I like to think that if any of us were there, we’d have stood up to bigotry too. That’s why we choose this path. So we don’t absorb the bigotry of others inadvertently. I cannot believe that sane people can think one’s sexual preferences in any way affect one’s ability to be a good parent.
Quite a few people have emailed and posted asking about homeschooling. How to start? Where to start? Is it right for me? Is it too late? It is too early? Some have asked about getting in touch just for moral support. I’m truly grateful that you think I know enough to advise you and I apologise I haven’t always been able to respond.
I’d like to meet you and chat with you all in person one day. And I love going to the craft fairs in Publika (every last Sunday of the month) so if anyone would like to meet up for a chat and some coffee, please look out for me there. If you drop me an email first we could exchange phone numbers or something. Also, I’ll be there this weekend for the Little Red Market so maybe I’ll see you there?
Bern will be ten soon and up until September 2012, he was complete lost when it came reading. Frankly, I’d like to say I was calm in the face of illiteracy and convention. I cannot count the number of times I was asked when I would hunker down and teach him to read. The HS naysayers would brandish his inability as proof of the wrongness of HSing.
But something shifted last September. He asked again to be taught to read and this time, the letters and sounds came together to illuminate his life with the wonders of the written word. Over the course of three weeks, he diligently practised his phonics, memorised sight words and attempted to read the DK Beginner Readers Star Wars books. If I was too busy, he would bring the books to me and sound out the words while I cooked. He pinned me down every night and made me listen to him decipher the squiggles into blends into words. His dogged determination was inspiring and I am grateful to have been included.
In six weeks, he figured out reading. Just this month, he’s asked for and read novels for his age group. It took him six month to go from illiterate to reading at grade level.
So here is my advice to parents with ‘slow’ or ‘weak’ readers
- Be patient, wait until you child is ready
- Numerous professionals agree, that when the desire is present, it takes about 100 hours to teach someone how to read
- Have faith that he will want to learn one day and until then, you yourself must read at every opportunity; to yourself, to him.
- Don’t stop reading to him as a way to get him to read to himself. The joys of a good story should never be withheld for any reason.
The decision to homeschool started (though I didn’t know it then) with the births of my children. Those three episodes have marked me in ways I have yet to discover. Suffice to say, I learn the meaning of abuse, trauma and regret fully with the bearing of each child.
Don’t make my mistakes, come to the documentary and make informed decisions for yourself and help women around the world take back birth.
You know how teenagers gush about Justin Beiber? well I gush about TED. He’s not a good looking celebrity but a website that curates some great talks about Ideas Worth Sharing. Sometimes the sheer wonder of the internet and all the possibilities it opens to us HS parents boggles me. One of my favourite websites is TED Talks. The spin off TED-Ed is just as inspiring. If you have not yet checked them out, you should. NOW.
TED Talks rawk my world.
Great talks to stir your curiosity. Browse by subject, length, or rating (inspiring, jaw-dropping, funny…)
And TED-Ed is even better.
Use engaging videos to create customized lessons.
You can use, tweak, or completely redo any lesson featured on TED-Ed, or create lessons from scratch based on any video from YouTube.
While I lack true cause, I embrace her brand of mothering. My children are mine, precious and cherished. Threaten them and answer to me. In the meantime, I will treasure each day and be grateful.
Read Emily Rapp’s piece here.
I wrote this long and emotional post but it seems to have disappeared so I’m going to take that as a sign from the Universe that it was inappropriate. So instead, here are a couple of links that have been extremely helpful with helping Bern to finally figure out the magic of reading.
Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
It has a a complete sent of free downloadable reading aids which I think is excellent.
Through a mixture of lively, colourful and entertaining sequences, Fun with Phonics introduces its very young audience to the 42 most common sounds that provide a foundation to literacy.
Each programme celebrates new sounds and is devoted to an individual phoneme (or sound). Children have to learn all of these 42 initial phonemes.
Individual phonics are brought to life through inventive animations and vibrant graphic characters, as viewers are invited to read with Whirlyword and spell with Pollyphonic. They can also extend vocabulary and increase familiarity with each sound, through stories, poems, games and documentary inserts featured throughout the series.
Parents can watch Fun with Phonics with their children to help them build their vocabulary, learn new sounds and practise using them to read and write.
The educational value of the show
Fun With Phonics helps children to:
- Learn the 42 most common phonemes (sounds) that provide a foundation to literacy.
- Increase their familiarity with each phoneme – through stories, poems and games featured in the programme.
- Have fun experimenting with sounds and words – and, in doing so, enjoy the process of learning to read
I’m very pleased to say the days of watching my son struggle; nights of wishing I could somehow fight that battle for him, those days are on the way out.
Have I ever mentioned how much the kids adore their grandparents? My in laws try to visit twice a year and because we homeschool, the kids get to spend huge amounts of time with them.
They love my parents too of course, seeing them almost daily but that they have such an amazing relationship with people that live several thousand kilometers away is another benefit of the flexibility afforded by homeschool
It’s been such a busy year and I suddenly realised not only that I have barely been posting, but also that it has been such a long time since I posted regularly. Like most muma, my stuff often falls to the bottom of the priority list. I’d like to say I’m hard done to but most likely, I just get away with being slack because there isn’t really anyone to tell me off
So what have we been up to?
All three now attend gymnastics class in Damansara Perdana. I love how firm the coaches are. And how tired the kids are after class. I was also pleasantly surprised to meet yet more homeschoolers.
They also have piano lessons with the loveliest young lady. She is so good at what she does the kids cannot wait to get home to practiSE. While I do have to remind them, they always practise willingly. Pop me an email if you want her details.
Art class goes on with Mr Chan once a week. He is so patient and the kids abilities have developed nicely. They have explored pastels and poster paints in great depth and with much enthusiasm. Some of their creations are so joyful and honest I can’t help but smile.
We also visited the Craft Complex in Conlay several times to immerse ourselves in local craft during the Hari Kraf Kebangsaan 2012 Fair. There was the expected rubbish but we found some real gems such as the Orang Asli weavings, batik stamps and old style cookie cutters and moulds.
More updates soon if we are not too busy living and learning!