When Your Child Struggles to Read

Teaching your child to read can feel so overwhelming. You may not have any idea where to start or your child just isn’t catching on to what you are trying to teach.

Teaching your child to read can feel so overwhelming. You may not have any idea where to start or your child just isn’t catching on to what you are trying to teach. Can I just say, All About Reading is an excellent program that helps take the guess-work out of teaching your child to read.

The teacher’s guide is awesome for walking you through the process and the hands-on activities are an amazing way to help really drive the concepts home. There is no planning required as it’s all done for you. The only thing you will need to do is get each lesson ready — but the manual tells you EXACTLY what you need and how to do that.

The one thing I have learned from teaching 5 children to read, is that consistency is KEY. You may feel like you’re getting nowhere, but as you keep pressing on, one day [for most children] it just clicks and they take off!!

What if your child isn’t “most children”?

Sometimes children can struggle with reading for various reasons. Maybe they struggle with dyslexia. All About Learning Press has some great resources to help.

Dyslexia Resource Library

Or if your child struggles with Auditory Processing Disorder, they have some great tips to help your child with that as well. Click the image below to find out more!

Auditory Processing Disorder

Children will learn at their own pace and in their own way and All About Reading can be a wonderful tool to equip you and your child in order to succeed!!

You can read my personal experience in more depth here and here.

20 Best Tips for Teaching Reading and Spelling

Download this FREE e-book to get some of the best tips on teaching reading and spelling. Oh yes, they also have an amazing spelling program!!

Because this is a multi-sensory program, it’s more difficult for your child to get bored or antsy. In fact, it has been known to be a great fit for many children with ADHD, which is a huge win!

*This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase from a link in this post, I get a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you! This helps to support my family!

5 Homeschool Habits To Build Into Your Children

This post is part of the Ultimate Homeschool Series

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It's important to begin (or continue) every year with habits which help us continue on the path God has called for us. Even when the goals are similar, often, having a fresh perspective, a fresh year, and maturing children allows us further direction into fine tuning those habits.

We need to focus on areas that can improve and continue to pour into our relationship with Christ in deeper ways so we can lead our children into a deeper relationship with Him as well.

Here are 5 habits to include in your homeschool year:

Dedicated Discipleship

Not just Bible reading and meal time prayers, but real discipleship; when we read and what we're taught is lived out. When we point out God's promises as He is faithful and learn to trust Him when we cannot see, and talk regularly with our children on these real-life happenings and how they relate to the Bible and what we've learned.

Part of discipleship is discipline.  The rest is recognizing His Spirit and learning to tune ourselves into Him every moment of everyday. It's important we are dedicated to growing our relationship with God and leading our children to do the same. Part of this is done through Scripture and prayer, but the majority of it is living it out and showing our children we trust God and point out how He works in our lives so our children can "see" Him.

Routine, Routine, Routine

Everyone around thrives on routine. My goal is to continue to solidify our schedule even more through adding some important elements to our daily routine.

These include read aloud time (more on that below), devotionals (in addition to Bible reading), meals and chores, and focusing most on those morning hours. 

It's important for my children that we at least do chores and lessons in the same order everyday. It helps them know what to expect and what is expected of them. 

The morning hours are really our golden time of day here. Once lunch is over, our minds start drifting and it's time for something more hands on. So I need to make sure I am utilizing the precious time during the morning to do any work that requires some focus and brain power.

It's really up to the parents to form habits within the child, so we are the ones who need to be on top of making that happen every single day.

I can tell you from experience that when I fail to work my habits and help my children remember to work theirs, they don't work 'em. They are still in training and will need consistency for a long time!

Regular Reading Aloud

Reading aloud is such an important part of parenting. It's not only great for academic nurture, it's excellent mother-to-child nurture. It helps us connect and spend time together.

Reading aloud helps create a language rich atmosphere and opens doors to imagination and critical thinking skills.

It's so easy (unfortunately) to fall out of the habit of reading aloud. It is something that we must be intentional about. Having a stack of titles ready to go, and making regular trips to the library in order to pick up said titles helps with this.

When we fail to plan, I fail to read.

Focus on Fine Arts

Another thing that's easy to do is get caught up in too much book work and drilling and forget about the hands-on learning that really helps open up the creative minds of our children. Just like us, our children need an outlet. I really believe fine arts is that place. A place to unleash their passion in a way that allows their creativity to take shape.

At times, I get so focused on making sure all the academics are covered, I leave little room for creating.

My girls do ballet at a dance academy and my eight year old son is teaching himself piano. But I need to allow for more painting and drawing, too. Most of my children love to write, so I do allow time for story-making. 

You can pick one day of the week to really allow your children to focus on the fine arts they are interested in. They can work at home or you can join a co-op if you feel that option is a good fit for your family. 

Creativity needs to come alive to help academics flourish. It's important we don't neglect that part of our children's homeschooling. 

Learn Through Life

Although this shouldn't be a tricky habit, for me it is. I grew up going to public schools so all my ideas of learning are compartmentalized and formal. I want to integrate our lessons in our everyday life naturally, and also be mindful of more teachable moments throughout our days for spiritual growth and life lessons.

The only way I know how to do this is to be mindful of my moments with my children. There are some things they will learn from me that a book really cannot teach.

Remember, successful homeschooling depends on good habits. 

My Favorite Homeschool Resources

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There are some habits as homeschoolers that can help lay a foundation for a successful year and deeper relationships.

For His Glory,

Christin

When Homeschooling Doesn't Fit Your Mold

When we set out to homeschool, often we paint this picture in our head of how it will look. But reality sets in as we chase toddlers and have to fight bad attitudes.

When we set out to homeschool, often we paint this picture in our head of how it will look. But reality sets in as we chase toddlers and have to fight bad attitudes.

The Initial Picture

When I first began homeschooling back in 2004, I had the ideal picture in my head. I also had only 2 children, one of whom was actually doing any sort of "school work" by the age of 3.

In addition, my first born was (is) a very eager learner and quickly punched through any workbook I placed in front of her. So, by the time she turned 6, we switched to something more robust and challenging: Tapestry of Grace. She rose to the occasion.

Coming up behind her was her younger brother and a one-year-old tornado. Thankfully she started off as a rather independent learner.

The Reality of Homeschooling

When my children were young, I would often have the youngest children running around in the background as I try to teach my older children. They didn't stay engaged very long, and when they did, they made a rather large mess by the end of teaching my lesson.

There are just some things I cannot control and I have to be OK with that. As someone who came from public schools, it's all I have to go off of on how "school" is supposed to look and it has taken a long time for those walls to come down and realize that learning can be done in more than one way.

So, having said all that, the ideal I had in my head to teach my children the same things, at the same time, from the same curriculum just doesn't happen. My children have different needs, learn at different levels, and with different methods. That makes for a rather interesting day of school!

No two days look alike around here, despite my carefully planned out schedule.  The schedule simply cannot account for a child "not in the mood" to do their lessons, a child who gets sick, tired children who've had a long weekend, or distracted children. I mean, really, the list can go on. And with seven children, it's rare we have a smooth day of school.

Check Your Expectations

I think it's important, in order to set ourselves and our children up for success, to accept the fact that our expectations may be too high and to take things as they come. That's not to say we shouldn't plan, but the plans will get messed up and we can't just throw our hands up when that happens. We simply need to adjust ourselves to that reality and work from that place.

Today, I am getting over a cold that has knocked me down these last couple of days. I am still not feeling 100% myself, therefore I cannot perform optimally. In addition, I have not yet been to my friends to pick up our next set of books for the next unit in our Tapestry studies. In light of this, I am adjusting our week accordingly.

christin slade_When Homeschooling Doesn't Fit Your Mold

Thankfully, we just made a great library visit over the weekend, so the children have plenty of new, good quality books to dig into. And because I'm still lacking energy from being sick, I am only focusing on the most important things today. For example, since we aren't leaving the house today, I am not enforcing everyone to get dressed. We can declare today a "pajama day".

On top of all that, reading aloud is often a nightmare because I am always telling someone to "Shhhh". Math consistently puts someone in tears. (Including me at times). Writing, my own favorite subject, is a subject I struggle to teach--especially at varying levels.

Bad attitudes are a norm (I know, they shouldn't be, but I can only encourage good attitudes, not force them). Despite the fact that I've created a schedule and chore chart for each child, I am constantly telling them what they are supposed to be doing. This is all part of training which is an integral part of homeschooling. This is all the reality of homeschooling.

The sooner I accept the fact that homeschooling isn't perfect because people aren't perfect, the smoother our days will go. It's ok when everything doesn't go exactly the way I plan. The goal is to keep moving forward and pressing on.

Homeschooling isn't meant to look perfect, it's meant to serve a purpose, and that purpose will be defined by each family.

For more imperfect homeschool days, visit the iHomeschool Network bloggers.

Favorite Homeschool Resources

4 Tools For the Weary Homeschool Mom

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

How can you keep going in your homeschool when you're weary and feel you have nothing left to give?

We're in the home stretch of our homeschool year and it's been a bit of a choppy year. Although we've pushed through, there are some things I just had to let go of in order to keep moving. 

Homeschooling seven children comes with its challenges. Everyone has their own needs and challenges and it definitely keeps me busy! With all the changes that we have endured the last few years, I feel as if I still haven't quite got my footing yet. It started when we brought our girls home from Ghana, West Africa, almost 4 years ago. So, that added two more children to our homeschool mix...BAM!...just like that.

The following year my youngest joined us for more formal lessons. Two years following that we moved. This year we've been adjusting to that move in a new city. It can only get better from here, right? That's the beauty of homeschooling, though. It offers us lots of flexibility.

But I've lost my footing along the way and need to find it again. 

I'm reminded of the gentle leading and encouraging words of Clay and Sally Clarkson.

Sally encourages mothers in the most unique and beautiful way I have ever come across. I have read more than my share of biblical parenting books, but hers surpass them all.

Educating the WholeHearted Child is my constant go-to manual, not just for homeschooling, but everything that surrounds it; including my walk with Christ, my role as a wife, a mother, a keeper of the home as well as sole educator and spiritual teacher for my children.

I have never read anything more encouraging and beautifully convicting.

In order to keep my focus clear during those tough homeschool days, I remember what I read in Chapter 16 of Educating the WholeHearted Child.

Clay and Sally talk about how important it is to remember our purpose, keep our priorities straight, and have a plan.

Purpose

What is the purpose of a Christian homeschooling mother? Everyone will have a different angle on this, but many of us will have similar goals.

My overall goal is simply to be purposeful in what I'm doing: in my home, my children, my spiritual growth, and my marriage. When a day is hard or everything doesn't get completed as planned, going back to my purpose will help me remember what my goal really is here. It's not to get through a checklist of "to do's" seamlessly. It's to spend my days teaching, nurturing, serving, and loving through each and every moment.

When I remember that, my perspective shifts back and the frustrations can dissipate.

Priorities

I love how Clay and Sally put an emphasis on keeping things limited in this section. We cannot do it all and we cannot be everything to everyone. It's very important we understand this. With that in mind, having limits actually frees us for the most important things. One of the biggest eye-openers for me was limiting my expectations. Expectations can really be a killer. I know it's important to aim high, but when we keep our expectations reasonable (with ourselves and with our children), much more can be accomplished.

Homeschool 2017

Plans

This is the one area I can say with confidence I excel in. I am a planner by nature. Sometimes I do more planning than actually executing.

Sometimes, though, I'm not always good about planning the bigger picture.  I can plan on a day-to-day, week-to-week, even a month-to-month scale. But thinking too far ahead to the future can seem overwhelming and overreaching. I like to take things as they come. I've noticed that if I plan too far ahead, and life takes an unexpected turn, all that far-ahead planning was in vain. So, I stick to short-term planning.

Having a plan gives me direction for my days and it is absolutely necessary. When I tried to ease up (read: let go) of a schedule and any planning of our days, everything was chaos. It was awful.

So, I have embraced the planner side of me and decided, that's how our home best functions and that's what we'll stick to.

Principles

The last thing I'm going to touch on is knowing what our principles are. Why did I choose to homeschool in the first place? Am I confident this is what God wants for our family?

For those of you who do homeschool, have you ever threatened to put your child(ren) into public schools on one of those really hard days? Be honest now.

I have.

But I knew I never would because I know that's not what God wants for our family.

{By the way, I know it's wrong to threaten that. It's been a rare day of doing that and I regretted both times}.

The point is, knowing what your principles are will help you stand on them during those rough days. I don't typically have friends or family giving me a hard time about homeschooling. I think the most I've ever had to deal with is being drilled with some questions or a careless remark here or there. I'm not challenged with my decision on a regular basis.

But I know some families who are and I can only imagine it's a hard road to keep going down (and a frustrating one, I'm sure!)

That's why I need to remember my "why". 

Sometimes just having a day or two off to refresh and refocus helps my weary mind to reposition. Don't underestimate daily prayer for your homeschool, either. God is there to give you peace and fill you with His Spirit so you can carry out what He has for you. 

What do you do to remember to push through the hard days? 

For His Glory,

Christin Slade

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