Thursday, May 19, 2011

he learned to read

I wasn't afraid of much when we decided to homeschool the boys. I knew it would be difficult and we'd have some pretty awful days that led to my wishing we'd not made this choice. But I also knew we'd have some great days. Days in which the boys would "get it" and we'd be done with time to spare. Days on which we'd just have fun instead of follow the many many charts I made to keep us on target. Breakthrough days in which something we'd been working on forever would come to fruition and understanding. I wasn't afraid, I was ready for the challenge. God led us here, so no matter the difficulty I was ready to get my hands dirty. In all areas but one. I was terrified to teach Daniel to read. I knew I did not know how to teach a child to read and I was so worried that he wouldn't get it. David went to public school until halfway through 1st grade. He learned to read from a really excellent teacher and was reading at a 5th grade level by the end of Kindergarten! See the pressure I put myself under? It was awful! But I knew I'd never get it done by allowing the fear to eat me up interally (because I didn't DARE mention this fear to anyone!) I went straight to the throne of God and poured out the entire fear. I told God about how I didn't want to damage my child's education and how I didn't have the first clue of what to do. I didn't know anything about teaching him to read. Nothing. And I was going to need some supernatural guidance on this one. If God wanted me to teach this child to read, He was going to have to take me by the hand and do it through me. I got up off the floor about an hour later exhausted but less afraid. When I went to check the mail that afternoon, God placed my hand on the answer. It was an advertisement for the Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read progam. Now, yes, I knew this program was out there obviously, but you know how you just know it's God telling you something important? I just knew. God put my hand on His answer. Still slightly timid, I bought the program and began homsechooling Daniel in his Kindergarten year. I am not kidding when I tell you that the boy finished the program by December and was reading those "I can read" books for the rest of the year. Now that we are nearing the end of 1st grade with him, he is reading chapter books and loving them! Here is the part that tells me that I was not the one to teach him to read. Hooked on Phonics is an amazing program to learn how to read - however, it teaches you phonetically. The child does not learn blended sounds or silent letters. Please know I'm not knocking the program - buy it, it works! But Daniel went from reading phonetically written books, to regular books without any additional lessons. He went straight into Harry Potter reading it aloud like he'd just always been a reader and I just didn't know it. The boy can READ y'all. I don't know when the switch flipped, but God really carried this child on His shoulders the whole way. Once I surrendered and let God lead it's like a rocket shot off straight for the reading highway! If only I could do this with more of the fears in my life! How free would I be if I simply poured it out on the thrown of grace and said - if this is to be done right, I need to take the backseat and let God drive for a while? Something to ponder...


Melissa said...

My daughter learned to read with Hooked on Phonics as well (back in 2001-2003)! It took her longer, mostly because we started it the spring before she started kindergarten and really wasn't ready yet. Plus we took some breaks along the way. By the end of 1st grade she was reading like a pro!

We've been homeschooling her since 5th grade now and are almost done her first year of high school! Yes, there are challenges...but with God and good curriculum, our job is easier!

Blessings, Melissa