Several weeks ago, a box filled with reading, writing and math curriculum arrived on my doorstep. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to open it up as these core subjects have been on the forefront of my mind more and more lately as the subjects I have dedicated to working on with my boys the most this year. All other areas of learning, including biblical studies, science, history, social studies, and many other areas of interest come more naturally to my students. But, reading, writing and math in general . . . we’ve struggled with.
However, being able to educate my children according to each of their learning styles and abilities at the pace each one of them learns has been one of the biggest blessings of our homeschooling experience. So, when my oldest son struggled to read early on, we didn’t push it too much. He’s nine now and last year . . . it finally clicked. Now I rarely see him without a book in his hands and he loves to read.
However, my seven year old son has had an even more difficult time learning how to read and although he loves math, his struggle to read and write causes math to be a frustration to him as well. So, I had high hopes that both The Reading Lesson: Teach Your Child To Read In 20 Easy Lessons and The Verbal Math Lesson: Step-by-Step Math without Pencil or Paper might be what we were looking for. As with our oldest son, we’ve been really patient with the pace at which he learns, however, it’s his love of learning new things overshadowed by his deep frustration of the process that has caused me to really be on the look-out for something that might help him move forward successfully. And I must say, this curriculum is it!
Here are the details:
The Reading Lesson
We’ve looked at and tried many different reading programs that just never seemed to work for our boys. This one, by far, has been the easiest and best one we’ve ever used. It’s split up into 20 lessons, about 15 pages each in length. We’ve been working through about one lesson per week. The Reading Lesson is a complete curriculum using phonemic awareness, sight words, and a guided-reading approach for children with little to no reading skills taking them all the way to a second grade reading level.
What we loved most:
- Everything needed to complete each lesson is contained within one book. I didn’t have to spend time gathering extra resources or planning lessons. It was all done for me and so user-friendly for both teacher and student.
- When I needed to tend to my little guys, my nine year old was able to sit with my seven year old and easily guide him through his reading lessons. This, of course, is a huge bonus for moms who also have babies and toddlers.
- Unlike many other programs we’ve looked at, including workbooks we’ve used, there are no boring drills. Each lesson is context driven which makes it all more meaningful and easier for my son to remember.
- Contrary to what we’ve always done, The Reading Lesson keeps reading rules to a bare minimum. I appreciate this (much more than I thought I would) because it makes everything less confusing. At this young age, most kids struggle to follow if-then rules, or rules such as “i” before “e” except after “c.” Even vowels and consonants aren’t distinguished differently from one another.
- Although everything you need to teach your child to read is contained within one book, I love that there are optional animated CDs that help children to understand what they are learning, while keeping it fun and interesting.
3 Animated CDs:
We really love The Storybook which includes 40 animated short stories for children to try and read by themselves. If there are words they don’t know, they can be clicked on to help them better learn the words, furthering the child’s understanding.
And as an added bonus to the book itself, there is The Reading Lesson CD that makes reading really come alive through hundreds of games and activities. Because my boys love all things computer related, I am always thankful when I find an educational resource that satisfies their love for media. It’s a win-win!
If you’re looking to add some writing curriculum as well, The Writing Lesson is a great addition. With most workbooks we’ve used, many of the pages/lessons get wasted because somehow we’ve already covered that portion. With this CD, you get a never-ending supply of writing worksheets that you can pick and choose from anytime you want. This incredible resource includes three writing styles: primary, script and cursive…great for kids all the way through fourth grade.
One more great book:
In our box of curriculum-goodness, we also received a fantastic book called Big Words for Little Kids. This one is perfect for my nine year old son as it’s geared for kids ages 8-11. All of those Greek and Latin prefixes, suffixes, and roots are hard to learn. They’ve actually proven quite difficult for this mamma to teach as well. In the past we’ve always relied upon memorizing long awkward word lists. For my boys, this is simply meaningless to them (myself included). What I love about this book is the way each lesson introduces a new word part such as “port” which means: “to carry”. It is found in words such as “porter”, “export”, “deport”, “reporter”, and “transport”. This is something my boys can grab a hold of and understand. We’re all finding it really fascinating and every member of our home is learning.
And to round out our coverage of core curriculum, we also received The Verbal Math Lesson, books 1 & 2. At first, I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to go over. However, as I think about how frustrated my boys have been with math and one who currently is, I know that a good part of that stems from the inability to read and write well. While they are learning those skills, though, it’s nice to be able to take the pressure of solving math equations on paper by letting them focus on the math itself. Book 1 is for ages 4-7. And book 2 is for ages 7-8. THESE, we love! Each book is filled with story problems that fuel a child’s imagination making learning math really fun.
From the website:
Our verbal math exercises are created to train children to use fundamentals of arithmetic so skillfully that their written work will become easier, quicker, and more accurate. Oral efficiency is “carried over” into written work.
As with reading, once fluent in basic arithmetic skills, the child can move on to complex, conceptual mathematical thinking.
Since beginning to use the products from The Reading Lesson and The Verbal Math Lesson curriculum, I’ve seen some pretty significant changes in our day to day learning. My two older boys are really enjoying their reading time so much more. It’s fun and holds their interest. And, it’s working! We’re just getting started with my three and five year old sons and so far, they love it.
Did I mention that my seven year old son is severely hard of hearing? He only began hearing well with the use of an implanted hearing aid at the age of five, which is in large part why he has struggled so much with reading, writing and overall communication. I am so thrilled with these products and wholeheartedly recommend them for children of all abilities…whether struggling to read or just starting out. This program really is a breath of fresh air when it comes to really connecting well with the way children learn and helping this mom of four boys be a better teacher. It sets them up for success right from the start which is so very important. All of my kids learn differently from one another. Each one of them has different abilities from the next, but this is a program that fits all of their needs.
You can learn more and download a free copy of Lessons 1 & 2 from The Reading Lesson here. And be sure to check out The Verbal Math Lesson’s site for more information, including even more math products for the middle school and high school grades.