Many young families are hesitant to pursue homeschooling because they feel the task is overwhelming. I regularly point out that once a child learns how to read, the rest of the education process is a matter of that child interacting with books and learning from authors worth reading. Thus, one of the most important elements in education is building a strong foundation in reading.
Over 23 years ago I came across a simple, yet highly useful phonics program that I used for both my daughters. Sam Blumenfeld’s Alpha Phonics was the no-nonsense method I implemented to build a foundation for excellent reading skills. Having utilized a number of other programs for my first child, I was looking for something without distracting bells and whistles – one that would focus on building a “reading reflex” without adding other confusing elements. Both girls ended up being very capable readers and never, ever was the refrain heard in my home that “I hate reading.” For them, that would be like saying, “I hate breathing!”
Back when I was using it with my girls I also helped a grown man who had struggled with reading since his school days. Far from being stupid, this man had practical knowledge and skills that rivaled many of his peers. Yet, he felt stupid when it came to having to read something and learn it. I had a number of sessions with him using the Alpha Phonics program and I could see the “lights go on” for him. Just recently, I re-connected with this man (via Facebook) who moved clear across the country 18 years ago. In catching up with each other, he let me know that my tutoring had served him in good stead and had provided the motivation for him to continue working at it. His “thank-you” meant the world to me.
This is the time of year when families make their choices for schooling in the fall for their little ones. For those considering homeschooling, I whole-heartedly suggest they look into this gem of a book to help build the foundation for future academic success.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].