When it is time to switch…

Homeschool Reading

All 3 of my children learn differently.  Homeschooling gives me a unique advantage to tap into this and really learn how each one of them learns best.  It is a challenge for me, but one that I gladly accept!

Recently I noticed Krash begin to struggle and not pick up on some literacy skills presented in his Calvert 1st grade curriculum.  I used this same program with PacMan and he flew right through it all, still does for the most part.  Krash is a different story.  He is a smart child who is very able to learn, just needs to be taught a bit differently.  He is very active and doesn’t enjoy sitting for long, which wasn’t usually a big problem for Pac, nor is it for Ladybug.

We hit a lesson in Calvert that I dislike, as it introduces some phonics skills too early, too quickly, and unclearly.  I remembered the lesson with PacMan and although he struggled a bit too, he moved right on.  Krash hit a wall and began to get super frustrated and negative, so did I.  Instead of dragging it out, we made a change.  Since we are under a cyber school, I emailed and got permission to do it my way for awhile and then come back to Calvert when I felt he was ready.  We are blessed with an unbelievable support system, so it was totally fine with them.

I stopped ALL Calvert literacy the very next day, and only kept the math {which he flies through}.  I decided to use ONLY All About Reading Level 1 and Spelling Level 1. The first 2 days, he fought me, then things began to click.  He slowly stopped complaining about “board school” and seemed more and more eager to learn.

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What did we do exactly?

I did one lesson from All About Spelling 1 and All About Reading 1 every single day {5 days a week}.  Other than his math from Calvert, that’s all we did, for 3 weeks! When we started this blitz, he was on lesson 9 with spelling and lesson 32 in reading.  Prior to this we had been using these lessons about once a week as a supplement to his Calvert.

When did the change in attitude occur?

After a few days, he became more accepting of the idea and wasn’t giving me as much attitude. After about 2 weeks, I really began to notice the confidence boost, which is what I was aiming for!  Then one day, he said it, the words that I was praying to hear!

“Mom, I like reading now!”

My mouth dropped, as he has never expressed a positive feeling towards reading!  He does it, but has never liked it. 

Why do I think All About Reading/Spelling helped?

It is by far the most comprehensive program I have seen. It honestly teaches ME things I didn’t realize were spelling or phonics rules! The hands-on approach helps so much; the little games included, the letter tiles, the stories, and how it all ties together is just wonderful.

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What has happened since?

We do love Calvert, and are sticking with it as our main program and since it is a box curriculum, we use their literacy portions too.  I do love a lot about Calvert’s literacy, just the sequence of certain spelling and phonics rules rub me the wrong way! After the 3 weeks, we got right back into our Calvert and it was a totally different experience.  He felt so much more confident and was able to understand better because his attitude was better.

No, it hasn’t solved all of our problems, I still struggle with a few aspects of Calvert’s literacy program and feel it moves a bit too fast in 1st grade overall.  We will stick it out this year and then I will revaluate for next year, as I always do.  We are a one year at a time, one child at a time kind of family.  Calvert works beautifully for PacMan and seems to be a perfect fit for him.  Will it be for Krash in the long run? I am not sure!

What about All About Reading/Spelling now?

We are still using it, just not as frequently.  I am back on the once or twice a week format.  He completed AAS Level 1 and is up to lesson 46 with AAR 1, which is only 4 lessons from the end.  We have All About Reading Level 2 already and will begin using that soon!

Why both Calvert and All About Spelling/Reading?

Because I like portions of both.  I like the stories in Calvert, the sight word emphasis, the comprehension portions and a lot more.  I love the sequence and speed of All About Spelling/Reading much better than Calvert’s spelling or phonics.  I use both because they reinforce each other in totally different ways.  Krash needs reminders and using both allows this overlap a lot.  I initially added in All About Reading Level 1 so I could review it and provide feedback on my blog.  I continue to use it because I love it and it works.  You can see more about that in the FAQ portion of this post.