Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back to Basics

There are many reasons why we started homeschooling and one of them involved the path that public schools were taking in regards to the core academics. One area in which this became apparent is in the arena of phonics and the basic building blocks of reading and spelling.

My middle daughter Priscilla was entering kindergarten and she brought home a list of words deemed "sight words". I had heard from a friend that this was the new thing in elementary schools in my area, however I had not had a chance to witness it up close. I instantly thought about my childhood training and I fondly remember using phonics alone. The school system does use phonics (you can't get around it) however it is sparingly in lieu of the whole word approach. I did research on the changes and the man whose name is featured in the list of sight words....Dolch. I discovered the reasoning and rationale behind this approach and to me it is shortsighted and can produce false results.

To make the long story short once we pulled the children out of school to educate them at home and after a few years it became obvious that there is a difference in our children's ability to read and spell. My youngest daughter Dest'nee can read and spell at the same level as Priscilla who is two grade levels above her, not because she has a natural aptitude level above hers but it is due to the phonetic training my wife employed that was devoid of "sight words". Even her sisters marvel at her progress and reading and spelling ability. Priscilla is just as good, however you can notice the difference in the foundation of their training. Priscilla is naturally blessed with a good aptitude and hence we did not fully grasp the necessity of the same type of training with her initially and we have been meaning to take the time to do it and this is the year that it will get done!

Here are some links to phonetic, grammar and spelling freebies that we are using.
1800's grammar and phonetic learning
Noah Websters 1800's speller

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