As you know, Jack is currently home educated. It’s a bit of a long story about how we need up here but suffice to say, he’s now doing really well. Although Jack is almost 6 years old, he works at the level of a 3-4 year old when it comes to literacy. He is also acutely aware that he struggles in this department and as a result engaging him can be tricky. With that in mind I try to keep sit down lessons for literacy as infrequent as possible. Of course, we still read books daily, Jack delights in knowing the story and looking at the pictures trying to guess the story to a new book. We think of alternative endings and talk about what else the characters might like to do. When we are out and about we talk about signs, words in shops, instructions for things. We sound things out and Jack enjoys practising his writing on his white board or chalk board. He prefers it when it’s kept casual, on his own terms.
When we do sit down we have lots of screaming and crying, so I’ve picked a few activities to do at the table (or on the floor) that he likes and can be over and done with quite quickly. One of our favourites at the moment is the Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper Phonics Kit. It has been developed to provide practice and support leading up to the Government’s national phonics screening checks for 6 year olds. Inside a cute little box are three workbooks which give lots of practice in early reading skills, a CD-ROM with 6 interactive eBooks of differing levels and a colourful reward chart with stickers.
We are also using Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper Phonics and First Stories Level One book. This is a lovely book that contains two phonics books to practice letters and sounds (in the form of eye spy) and two first stories to practise everyday language. As always, the illustrations are brilliant, with lovely little details and the stories are funny and engaging. Ava has been reading this book too!
Ava is currently using a selection of wipe clean writing practice cards which she loves! She shows me so proudly when she has finished and can name her letter sounds really well. It’s so important that children enjoy what they are doing and that’s the really great thing about home education; I can present things in a way that my children will respond to.
Another firm favourite are our Melissa and Doug bits and pieces. We have quite a few things from this brand as they fit so well with what we need to practice and they are such good quality. Jack and Ava enjoy sounding out words and putting in the missing wooden letters in this cute set. We also use our Teddy Bear from Melissa and Doug too to help us practice zips, buttons, poppers and laces etc. He’s so cute and the little two really enjoy helping him out!
There are lots and lots of incredible resources on the internet but one of or favourites has to be Twinkle. This website is fantastic and well worth the subscription cost. We print out all of our worksheets from here along with ‘lesson’ plans that help me achieve what I need to and wall display bits. Things are arranged in year groups and subjects and theres a really useful planning and progress tracking section too, along with a section for children with additional needs. Twinkle has been a godsend for us on out home education journey and I highly recommend signing up.
Although this wasn’t a deliberate home ed purchase we do love our wooden alphabet crocodile! He is pulled out on an almost daily basis and is fantastic for letter recognition and fine motor skills when piecing him together. I can’t remember the make but I’m quite certain that similar things can be picked up easily. Alongside our crocodile we enjoy writing our letters in a tray of flour or sand and it’s so good for Jack’s sensory progress. I quite like a cat litter tray for this activity (just make sure it hasn’t been used!) as it’s not too big and the children don’t struggle to get to the flour or sand inside it.
I’ve already mentioned how much we enjoy reading books together but I should mention how much fun we had making our own Story Stones. It’s a really fun and simple way of encouraging children to use their imaginations and make their own stories. We went to the beach one day and grabbed a load of pebbles (and ice creams!) which we brought home and drew and painted different pictures on (having boys in the house has meant that one has a picture of a poo drawn on it!). We put them in a bag or face down on the table and pick a few out. We then have to make a story up based on the pictures we have been given. It’s such a fun thing to do, their imaginations are incredible and I highly recommend it!
What ever you do with your children to assist their learning, the most important thing is to enjoy it!
Why not get in touch and let us know what resources you and your children love?