Our first year of homeschooling we used Sonlight. Obviously we've moved away from that - when I get ready for a new year though I always look at Sonlight. There were so many things I loved about it, but far more that I didn't - so I know not to go down that road again. By far my favorite part of Sonlight was read alouds. We read Charlotte's Web, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and tons of other books that year. Some I'd read and some I'd never heard of before. I always enjoyed that time.
This is our first year homeschooling again after my son spent fourth and fifth grade in public school, which is why we are having some adjustment problems this year. A third grader is really different than a sixth grader! Yeah, we'll call that one of my "duh, mom" moments.
In our recent revamping I've started reading out loud to my son again. I know, he's almost twelve (12 - oh my goodness!), and probably doesn't need me reading out loud to him. But although he's always been a very good reader, it's just something he doesn't like to do. A couple months ago I asked him to read Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. This book sat, mostly unread, as we kept putting reading aside to catch the missing pieces of math, or grammar, or whatever was missed in the last couple years.
I picked the book up the other day and started reading to him. Now we spend some time every day reading out loud. We get to discuss the book, he asks me about words or inferences that he didn't understand. We compare how he imagined it and how I imagined it. Basically, we have a good time. And something is finally 'clicking' with him.
He's making the connections between what we're reading and what we're studying (Mayans), and trust me, that boy can make some crazy connections I never thought of! He's even doing better in math, spelling, and writing more fluently (his spelling is still bad though!).
Is this just because I started reading out loud to him again? I'm sure it's not. Completely. While we are still focused on our studies, I finally figured out how to teach my son.
And all it took was Percy Jackson and a quest.