Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Virtual Homeschool Co-Op #3: Our Reading List

VHC's 3rd assignment is about our homeschool reading list. 

  • How and where do you get your list? 
  • How big is your list? 
  • How do you assign reading? 
  • Do you give rewards or incentives for reading?
  • Do you quiz for comprehension?
  • What is your intent or goal that you use your reading list to accomplish?

So, before I saw this question on VHC, I can't say that I actually intentionally thought of the phrase "book list". However, I guess we do use one of those. 

In the past, I have used "boxed curriculum", so I just used whatever books they suggested or the books that came with the set. Then I just used the books however the curriculum told me to. 

Yeah, I'm that homeschool mom. I don't always know how to think outside the box. :-P

Anyway. Here is what our reading has looked like in the past:

Our K5 curriculum came with little readers that were meant to aid in the process of learning to read.

In 1st grade, we changed our boxed curriculum and my children read stories from a Bible Reader, which was on the 1st grade level and served the purpose of not only aiding in learning to read, but also for my children to begin to know what the Bible says. There was a certain story assigned to read about 2-3 days per week. 

Our 2nd grade kit came with a set of readers. We're still learning to read in 2nd grade, so the readers were for that purpose, but these stories began to instill character concepts, which I like. There were a certain number of pages to be read twice a day.
Last year, we used a "Book Basket" where we filled a basket, or crate, with books of the topic we were studying. Those books came from the library and/or books we already had and they changed every 1-2 weeks. We set aside a predetermined amount of time during the day for reading with no particular number of pages to read. I also had the kids pick a book to read aloud to me every couple of days and I asked them questions to check for comprehension.

We also began to use read alouds last year. This was a set that came with our curriculum and the books coordinated either with the era of history we were studying or with the Bible theme. We generally read 1 chapter per day, but if the chapter was a bit longer, we'd take 2 days to cover a chapter. The kids really have enjoyed using read alouds. 

Now to this school year:

I have some curriculum readers that I had previously purchased from other homeschool moms that we hadn't used yet. So, I decided to use them for our reading list this year. 

For Adelle, we have begun this school year with a set of  A Beka Book readers from their 3rd grade level. She can read these pretty well, but it hasn't hurt at all for her to read on a level that is a little bit below her ability. It's actually encouraging for her. Then she'll move on to the 4th grade readers. There are questions at the end of each story to check for comprehension and for thinking skills to be built. Building character has become a big deal for me and these readers cover various quality character concepts so I am happy about that. 

Jonathan is using Horizons 2nd grade reader set that consists of 2 books. In the 1st reader, he is reading through Robinson Crusoe that has been rewritten for a 2nd grade level. There aren't any given comprehension questions, so I'll occasionally ask a few questions here and there. He'll move on to the 2nd reader and then I don't know from there. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

I also plan to begin assigning book reports about halfway through this school year. I haven't decided how to do that yet, but I realized that it would be good practice for them to relay back what they have read in that type of format, just for the purpose of critical thinking. Jonathan's will probably be done orally as he is having a difficult time with his handwriting this year. And I must mention that I found these simple formats - for free! - that will be a great beginning for us from Beth Gorden over at 123 Homeschool 4 Me. 

For our read alouds this year, we are reading through the Millers series books, which are for the purpose of character building.

I have also just discovered Lamplighter books and I would love to begin building up a library of those. They are most excellent! 

I must say that I am so blessed that my children love diving into books. I usually find them reading when the house has become too quiet and I go investigate. I'll also find them hiding with a book when they're supposed to be doing some chores. Can I really complain about that? 

Paul and I like books ourselves so the kids come by it naturally. We have books all over the house. You'll find books on our school shelf, in crates in our make-shift shelving in the dining/school room, on shelves in Adelle's room, on a shelf and in boxes in mine and Paul's bedroom and soon-to-be in Jonathan's room when we get a shelf in there.

I haven't had to use any incentives or rewards to get my kids to read. We are book-loving people. What can I say?

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