Monday, February 13, 2012


Recently we have come to some much needed revelations.  We (being me mostly but Tom was included in this decision) have decided that the boxed Horizons phonics curriculum we purchased for Alyvia is NOT working.  She does  not sit well to complete an entire lesson (which are some times 6 pages long).  We had been using this curriculum since August.  I had tried EVERYTHING!!  I tried splitting the long lessons throughout the day, making them more fun, writing the answers for her and yet nothing worked.  She was always "tired" or just couldn't sit still.  She cried about not wanting to do her phonics which we also tried calling reading, writing and pages.  I would get frustrated and wonder why I couldn't get her to get it done.  She wanted to learn how to read but wanted nothing to do with phonics.

Finally, two weeks ago now, Tom and I had a really rough night with her.  I had bought some flashcards for her, easy sight words and Tom decided to try them out with her.  He told her they were going to do only the purple side of these flashcards and she agreed to try them.  We all sat on our bed and started going through them.  I didn't expect much because she had not seen these words regularly or been studying them in her phonics lessons (when we managed to get one done).  She was into it and we were working together to figure them out, then Tom saw an easy word on the brown side and he decided to have her try it.  I knew this was a mistake and she would not have it.  She shut down and was "tired" and he got angry.  We went about another 10 minutes trying to coax her into finishing the purple side.  She agreed to try them in exchange for ice cream and we finished.  (Truthfully her efforts were not worth ice cream in my mind but Daddy gave it to her.)

After Lyvi and Wyatt went to bed Tom and I had to discuss what had happened.  I cried telling him that this is what I deal with every day when it comes to her completing her phonics lessons.  He told me he had no clue that this was what I had been trying to explain.  We started talking about what could be the problem, things were mentioned like dyslexia, ADHD, aspergers, stubbornness ect.  And I wanted nothing to do with the conversation.  We agreed that we needed to figure something different out for her phonics and we headed to bed.

I tossed and turned from 1 am to 3 am and finally I had to get up and get on the computer to figure this out.  I searched and searched all night and read a lot of information about everything.  I decided that I would make a list of the issues we have been having and date it.  I was not going to seek any professional help for this yet, I wanted to try to fix the problem without labels, medications or suggestions that public school would be more able to deal with her particular learning challenges.  Then I started making a list of things we could try out that might make the difference between joyous success and frustrated failure.

I ordered (without consulting Tom which I never do) an exercise ball for Lyvi to sit on at the table and rock or slightly bounce on while she does her school work.  This was a suggestion I read during my early morning search and the women who suggested it described similar problems she was having with her son.  I decided I would get silly putty for her to keep her hands busy while I was reading to her or we were trying to get through a lesson that she wasn't 100% interested in.  I also decided to take a new approach with phonics and these have made a world of difference for us.

First I have kept the flashcards and she has learned the entire purple side in the last two weeks.  We have even started doing the brown side with her insisting we try them.  We put the Horizons phonics curriculum in the file cabinet, out of sight and out of mind.  I'm thinking we may try it with Wyatt or just sell it to another family without the first workbook.  We have instead been doing some worksheets from workbooks I got from our Dollar Tree.  They may seem easy to her but they were labeled for first grade and when I looked at the ones labeled for Kindergarten I thought those would be too easy for even Wyatt.  I think she is having her confidence restored and I know she is loving the extra praise.  She has played around on and we signed up for the free trial but the interest in that has been lost I think.  We are instead considering buying a phonics computer game or using free resources we find on the web to supplement the workbooks from the dollar store.

Altogether these last few weeks have been a rude awakening for me.  This is our first official year homeschooling and I feel like I should have had this revelation months ago.  For now I am saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with my baby girl.  The curriculum we purchased did not fit her learning style and personally I feel that I do not fit her learning style either so, my solutions are good~buy to the curriculum and hello to this Mommy trying new ways of teaching her precious daughter.  So far (almost three weeks in) I'd say we are doing a lot better.  Her behavior is even improving.  We love you Alyvia Shaye!!


1 comment:

  1. Shylo,
    It is so great that you found something that works! We have been homeschooling for five years and I still have epiphany moments every now and then. It is terrible to beat your head against the wall to teach something your child doesn't get. And then, when you take a deep breath and try something different things go back to working. The flexibility of homeschooling is awesome isn't it?!
    Happy Homeschooling!
    I kept saying that when I found a great phonics and sight word program my reluctant speller would get better, and I was right!