Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Curriculum Slave?

It can be easy to become a slave to curriculum.  For example I really like Rod & Staff, so I chose to use their Bible Nurture and Reader Series (BNRS) to teach my beginning reader.  I like the mix of phonics, sight words, and Bible stories.  But..., it moves too fast for my kids.  My 7yo was taking about 45 minutes per workbook (one for phonics, one for reading comprehension/skills) with me sitting beside her.  When we finished, my brain felt like it had been sent through a blender.  After one of these torture sessions, I wondered why I was making us endure this?  Why was I trying to force her into a mold rather than individualizing the instruction to her needs?

I'm a rule follower and I struggled with the realization that one of my favorite curricula wasn't going to work for us.  Wait.  I started thinking, "Is BNRS good? Yes.  Do I need to use the materials step-by-step as laid out in the teacher's notes? No.  There is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater." 

We have continued to use the phonics and the sightword flashcards that accompany the stories found in the BNRS Readers.  We have hit the pause button in regards to the workbooks while solidifying her knowledge of phonics with Progressive Phonics readers (free online) and ABeka's Handbook for Reading (phonics textbook).

Learning to read can be fruitful without being frustrating if, as her teacher, I remember to go at her pace.  She'll get there.