Homeschooling has been such an evolving lifestyle for our family. After twenty-three and a half years teaching our children at home, we have lived through a wide spectrum of ideas, developments, curriculum experiments and societal perceptions about the practice. I suppose after nearly twenty-four years you would expect that I would finely be finished or at least ready to “finish myself off”. 🙂 Most of you already know that our five children are spread far apart, with the oldest being 29 and the youngest only 12. When my husband was sick and hospitalized for most of last year, the two kids still at home with us attended a semester of public school, so I could take a job. That was one of the biggest “nevers” on my life list. Funny, how God always has His own plans about such things, and how, in the end, it is always the absolute best thing for us.
My husband is well, and back at work full-time. What a blessing! My first inclination at the beginning of this school year was to bring both kids back home — a sixth grader and a junior in high school. Our junior has always struggled with school, because he struggles with reading. He has an eye-tracking problem that doesn’t allow words to stay still and in a straight line the way you and I see them when we read. Needless to say, as much as he disliked reading at home, it was even more painful in the public school setting. Our daughter, however, has seemed to thrive in the Middle School and her grades are as excellent there, as they were at home. Socially, she has settled in and actually loves the interaction with all her friends from church. So, again, contrary to what I believed my plan to be, our twelve-year-old has remained in public school and I find myself in what will likely be my final two years of homeschooling.
Our son, a junior, having experienced the other option, is relieved to be back at home and probably even more cooperative, now that he understands the alternative. That mixed with a very special reading curriculum I was blessed to discover, have made a tremendous impact on the workload he can complete in a day, now, and in the confidence he brings to the table for school each morning. I’d like to share a little bit about it with you, since some of you, like us, may know a struggling reader. After a semester of using it, I believe Reading Horizons could be the solution that helps to alleviate those problems for you, and in fact, may help to prevent them altogether in beginning readers.
Working to remediate a struggling reader for so many years, we have tried MANY, many different programs and usually found ourselves disappointed and right back where we started. I was aware of the Orton-Gillingham method, from early on, and would have loved to have implemented it but the time for training and cost were simply too prohibitive for our family. Other programs were geared to preschool and primary-age children and so left an older, struggling student feeling even more defeated and like he wasn’t capable of learning. To me, Reading Horizons seems to take the best of the multi-sensory approaches from that exceptional Orton-Gillingham method and make them accessible to the lay-teacher, like me, so that I can successfully instruct my son in a way that makes sense to — and sticks with — him.
The unique methodology that incorporates activities and lessons requiring the use of all senses makes this program ideal for not only beginning readers, but for adult literacy, English as a Second Language students and remediating struggling older readers. It is available as a physical text book program or in an online format. Our son has been using the online version of the program for a semester, now. His reading, both out loud and silently, has become more fluid and less labored. Since he spends less time trying to decipher and decode words, he can be more focused on what the passage is actually saying, so there is improvement in his comprehension, though we still have further to go with that. The vocabulary training, along with the phonetic and other lessons and activities, have also improved his spelling and he is able to complete both reading and writing lessons, more quickly than ever before. He is able to see the lesson, hear it audibly, and type or write it, giving his brain three different ways to absorb the material.
The most helpful part is that the curriculum is age appropriate. As a teen or adult, not having to read from a “Dick and Jane” primer and be talked down to is a huge factor in the success of this program, I think. The lessons and libraries of reading material don’t make our son feel incapable or “less than”. Students in the Reading Horizons program read relevant and age appropriate content on a myriad of subjects and interests. Being able to take the skills he learns in these reading lessons and translate them to other assignments, means our son’s grades are improving in History, Science and other subjects, too. As I said, we still have more to achieve, but to finally feel that we are moving forward is a great relief. I believe this curriculum and its effective teacher training materials, videos and blog have made that possible. I know our son’s Senior year will be much brighter and productive due to our finding it.
I hope you will check out Reading Horizons on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, to get even more information, and if you are in need of excellent training material for beginning, or even struggling, readers, I believe you need look no further than this unique and excellent program.