I recently wrote a review on Lisa’s website stating that I love homeschooling my kids because I can tailor their education to their individual learning styles. After I wrote that comment, Lisa asked me if I would be willing to write about it for her blog. Absolutely! I love talking curriculum!
I have three very different children with three very different learning styles. My kids are 10, 8 and 7. My oldest has mild dyslexia. I didn’t realize that she actually had reading issues until she reached the age of 7. Not only did she have reading issues, but she also had a significant struggle with math. My middle child has an auditory processing disorder. This particular child had a 15 word vocabulary at the age of 4 and went to speech therapy, language therapy, occupational therapy and a counselor until he was 7 years old. It helped him gain huge strides in many areas that we consider very natural but that didn’t naturally develop in him. And finally, I am fairly certain my youngest is gifted (thank you God for blessing me a low maintenance learner!) and she has pretty much taught herself everything she knows. As you can see I have a wide range of learning styles and have tried several vendors for various subjects to try to teach my kids with curriculum that speaks straight to their learning style. The one interesting challenge I encountered that I did not originally anticipate is that I not only needed to consider curriculum that harmonized with my children’s learning style but found I could only consider products that aligned with my teaching style. In addition, while I have only been homeschooling six short years, I have done significant research. I have discovered there really isn’t bad curriculum. So, while I may say a product did or didn’t work for me, it doesn’t mean it will or won’t work for you. To me, it is all about finding you and your child’s best fit.
The way that I have discovered most of curriculum for my children is by asking others what they use, researching different curriculums through Cathy Duffy Reviews, and by trial and error. When I first began, I started very traditionally and very textbook-driven. I quickly learned after a couple of years that using this method of learning was not a good fit for my oldest child. It was then that I discovered she still couldn’t read well and she couldn’t spell either. We switched over to All About Spelling and we also switched over to RightStart Math. All About Spelling not only taught her how to spell, but it also taught her read. Because they taught phonics skills for encoding to spell, she now had the phonics skills to decode words to read them. As for RightStart Math, it is a very hands-on approach to learning. Their math curriculum does not follow a typical math sequence as other programs, but by using this math program, my daughter learned tools for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. The only down fall with RightStart is that it is teacher intensive and there is no student textbook. I found that I would have to spend 30 minutes each day in math with her. But this program was an answer to prayer and my child made amazing strides with it. She has finished all of the elementary levels and has now moved into another program very smoothly and with confidence.
Tomorrow we will see what Daneale has to say about her other two children…