I have mentioned before that my 8 year old has struggled with certain aspects of learning. He’s a very bright boy with tons of creativity, so it really surprised me when I began to notice he just wasn’t catching on as quickly as most of the other children, including his younger brother. It was difficult to come to terms with this as a mother, but I was determined to stick with it and find a way to get him over the “hump” and into a love of reading.
First of all, I slowed WAY down on his studies. I gave him about a month long break from the two subjects that were giving him the most trouble. This allowed him time to relax and gave me time to find resources. When we started back up, it was at a much slower pace. I took a week on concepts that were taking the other kids a day or so. I reviewed every chance I got, and I also gave him room to breathe and mull over the things he was learning.
Secondly, I let him talk it out. He’s naturally a talker. He likes to discuss the concepts, the artistry behind the pictures, the way the letters curl across the page. He likes to tell me what he knows, what he thinks, and what he imagines. So, I let him. This may not be how your child operates, but the lesson here is that he needed to work within his personality. Things needed to make sense to HIM. If you have a struggling learner, taking the time to understand his or her brain and then allowing them to naturally weave the academics into how their brain works will be a huge benefit to you!
Please note that you will have to rein your child in from time to time. Micah gets carried away, but I am ever ready to gently bring him back to the task at hand.
Next, I praised every little accomplishment. After he would read a list of words, I would tell him what a good reader he was. When it would take him days to finish a phonics book, I would tell him that doing so gave us more time to enjoy the story. I tried very hard to never be exasperated.
Often, we homeschool moms get exasperated because our children are “behind,” and we are scared of what that says about us. We have to get over that, and get back to work without letting our fears get in the way.
Lastly, I focused on review and reinforcement. I knew if he was going to succeed, he needed review and reinforcement, and he needed different sources for that review and reinforcement. I encouraged him to read book covers in the library, billboards on the road, and titles on the television. And I started him on Reading Eggs.
Let me explain a little bit about Reading Eggs and why we decided on this program over others we had looked at and even tried…
In full disclosure, I did agree to write a sponsored post for Reading Eggs and The Motherhood, but only if it was a good fit for our family. It has been a fantastic fit! So, I am more than happy to offer my opinions to my readers and also give you a 4 week FREE TRIAL to allow you plenty of time to try it out for yourself!
The reason I was willing to try Reading Eggs in the first place was because I had heard from another homeschool mom that it had really helped her children. So, it came recommended – and we all know how invaluable homeschool mom recommendations are!
I noticed right away that the program was interested in starting Micah in the right place, but without automatically labeling him a certain grade or skill level. The placement test never said what grade he was testing in, it simply stopped when he got 3 wrong and gave a recommendation as to what lesson he should start on. However, as the parent, YOU are in charge of where your child starts. If you don’t like the recommendation, that’s ok. Choose a different starting place.
Once he started the lessons, I saw right away that Reading Eggs actually wanted to teach him something. It wasn’t full of meaningless games and silly extras. You can do extras if you want, but otherwise you can just stay on the the lesson path. And it’s not that the lessons are boring, they just aren’t so full of silliness that the learning gets lost in the entertainment. I don’t need another “game” for him to play. I need that review and reinforcement I was talking about earlier.
I do want to note that there is a bit of a learning curve in how to navigate the site. The back button didn’t always take me where I thought I was going, and when you hover over different areas of the page, there isn’t any indication as to what is clickable and what is not. But, that wasn’t a big deal in the overall scheme of things, and I eventually figured it out.
Another thing I like is that Reading Eggs is web-based, so Micah can use whatever computer is open. This makes it much more user-friendly in a large family household. There is also an app, but I haven’t used it yet, so you’ll have to try it out and let me know what you think. You will have access to the app if you get the free trial.
We’ve been using Reading Eggs for about 3 weeks now, and I can honestly say I’m seeing a difference in his reading outside of “school hours.” That’s what I was looking for! I knew if I could get him reading outside of school time, we were well on our way!
So, with us slowing down the pace, making sure he had plenty of time to be himself with the material, giving him lots of praise, and reviewing in a multitude of ways, we are making great progress! He’s feeling so much more confident in his ability to read, and I’m feeling like we are winning this battle!
Do you have more questions about helping a struggling reader or want to know more about our experience with Reading Eggs? Check out the comments section below or send me an email!