Thursday, April 21, 2011

Welcome to Homeschool Lite

Okay. So in my boredom I decided to go ahead and change the name of our blog. Its mostly about our educational endeavors so in the spirit of it all I decided to go ahead and give it a fun , educational type name.

I decided on Homeschool Lite and for these reasons:

1) Even though we are not homeschooling right now, we still homeschool. Does that make any sense? My girls attended private school this year but in the beauty of brick and mortar school is I'm basically paying people to educate my children so they can come home and I can actually educate them at home. Ugh. Talk about a 'good' use of money, right? Not really.

2) The Lite came from the fact that I am lightly homeschooling them. I mean the poor little oafs go to school for 6hrs a day. So there is only so much opportunity I have once they get home to challenge them a little more than what they get in school. Granted my girls aren't geniuses but they really do need some challenges in certain areas, and my two older girls need remedial work in math. Maggie is like a little sponge who actually asks me to give her homework even after she's been in school all day. I just let her do as much as she wants. I don't push it , she does.

3) They eventually will all return home. Homeschooling really is a part of who we are as a family. Regardless of what my 13yr old wants to think. The school this year is not having their 7th and 8th grades due to lack of enrollment. So home they will come. We really did and still do have fun as a family and since God gave us one life to live. Why not do live it the way that makes us all happy? I think the only thing I would wish differently is that homeschoolers in our area would actually walk of their houses and start doing some fun things together as families and quit being such hermits. We really do need activities to do for our children, friendships to be made. Until homeschoolers in our area quit being antisocial homeschooling will just not be looked upon in a good light. I've even noticed some families coming in to the girls' schools that are homeschoolers right now. Their BIG complaint? No real social outlet for their children. We really need to open our eyes and so something about it.

If you've noticed on the side right at the very top. I slaved over making a button for my blog too. I am not that technologically educated. I've always been comfortable with the basics of computer stuff. Finding what I need on the internet by Googling, typing on a blog, using Facebook. I'm slowly learning but not as fast as I wish. There are lots of things I wish I could do with my blog to make it more neat looking like some of the other blogs I've seen. I'm sure I'll figure that out. But in the meantime this is what my blog will look like until I get it figured out.

Interlox Giveaway

If you haven't noticed lately. Not to much is going on in the Reed family household.
Other than getting ready for Baptisms and Communion. Its Easter time alright.

So I've been keeping myself busy letting others know about some awesome giveaways that I come upon. Either finding out by my favorite forum Brillkids, or by email, or heck even by Facebook.
I mean who really doesn't like a giveaway? I know I love to enter even though I've yet to win even one. But its the idea of learning about something new that is really enjoyable for me. There is just so much out there that it would be impossible to know everything that is out there. That is why there are those lucky few that get to try them out and then let everyone know about it.

So this morning I click on my email to Confessions of a Homeschool mom and learn about something new. That would be Interlox. Its better than blocks, more stable than blocks and most similar to legos but without all those bumps. I mean what self respecting Barbie would lay on Lego blocks when you've got Interlox?
They do look pretty neat though. The great part? Is there is another giveaway. So jump on over to Along the Way and sign up with their giveaway and learn something new today.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spin USA Giveaway

North, South , East and West,

Spin USA is the best!

Here is a fun packed geography game to teach the kiddos their states and capitals.
Check out Confessions of a Homeschooler blog for more details on the Giveaway and Good Luck!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Speekee Giveaway

Let me tell you there is just so much out there and so little time to look at it all. So when I learned of Speekee from another blogger I thought I'd share it all with you.

I am still learning about this program but it is an early learning Spanish program for young children all the way to age 10. Heck it looks so promising that it maybe can teach a 34 yr old Spanish. Which would be very helpful by the way since we just had a Spanish family join our parish just recently.

So here is the link. Maybe I can do a giveaway of this program once I give it a try myself.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Phonics vs. Sight Words

Every morning I get up. Get the girls ready for school and then come home have breakfast and read blogs and facebook.
Sadly, this has become to routine and honestly can't remember the time of what I did before I ever had a computer. Happily, though I've met so many people I would have never of met otherwise. I've met homeschoolers, families with children like my MaggiePie, and just people whom I actually have things in common with.

Which leads me to the blog Down's Syndrome Up Up and Away. I was reading this morning a post the author had written about the phonics vs. sight words debate.
I honestly have to agree with her that there really should and doesn't need to be a debate. Why? Both methods get people reading.
According to the Live Science blog some 14 percent of Americans do not have the ability to read. Which means 1 in 7 people are illiterate. That even shouldn't be in this country, but it is. Even more there are some estimates that there are at least 774 ( or maybe more ) million people on the planet that do not have the ablitity to read.
With all of that said, why should methods even be debated at all? If we can get people confident and reading instead of frustrated to no end and quitting and giving up on reading all together. Then again, why even debate?

In my 8yrs of homeschooling my daughters the one thing I've learned is that there are different learners. Some children will do best with one method over another and no two children are the same. My oldest is very bright. Has a memory of an elephant yet at the age of 13 sometimes doesn't utilize that to her full potential. When she was young she learned everything and anything that came her way. So naturally as I started in with my homeschooling journey I confired to the 'experts' when it came to what to use, what not to use etc. The one thing that I found where there was such hard , staunch supporters of phonics only. Sight word reading was treated as the evil that it was.
I also didn't realize that yes, young children could learn to read, heck babies can too. My oldest was 3 at the time and you would think that it would have clued me in but for some reason I was lead to believe that she was just memorizing things. Besides I knew of no one that had a young child reading.
So for years I taught, I mean tortured my oldest with phonics only. Because as I was being told, that's the better way, that's the ONLY way to learn to read. So I bought into it and it took us a long time to really get Marilyn up and reading. She finally wasn't reading fluently until at least the age of 9! Yes, this little girl who was happy, and taking in the world totally shut down with phonics until the age of 9. I was happily told by other homeschool moms to put the book away, read to her and it would come with time. This was partly true. Of course I love reading to my daughters. That in itself teaches children to love reading. To this day I still read outloud to my daughters. But the actual act of teaching reading with phonics was such a struggle for her. I wished I had picked up on the fact that she had an awesome memory and that sight reading at first would have been the best for her. Granted she's reading now but the whole process could have been WAYYYYYY better.

Next came my 2nd daughter. She is 11 now and reads about the same level as her oldest sister who struggled. Katie was the total opposite of Mare. She literally wanted to learn to read. At first I thought to myself that this was going to be even tougher than the oldest child. After all Katie had speech difficulties and naturally I had specialists telling me that children with speech difficulties were harder to teach. Oh how fun! Anyways, Katie turned out to be my easiest child to actually teach. Phonics clicked with her like it was her native language and by the time she was 5 she was reading at a 1st grade level! We literally skipped kindergarden. Because she did kindergarden at home even though she was going to preschool. She wanted to so I let her lead the way. She made teaching reading so easy that I thought I was maybe doing something wrong. I didn't have to put the 100 EZ lessons book away at any time. There were no tears , no huffing and puffing, no going on book strikes. Katie read and she read away. Looking back on it all I think that having her sister there and that sibling competitiveness came in very handy for her.

Then came along my 3rd daughter. I had a rough birth with her which I believe did something and caused her speech delay. Hannah just really didn't speak. After all she is Hannah and had two sisters that spoke volumes, so why speak? Hannah didn't talk until she was 4.5 years old. But she took everything in. She was no dummy, and still isn't. Looking back on it had I had the knowledge of infant reading I think she would have done excellent with learning to read when she was little. She would have had plenty of time to contemplate all those words. With this said , Hannah is a good reader today at age 7yrs. 10 months. Phonics too was helpful to her and she was reading at age 5 but not at the same level that Katie was. I had used K12 and though I liked their phonics we were kind of sludging through. It wasn't until I pulled out my 100 EZ lessons , once again, that she flourished and is now reading well at least a 2nd grade level right now.

Last but not at all least is my Maggie girl. At age 4yrs 8 months she is reading at an early 1st grade level. It wasn't until I stumbled upon Your Baby Can Read did I finally learn that babies and young children( talking mostly about children before the age of preschool) could learn to read. Had I known this I would have done this from day 1 with my oldest daughter. It would have saved us a LOT of struggles. Sadly I didn't learn all of this until my youngest was 4yrs old. I knew that some kids could read early. But those where the smart kids. You know, the ones that one day just start reading? Those weren't my kids. I once came upon a mom who had a son who was reading at the age of 3. At the time my oldest was about 6yrs old or so and I had innocently questioned the mom what she did to get him up and reading like that. Natuarally it was, he just learned it on his own. His big sister was learning to read and he learned right along side her. I'm sure that could have been the case. But I looked upon that as he was gifted , and gifted my children were not. So I dismissed it all. Thinking that only certain children could learn to read early like that. I was lucky to get my girls reading at a 1st grade level by the time they were 5. Little did I know that natural window was really closing by then.

With that long speech I've learned quite a bit along the way. That you have to teach your child with what works best for them. Had my middle two had been younger I would have most likely needed to have used sight reading with them to begin with because little ones just have a difficult time with phonics. I've found that getting them reading is what makes them confident. Phonics can be learned later or in conjunction with getting them to read. I'm not putting down phonics. It is necessary to break down unfamiliar words. But phonics is NOT the end all to be all. What is important is to get your children reading first, loving to read. Then everything else falls into place. If you get a child frustrated with reading then reading becomes this horrible struggle and then ultimately the child gives up. They either shut down completely and not learn to read, or they shut down in a more suttle way by not reading on or above grade level and they lose that love of reading altogether.

I'm happy enough to say that Maggie is reading, she's even showing signs that she's figuring out phonics on her own. Of course I'm supplementing with showing her how to sound out words that are decodeable when we come upon them. Websites like Starfall help too. So just because you start with one method doesn't mean at all that you can't combine , or go back to once your kids are reading. After all growing up as a child I don't remember having instruction with phonics whatsoever. Guess, what? I've always read above grade level growing up as a child, and when I come upon words I don't know I literally know how to sound them out. Sorry phonics only advocates, so how's that for phonics only???

Friday, April 8, 2011

Read and Share Give Away

Jump on over and check out the Read and Share Give Away.
Its a cute Bible program geared towards preschool/elementary students.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

HUGE Montessori Giveaway

Have you ever drempt of having an unlimited amount of Montessori curriculum at your disposal? Well look no more.
Two websites are currently holding a HUGE Montessori give away.

Montessori Print Shop is one of my favorite Montessori suppliers, offering over 940 beautiful printable Montessori materials in digital file format. I’m extremely excited to be able to offer such a wonderful prize (all the Montessori Print Shop PDF files) for my giveaway!!! And the giveaway is open to my readers worldwide! Perfect for school or home use for children ages 18 months-early elementary!

What You Will Win: Montessori Print Shop Deluxe CD Rom 2-Disc Collection – 944 Montessori Materials AND 4 Primary Teaching Manuals!

all PDF Files listed at the store at this time

944 Montessori materials

all PDF Files listed at the store at this time

944 Montessori materials

4 Primary Teaching Manuals in PDF File format

(Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math)

Instructions on how to prepare and use:

Toddler Cards and Books

3-Part Cards

Nomenclature Books and Cards

Match-Up and Memory

FREE Xpresspost shipping

Current Value: $580.25. If you were to purchase all of these files individually it would cost $2152.27!

Montessori Print Shop will ship the product at no cost to the winner. Winner must provide Montessori Print Shop with full shipping address (including phone number). Winner will be contacted directly by e-mail for shipping address (address and phone number is kept confidential). Be sure to use an e-mail address through which you can be easily reached if you win.

Where can you get all of this stuff? Go to and