We didn’t accomplished a whole lot this last week. Stiggy’s been waking up quite late, around 9:30, and it takes him about an hour and a half to eat and get dressed. He’s a very slow eater and such a dawdler (I take advantage of this by using breakfast time as read-aloud time).
He’s also got a thing about his socks. Some days his socks go on just fine. Other days…well, it can take him half an hour to put his socks on. They just don’t feel right, he says; the toe seam bugs him. When the socks are finally on, he’ll sometimes test them for comfort but putting his shoes on. If they pass the shoe test, he’s good. If not, he takes them off and starts all over again. We’ve tried everything: buying him new socks, putting them on ourselves, setting time challenges, consequences (no Top Gear)…Nothing works. And he’s always been funny about his socks. When he was in nursery, there were days I would actually have to carry him out to the car sock-less, and put them on his feet once he stopped crying and allowed me to do it. I’ve since stopped fighting it. He’ll grow out of it (one of these days), and we’ll all laugh about it when he’s older.
Anyway, we’re getting such a late start that we’re not doing much ‘school.’ It also doesn’t help that Stiggy’s reading lessons are taking much longer as well. They used to take 15-20 minutes, now they can take up to 45 minutes! Not exactly in keeping with Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of short lessons (10-minutes for his age), but after 10 minutes, we’re just getting warmed up.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is great, but somewhere around lesson 40, things begin to get quite difficult. The child is expected to read the words without sounding them out loud. Stiggy really struggled with this at first, and he just couldn’t understand what I meant when I told him to ‘say it in his head.’ So, I allowed him to silently move his lips as he figured the word out. After about 2 lessons of doing this, I made him stop moving his lips. He did brilliantly, and he said to me, ‘I can hear it in my head!’
Things went along well for a few more lessons. Then we had that 2 weeks off, and when we went back to the lessons, we discovered that the words were getting more difficult (as one would expect). He’s struggling with some of the words, but I’ve noticed that a lot of the time it’s because he’s just not paying attention. He shouldn’t be struggling with words like ‘so’ and ‘he’. What’s happening? I know what it is…he’s not enjoying it as much now. It’s difficult and he’s having to really focus.
He’s not saying he doesn’t want to do it, in fact he’s always quite eager to do his lesson, but once we get to the bit where he has to read without sounding it out (it’s called ‘say it fast’), he slumps in his seat and begins looking around. I encourage him to pay attention, stay focused, and get through it. He eventually does, and he feels a sense of accomplishment. I don’t want to quit doing the lessons, primarily because I don’t want him getting the idea that when things get tough it’s ok to quit, also because I don’t want him to lose what he’s already learned, and also because I want him to continue feeling that sense of accomplishment and that anything worth doing is often difficult. In other words, hard work pays off.
So, we’re changing things. In the morning when I read through the lesson, we’ll do it as is if I think it will go well, shorten it if need be, or I’ll use it as a guide and do a few bits from it, then use a Bob Book or another reader.
I’ve created a reading basket with books that are for Stiggy to read. Right now, I have two boxes of Bob Books, some of the Oxford Reading Tree sets (given to me by a friend), some DK readers snatched up from a charity shop, and Hop on Pop. We also have the Frog and Toad books, the Little Bear series, Home for a Bunny, Carrot Seed, and a few others, but I want to be able to change the books around, so I’m not putting them all out at once. That and the basket is too small for all of them.
I love charity shops. We have a lot of them in England. In our town centre, we have about 10 of them. Every Saturday I do the rounds; I try to hit all of them, or at least the best ones, and most Saturdays I come away with at least one good find. Here are some recent bargains:
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss .59
Bravo, Mr. William Shakespeare! by Marcia Williams .89
The Giraffe and The Pelly and Me (hardcover) by Roald Dahl .79
A Bear Called Paddington & More About Paddington CD .25
Horrible Science Blood, Bones, & Body Bits CD .25
Mozart Musical Masterpieces CD .25
Horrible Histories: Villainous Victorians & Savage Stone Age CD .25
H. Hist. Henry VIII, Queen Victoria, & Mary Queen of Scots CD .25
The Big Alfie Out of Doors Story Book by Shirley Hughes .79
6 Dorling Kindersley readers .29/each