My Kids, Parenting, Uncategorized

Noelle and Reading

Next on our summer list, while the girls had art classes on certain days, was Noelle’s daily Reading and Math class for 3 weeks. We enrolled her in Right Start, a small school in our village, where my kids’ friends went to for pre-school. My friend Ken Amador offered to give Noelle a ride each morning to and from school, along with her son and niece. Thank God for generous, thoughtful friends indeed!

Noelle learned to read when she was 4, but I wasn’t really able to help her progress much. Maybe she wasn’t ready yet because she’d say she’s already tired, and sometimes she couldn’t remember the first letter she just pronounced. It was pretty easy to teach Danae to read, and so I was at a loss when it came to Noelle haha. I just let her be, injecting some reading exercises from time to time, but I decided not to force it. Now that she’s 5, and we’re formally (meaning enrolled and real grades will be involved) homeschooling her this year, I wanted her to be prepared. And because I wasn’t sure how to help her, I thought a summer class might do the trick.

What surprised me before classes started though, was that she WAS reading more words and she was more interested in trying. She would still guess sometimes, instead of really reading, but she was improving. By the time classes started, I knew that she was already able to read short sentences, to remember, understand, and repeat them. I gave her teacher a heads up and so they soon included her in the more advanced math and reading class (those entering 1st grade).  I was so proud of her for doing the work! She kept saying she’s already grade 1, haha. She’s incoming Prep or Kinder 2 actually. Her teachers even said that she works fast and always wants more. She still has much to improve on, but she has made progress. Now she can count to the hundreds too, when she couldn’t even count properly before — she’d always skip 19 and 20 for some reason haha.

The fact that I could leave her in class (of course I wanted to be there on her first day and some of her days) without any problems, and seeing her comfortable with her teachers and classmates made me even more proud. The last time she was in a regular school setting, she was very cooperative but didn’t talk much or display her true personality. Her teacher in Right Start was somewhat surprised that she is very well-socialized despite her being home-schooled (a common misconception; most homeschooled kids have no problem talking to other kids AND adults). I’m happy that though Noelle is the more reserved one compared to her sister, she is becoming more comfortable around new people.

I really believe that a child’s learning depends on their readiness. I’ve seen it time and time again with my kids, that it is easiest to train and teach them when they are ready. Danae was ready to eat at 4 months, while Noelle was ready at 6. They both were ready to be potty trained before they turned 3, and I believe they were diaper-free by age 3. Danae understood what discipline meant, though not necessarily adhering to it haha, at 11 months old, while Noelle understood when she was around 15 months old. Danae was ready to read at age 3, while Noelle became ready between 4 and 5. Though it is true that there are many things that can’t wait and that we ought to teach as early as possible, such as the Gospel, maybe how to communicate eye-to-eye, how to share, how to be respectful, how to obey, etc, there are certain things that we need to be more patient and discerning with. When I wait for the right timing, it becomes unforced, it takes less effort, and it results more often than not in success. 🙂

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Noelle chatting it up with her friend Bea on her first day at Right Start. 🙂
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Teacher Helen instructing them to write their names.
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Snack time!
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Bea, T. Helen, and Noelle after a birthday party in school. 🙂
My Kids, Parenting

Danae’s Read-A-Thon

Danae’s school recently concluded their book month, wherein they, aside from other activities, promoted the Read-A-Thon in all levels. As the kids read books at home, the parents or guardians were asked to time them and record the title of book, time started, time ended and date on a sheet of paper. The teachers scheduled a certain period during class hours where the kids were to drop everything that they were doing, and read. The teachers timed them and listed their readings too. Whoever would spend the most (accumulated) time reading, would win a prize. The goal was to get the kids to appreciate and have a love for reading.

I enjoyed this particular exercise because reading and comprehension come easy to Danae (her school has recognized her skill in reading for 2 years now), and it was an opportunity to practice and make it an everyday thing. She almost always obliged when I’d encourage her to read a few books, because it was sort of like homework, which she enjoys doing. I didn’t even tell her that there’s a prize involved because I didn’t want it to be about getting the prize and I didn’t want her to get disappointed if she didn’t get any.

Because we would read at least 2 books daily, sometimes even  up to 6 to 8 short stories, it became somewhat of a habit. We would read to her everyday, especially her Bible story before going to bed, but during the Read-A-Thon, she started wanting to read it herself! Only exceptions were the few nights when she was already super sleepy. I mean, Danae would read by herself, sure, but it wasn’t a regular thing that I pushed. She’s more into grabbing a notebook, doodling or writing or drawing. Now, it’s EASIER to tell her that it’s time to read, and when we tell her it’s Bible time, she automatically reads it herself. We just ask questions later on, to make sure she understood it. But of course we still enjoy reading to her, especially her children’s Bible called the Jesus Story Book Bible. Even I get refreshed reading it. It’s just so wonderful.

So who won in the Read-A-Thon? I kept thinking that Danae surely would, because she read A LOT. We filled up about 3 pages (bond paper), listing the stories she read. She did the work! But I have no idea. There has been no announcement yet. And it doesn’t even matter. I got greater news from her teacher yesterday. Danae’s going to be part of the Fast Readers program in her school! I’m so proud of her and I love that the school encourages them and gives them an avenue to develop their strengths. Like I said before, our kids are already TEN TIMES BETTER than we are. King and I were never natural readers and we didn’t have a love for reading as kids, but our kids seem to. We are extremely grateful for that. 🙂