Many of you may know that we homeschool our 5-yr old in his first year of Kindergarten. I say “we” very loosely though! It is mostly ME!! I get the lesson plans ready, I do the prep work for the daily assignments, I teach him daily – all while managing the house & 2 young kiddos. It’s not easy by any means, but ABSOLUTELY the most rewarding thing I can think of this side of heaven!!
As I did more and more research about teaching Kindergarten, I realized that my son already knew most of what was taught (recognizing the alphabet, recognizing & counting to 100, sight words) and MORE! I thought, “he is going to be BORED out of his mind if I continue to do all this for another entire year!” So, I set out to find other things for him to do. I researched first grade checklists and read other homeschool blogs and information. I also talked to several homeschool moms that helped guide me in the right direction. After much discussion with my husband, friends and my research I realized that he might be ready to start reading. Wait…did I say READING???? AHHHHH!!!! A flood of emotions immediately filled my head and heart. “What if I couldn’t teach him to read? He would be illiterate his entire life and would fail at getting a job or raising his own family!” Okay, I admit, I can get a little carried away sometimes…but seriously this was probably THE MOST scary part of homeschooling to me! What if he wasn’t ready? What if I really couldn’t teach him to read? How were we going to overcome that?
That’s when the prayers started flowing daily. “Lord, help me to be a better teacher and mom today than I was yesterday. Help me to be patient with Tyler as we learn to read together. Help me see how to make it connect for him. Show me how best to teach him so he can learn ALL You have for him!” Some days were simply, “Lord, help me survive!” But, in any case I learned how important it was/is to pray for my child and how I teach them. It is paramount. It is ESSENTIAL!!
At the beginning of the year we tried a phonics book, that really looked like it worked more on his handwriting skills than phonics or reading. Frankly, he became bored very quickly & was finished with the book in 2 weeks time! That’s when I decided it was time for something a little more advanced. Something that challenged him more. So, I went to worksheets I could print free from the internet. I found several great websites that had a variety of activities/worksheets to help teach clusters, long vowels, short vowels and more! So that’s what we did. I would choose a cluster or long/short vowel for the week and just print off worksheets that taught them. He would do a couple a day and have a quiz on Fridays. This worked for a while, but he quickly informed me (almost daily) that he hated worksheets. And it became like pulling teeth to get him to do them. So, I set out on another mission. How can I practically show him how these worksheets/lessons will help him learn to read? Then, like a slamming door – it hit me!! LET HIM READ!!! So, we started in with our A Beka readers. He quickly realized that he really could read! He became excited and so did I!!! We had finally found what worked! He just needed to see the practical application of it all.
This week he will finish his second A Beka reader and I couldn’t be more proud!! Yes, I know some kids read earlier and some read faster. But, for me…just hearing him read by himself is the BEST REWARD a mom could ever get!!!!
After feeling this GREAT, OVERWHELMING satisfaction in my sons ability to learn despite my inadequacies, I soon realized this is how our loving, heavenly Father must feel when we “get it.” Sometimes the lessons we are learning in life seem so tedious and trivial, but there is always a reason! A reason we may not know very soon, but a reason nonetheless. God is always teaching us through life experiences and this one hit me hard. How many times have I rebelled against what I know to be right? How many times have I run away from something simply because it was difficult and I couldn’t, in my finite mind, see the practical application or use of it in my life (at this point)? WOW!!! I am so thankful God is a loving, compassionate, PATIENT Father!! I hope that someday God will look at me with pride just as I look at my son when he’s reading by himself. Big words or small – it doesn’t matter! He persevered and he won! That’s how I want God to see me. I want Him to be proud of me in EVERYTHING I do, say and in all that I am. I want to be my best for Him – always!
DISCLAIMER: When your child finally learns to read – be forewarned that they will read EVERYTHING!!!! And I mean EVERYTHING!! He reads every sign he can as we drive down the road. It’s a constant school lesson in our car! Most of the time I don’t mind, but I must admit as sweet as it is to hear my first-born son reading, I often wish he wouldn’t! 😉
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Annette has been married to her husband and best friend since 2003. Together they are raising their six children to follow the Lord’s will, no matter what. Annette longs for the day when she will meet all her angel babies who have entered heaven before her. She enjoys creating fun and engaging printables, unit studies and curriculum for homeschool families. You can follow her crazy life at In All You Do where she blogs about marriage, parenting, and homeschooling all while maintaining her sanity. She is also the owner of Thrifty Homeschoolers, where she shares free printables and resources from around the web as well as deals on curriculum and homeschooling resources. You can also keep up with her via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.