Teaching phonics at home starts when your child is just a toddler and then continues for several years. Eventually, your child will have mastered phonics instruction and it becomes second-nature to them as they use it within all areas of language arts.
In part 1 of all about teaching phonics for homeschool moms, we looked at the what and how of teaching phonics gently to toddlers and as a part of real life. In this article, we will look at the best way to implement formal phonics lessons and the best programs to use.
This article is part of a series meant to encourage and prepare moms to teach language arts at home to their children using almost any program.
- My approach to teaching language arts is very loosely based on the Spalding method which I have adapted to meet our needs as a large homeschooling family who embraces a lifestyle of learning.
- My goal is to show you how to teach yourself language arts so that you can teach your children language arts – while instilling a love of learning in your children.
- You will learn how to be intentional in language arts instruction so that you are prepared and able to utilize almost any language arts curriculum to your benefit.
- You may even realize you can create your own curriculum using the simplest and cheapest materials like notebooks and pencils!
- I recommend that you teach language arts to your children by example as soon as possible as an extension of parenting.
All About Teaching Phonics For Homeschool Moms Part 2
Let’s take a quick look at the definition of phonics to gain a deeper understanding before diving into when & how to start formal lessons.
Definition of phonics:
- 1. the science of sound
- 2. a method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning the phonetic value of letters, letter groups, and especially syllables
A symbol representing a vocal sound.
Become More Structured
- Around ages 4 to 6, sit down with your child for several minutes and use flashcards or resources from your curriculum to go through all 70+ phonograms. Do this 2+ times per week.
- You don’t have to do all 70+ phonograms every time. You can break it into vowels, consonants, single, or multi-letter phonograms – whatever works best.
- If your child seems to handle the lessons, then move forward with your curriculum plan.
- Taking it slow and being sure your child is not getting burnt out is important, though.
- Keep the seatwork and formal studies short & sweet. Do not expect your child to sit still or pay attention for hours at a time, especially without frequent breaks (bathroom/water breaks are great ways to let them stretch their legs every 15-minutes or so).
- Some children will not be ready for formal lessons until age 8 or older. That’s okay!
Best Phonics Programs
The Gillingham ManualWriting Road to Reading: The Spalding MethodThe Phonics Road to Spelling & Reading Level 1Spell to Write And Read / Core KitHomeschool K5 Curriculum All About Reading Level 1 Teachers Manual 2nd edition
Phonics Programs That Teach Phonics First
Keep in mind that curricula and resources are meant to be a tool for you as the parent-teacher and you have control over how you use them. I rarely follow any program “by the book” and you don’t have to either!
I have realized over the last several years that curriculum programs are great for ME to use to learn about a subject and then I can use that information to teach my children through a lifestyle of learning. I can use what I have learned as a resource to customize and create learning opportunities for my children, but I do not necessarily need to use the curriculum as the publisher intended (except when it comes to math, lol … someday I will feel more confident in my math skills, right? I can hope.).
It took me a few years of homeschooling before I felt confident enough in my teaching abilities to transition to learning through real life rather than being tied to textbooks with a scope & sequence designed by someone who does not know my family.
You can embrace a lifestyle of learning, too … it doesn’t have to happen overnight, but it can start now!
- To teach language arts in the way I have explained in part 1, you should choose a Spalding based program, but be ready to adapt it to your family’s needs. Alternately, the Orton-Gillingham method may be used with adaption as well.
- The Phonics Road To Spelling and Reading was my first real exposure to the in-depth phonics-first method and the teacher training DVDs were invaluable to me – I highly recommend it if you can afford it!
- Spell To Write and Read is similar to The Phonics Road but is more affordable -the downside is that it does not have DVD instruction – however, the complete set does include a CD with all of the phonograms on audio. (this is what we are currently using) They do sell a DVD that demonstrates the teaching method, but it is not great quality.
- Logic of English Foundations and Essentials are supposed to be based on the methods I recommend, too. I have read some of their literature, but have never used their curriculum.
- A Beka Book is a pretty solid program and it’s what we first started using in our homeschool – it does not go in-depth with phonograms, which I believe does the parent and child a disservice.
- All About Reading is a program I have not personally used, but it is phonics-based and I know many who use it successfully, so I will include it. They have a helpful app for learning the phonograms, although the consonants l & y are not pronounced as clearly as I would like on the app.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments and I’ll do my best to address them!