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I can’t quite wrap my mind around what to do for phonics. I would like to go ahead and have my materials with me overseas. We will be in France then Mali during my DS’s 3-5 years. Will reading The Three R’s help me? I have to determine if it’s good enough to buy because my library doesn’t have it. What curriculum would go with it? Explode the Code? The BOB books? All of the above? Something different? I don’t know if moving has given me mush mind or what but I just cant figure out how to plan his phonics from age 3-5.
I don’t think you need “curriculum” at this age. I would concentrate on reading to your child, learning the letters and when he is ready the sounds that the letters make individually. You may use manipulatives and “ABC” type books for this or you can just use the story books that you read to him and point out the letters to him. You can also easily print some coloring pages for ABC’s for free online and make your own preschool type binder of these worksheets to take along with you wherever you go. I wouldn’t go the “official school books” route until he is older. When they are young, reading, talking, observing and creative play are much more useful, IMHO. You can simply use storybooks for your “phonics” during your overseas time. He won’t be behind or need to rush to catch up on anything if you do things simple. Both my school aged Dc did things mostly this way from 3-5 and this is the way I am doing things with my 4yo dd currently. You won’t know at what age and in which way your child will be ready for learning these types of things. Start small, easy and simple, in the most natural way you can think of and go from there. Since you will be with you ds, you will know when he is ready to start learning letter sounds, tracing letters on a page, etc. He may not be ready for more complicated phonics such as consonant blends and silent letters and such until he is older. 6 or so. If you are going to be coming back before he turns six then you should be able to have a better idea of where he should start and what type of methods he would respond to best.
This went longer than intended! I hope it made some sense, though. Blessings
P.S. Don’t sweat it during these early years. Focus on habits first, then read to him a lot, encourage him to think, talk and discuss things with him and observe him so that you know what he is ready for and when.
Miranda is right on target. All Charlotte recommended for those ages was a set of alphabet letters that he can play with (blocks or something like that) and an ABC book. Our series on Teaching Reading is covering her methods right now. (And just between us girls, SCM will be releasing a reading curriculum kit that follows Charlotte’s methods in a couple of weeks. )
Oh whew! Thank you so much! I will certainly take it easy then and wait for the SCM curriculum kit! 🙂
Does the same go with math? My son counts things individually already and I’m afraid he’s already on a bad path. 🙁 Does he need all those “kit-ed” manipulatives? Those are expensive and take up a lot of “excess baggage” room. 🙂
Thank you, thank you!
The 3R’s is great and very helpful – very commonsense, do-it-yourself, you don’t need a lot of fancy stuff – for reading, math, and language arts at the beginning level. I really wish I had read this book before I had put alot of money into buying (and shipping!!) phonics ‘curriculum’ stuff that we ended up ditching after a few months because it wasn’t a good fit for us. I would HIGHLY recommend reading it. (Although YAY! for an SCM reading kit! Sounds fantastic, and maybe I won’t flounder around as much with #2 and #3 as I did with #1, who is thankfully well on her way to being a good reader anyhow…)
For math you don’t need to buy a lot of fancy manipulatives. WHile they are helpful, it is just as easy to use whatever you have on hand for counters, etc. I just made my own little set of Base 10 “blocks” out of laminated cardstock- flat, lightweight, cheap. (A little time consuming to cut them up, but I figure keeping my hands busy redeems any TV time we have!) I also made my own set of sandpaper numbers. Manipulatives are good, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money or waste luggage space on them. =)
I agree that you don’t really need anything formal. I know that some math programs (like Ray’s, I believe) are against counting things… but many have no problem with them counting things, and I see no problem with it either. For ages 3 to 5, I see no reason for any manipulatives… math at those ages should really be real life things (standard example… you are cooking and he is helping… saying things like… Ok, we need 3 cups of water. I’ve put in 1, how many more cups of water do we need?) etc…
For phonics, again what was said above works well. Some letters to play with, some good books to read (I have heard that there is a correlation discovered between kids that have learned Nursery Rhymes because of it being read to them a lot and ease of learning to read)
If your son does end up ready for more on reading before you get back and if you have access to the internet, there is a pretty cool program for free on the net that you can download books. I have just started using them and my kids love the stories – but can’t say how well it works as we are starting it… http://www.progressivephonics.commissceegeeParticipant
I’m not sure why counting anything would be a bad path. It’s normal, natural & necessary!
Just a little correction to suzukimom’s post. Ray’s Arithmetic suggests lots of hands-on counting of real things (whatever’s on hand) in Primary Arithmetic (the first book geared to 1st & 2nd grades).
Take a deep breath, focus on habits, enjoying nature, reading good books together and don’t worry about anything formal until he’s 5 or 6. Even then all you’ll need are some very simple basics.
- Laying Down the Rails for help on habit training
- Simple letters (blocks or whatever)
- Counting & real life math stuff while helping around the house (setting the table, matching socks, etc)
- Perhaps a nature field guide (more for you at this point)
- paper, crayons & the like for drawing
- books, books & more good books!
If you want any workbook type things, you might consider a series of 4 called Developing the Early Learner. I used these a bit with my oldest and she enjoyed them. They aren’t necessary, IMO, but we enjoyed the little exercises together.
Blessings on your journey!
Thank you for posting this! My youngest is just getting to the curiosity of letters. “How do you spell my name? How do you write an ‘O’?” I didn’t have to teach my oldest anything, she asked a couple of questions, played on starfall (not very CM — blushing) and before I knew it, she was reading in spite of mom. My youngest is not a natural reader, so I have no idea where to start. I am looking forward to the blog posts, Sonya!
Just wanted to let you know that the new Delightful Reading Kit is now available. We’ll make the announcement later this week, but thought you might want to be the first to know.
It’s an all-in-one reading curriculum based on Charlotte Mason’s methods, which we discussed in the blog series. I’m very excited about it!
Thank you Sonya! It looks great! Can I begin portions of it as early as 3 years old?
Also, can any of the ideas in “Hearing and Reading, Telling and Writing” (hope I got the title right) be used as early as 3/4 years old?
Yes, there are ideas in the Delightful Reading Kit for the Baby/Toddler Stage and the Pre-School/Kindergarten stage.
Those same ideas are outlined in the Hearing and Reading book in a little different form in the chapter on Beginning Reading.
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