
Italian Chicken Dinner Recipe (I don’t know who the original chef for this is)
I “Pinned” this quite a while ago and made it for the first time this month. It was inhaled even faster than spaghetti! It has officially been added to our dinner menu rotation, as per my husband’s request. I love that it’s all in one dish – minimal cleanup for this dinner!