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April 23rd, 2011, 09:23 AM
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Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
Originally Posted by mom24cuties View Post daughter (going to be 1st grader) is very hands on and easily discouraged if she doesnt "get it" right away...
She might be a perfectionist, she might have a learning disability, or she might just be a typical first grader. Hard to tell at that age. If she's a perfectionist, she'll be reluctant to try new things until she's had plenty of time to figure them out in her head first, and if she messes up, she'll be crushed from the embarrassment. If she's learning disabled, she may try really hard over and over to do something, regardless of who's looking, and will get discouraged after all her attempts fail. Somewhere between the two is what a typical first grader might look like. Those are very broad descriptions, and of course not all children fit into those sorts of molds, but it might help you understand her better.

Unless you get a boxed curriculum, there aren't a whole lot of programs out there that contain all the language arts you'll want (at least, not at the level of rigor you might want). Most people (self included) prefer to mix & match to find what works best for them. Here are some things you could consider:


Vocabulary - WorldlyWise (WW) is wonderful. You can buy the workbooks if you want, but there's an online version that's totally free and has recently added the games and such... For a while, it was just the vocab part. — Vocabulary Reinforcement for All

Spelling - I prefer Sequential Spelling (SS) myself (very cheap), but there are a lot of great programs out there. All About Spelling (AAS - hands on, but expensive), Spelling Power (SP), Spelling Workout (SW), etc. Here's a free online spelling program that gets raving reviews as well. Spelling & Vocabulary Website: SpellingCity

Reading (phonics) - For phonics, I absolutely LOVE Explode the Code (ETC ... appx $7 per workbook, and there are 8-ish of them through 4th grade). There's an online version for it, too, but it's not nearly as good as the workbooks, and it's also not free. You'll find people who don't like ETC, but most people do. Other publishers who have really good phonics programs are Abeka (Christian, but not "in your face") and Rod & Staff (R&S ... extremely Christian). I'm sure others will jump in with their favorites, too. Some like "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but I don't. It's a love it or hate it sort of curriculum. I know I'm leaving some out, too. Hooked on Phonics (HoP) works well for some, but I don't really like it, either. That's just me, though. All that really matters is what works for you!

Reading (comprehension) - I LOVE "Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter" from EPS. They're available for grades 2-12, if I remember right, and they're fun, because you know each story will be completely different from the previous one. The early books are just one paragraph with a few questions, and the later books are much longer readings with inference questions and creative writing assignments. The lessons range from biography to math to cooking to fiction. Some aren't even in paragraph form. Some are charts or recipes, and you have to figure out the answers by looking at only what they've given you. It's pretty cool. Explode the Code has a sister series called Beyond the Code, but we didn't like it at all! I wouldn't go with that one if I were you. I don't know anyone who'd be benefitted by that series.

Reading (readers) - Pretty much every publisher will have these, or you can do what we do... just go to the library! Practice reading for comprehension (ask the child to tell you what the book was about, whether they liked it, what they would've changed, etc.), and practice reading for fluidity (reading orally at first). Also be sure to look up any words the child doesn't already know. Don't limit a child when picking out books from the library. If something catches their eye and looks really interesting, get it. They'll either change their mind later, or it'll really be interesting. Even a book that is higher than the child's reading level is fine. You can read together, and hearing you read will show the child how oral reading should sound. Telling a child no to a book (assuming it's not in the adult section or something) implies they're not good enough for that book. It's very discouraging to an emerging reader.

English/grammar - I love, love, love Rod & Staff, however, it's extremely in-your-face Christian, so it turns a lot of people off. Where most books would have you find the simple subject in "The dog chased the ball," R&S would have something like "Isaac married Rebekah." R&S is a mennonite publication. The books are hardback, high quality, very cheap, and rarely have revision, so they're easy to resell later. English goes from 2nd to 10th grade, but those are mennonite grade levels. Their 2nd is more like most people's 1st, and their combined 9th & 10th grade book is more than most people get in college. For most students, the 2nd thru 8th grade books are plenty. R&S puts a ton (really... a ton!) of review into all their materials. You shouldn't feel like you're cheating yourself if you decide to skip something, and a lot of it can be done orally, too. Starting in 3rd grade, you'll have worksheets (optional). The 2nd grade book doesn't have that option. R&S starts out a little behind our grade levels, catches up in about 4th grade, and then makes a bit of a leap in 5th grade. As I said, their 8th is more like our 12th. Don't plan on any one book taking exactly a year. The earlier ones might be rushed through, and the later ones slowed down.

Another English option I like but have chosen not to use is Shurley Grammar.

Writing (penmanship)- For print, I like Handwriting w/o Tears (HWT - secular), and for cursive I like Abeka and Pentime (both are slightly Christian).

Writing (creative) - I like Writing Strands. It's non-graded. You move to the next level when you're ready, regardless of age. It's very non-threatening to students for that reason.


Wow. Where to begin? Maybe I'll just come back for this one. It's another novel.
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