Ignoring the School System: How I got my 7 year old to read


 I love reading and so did my mom. When I’m not being harassed by my monster toddler, which is everyday these days (thanks teething!) I am an avid reader. However, reading didn’t come easy for me. I tested into school at 4 with my late December birthday, making me the youngest in my class. I remember very vividly that 5 of us kids in the first grade had to stay after school with Sister Marie Helene for extra help with reading. By the time I was in second grade I was out reading everyone else.

I just knew Johanna would love reading like me. That she would totally be into literature and desire to go to far away lands all day everyday via the pages of books. However, before I homeschooled Johanna, I heard all of these stories from parents saying how they got their kids to read by age 3, and by kindergarten they were reading chapter books. To say the pressure was on was a MAJOR understatement. It felt scary and uncomfortable. Johanna had zero interest in letters let alone reading. What if she didn’t measure up? What if she wasn’t ready? Was that a thing? So, I was hard on her. As I think back on it and see my poor, sweet little 3 year olds face, I feel sick. I was so hard on her and I completely regret it.

When we decided to homeschool, I took a lot of time to read homeschool blogs and to speak with homeschoolers in various groups across facebook. The one thing that some of them that I really admire they drilled into me was that this was the benefit of homeschool. You can take your time, go your child’s pace. You don’t have to worry about forcing them to be ready for something that they just may not me. Don’t get me wrong, you still have your fair share of homeschoolers who believe in having their child read by age 6, ready or not, but I found that majority do not. So, I fell back and realized Johanna was indeed not ready, and that was ok. As the as the days and months went by I realized that she was more into science and math. I didn’t have to push her in those areas. She adored them both, so I worked with her much on those two subjects, but I didn’t push reading aside.

Late into Johanna’s 5th year I introduced Teach Your Child to read in 100 Easy Lessons to her. We very slowly went through it and she enjoyed it enough. I also read to her a ton throughout the day. She loved story books and I love books period, so it worked really well.

The summer of Johanna’s 6th year here on this Earth we became bored with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I knew that if we were bored it would no longer be effective, so I simply stopped. We made it to lesson 79. I still 100% recommend it when teaching your child to read, and I will use it with Isabella as well.

This past fall I tried my best to use All About Reading, but it was very clear even in the first week of us using it that it wasn’t going to work. We pushed through for a month, but it was terrible. We both just wanted it to stop, but goodness, I had already spent money on the curriculum and I didn’t have anything else in mind! That is when I found out that one of my favorite curriculum’s, The Good and the Beautiful, had a language arts curriculum. After researching it I decided to give it a go. Then I found out something amazing – it was free! That particular curriculum is free through 5th grade on their website. You download it and print it yourself (or you can feel free to buy the printed version). I was ecstatic! This gave me the opportunity to try it out with Johanna without feeling like I may once again waste money.

I also started reading awesome chapter books with Johanna. We would read, then watch the movie (we only picked those books with movies). We read books like Black Beauty, A Cricket in Times Square, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory… it was fun, and effective!

I picked out level books for Johanna to read in down time. I know a lot of parents give their children above level books to challenge them, but Johanna can’t handle that. She is the kind of girl that cries when she doesn’t get an answer right. She likes to be perfect in everything she does. I did not want to frustrate her and turn her off of reading.

I am proud, very proud, tears rolling down my face proud, to say that today, at 7 years old, I gave Johanna an assessment test and she is reading on a low second grade level. Are you getting this??? Second grade! She went from barely being able to read anything beyond a, the, is, her name, and maybe two other words at 5/6 to reading slightly above grade level at 7. I’m so proud of my girl! She’s improving every day. And guess what? Yesterday she finished the first book she’s ever read on her own. Big News! Emma is on the Air. It’s a really cute book featuring an adorable Latina girl who wants to be FAMOUS! I definitely recommend it…Johanna does too.

The one lesson I have learned while teaching Johanna to read is that patience is key. It’s ok that she is not doing what every other kid I know is doing. It’s ok if she isn’t picking up some things as fast. She is learning, and she is thriving in her own areas. This is absolutely the beauty of being a homeschool family. Also, curriculum is not one size fits all. It may take test driving a few to see what works for you. Always check to see if the curriculum has test pages you can download to see if it’s something you really want to commit to.

So please, don’t give up on your child. Don’t get frustrated. Don’t throw the towel in. Don’t question whether or not you’re a good enough teacher. Don’t push them to the point of frustration. Breathe. Take a break. Research what else might work. Give them some grace. Give them time. It will happen. They will learn whatever it is you’re trying to teach them – in due time. But first, do something that I often forget to do first…Pray and ask the Lord to lead you. I don’t seem to ask him until I’m already flailing. I’m working on that.


Summer Reading Giveaway!

Like a lot of a parents I worry about my child losing very necessary skills during the summertime. I’m all for having time off, but I also feel like the learning train for math and reading should not stop. Because I am blessed to be a homeschooler, I am able to homeschool year round, and that’s just what I do. However, I do just focus on very specific things, and any teaching that is done only lasts an hour or two, then Johanna is free to go about her day as she likes.

One of my favorite places to find learning material is in the Target dollar aisle. From maps to flashcards, I’m always surprised at what I find there. I was recently alerted that they had a ton of education materials currently in the dollar section and I jumped on it. Mmmm but in my excitement I ended up getting a book I already own, and then I turned around and went to the Scholastic warehouse sale and did the exact.same.thing! So my loss is your gain! I’m giving away 2 books and a couple of other surprise goodies on my youtube channel that I think elementary aged kids will enjoy. This giveaway is very short as I want to get it mailed out before I get too busy. Visit my youtube channel for the rules. Good luck, and happy reading!


Library Summer Reading Programs for Kids and Adults in the DMV Area

Every Hero Has a Sto#91B101 (2)Washington, DC

May 30-Aug. 31

Win prizes for reading!

This year, DC Public Library is teaming up with The Washington Nationals. All kids and teens who reach their summer reading goal win two tickets to catch a Nationals baseball game. Kids, teens and adults who complete will win free Chipotle too.

Check our calendar for a schedule of special events at your library.

Fun for All Ages

For children birth to age 5 and their parent or caregiver. It’s never too early to foster a love of reading in your child.

For children 6 to 12 years old — Win prizes for reading. Ask a librarian about joining the League of Extraordinary Readers and a chance to win a special lunch with 7 famous children’s authors.

For teens ages 13 to 19  Win prizes and have more fun by earning badges!

For adults — Win prizes for reading and learning new skills.

For more information please visit the DC Public Library Website.

Prince Georges County

Every Hero Has a Story: May 15-Aug. 15, 2015

Did you know that children who read at least 20 minutes a day during the summer months perform better in school than those who do not? Summer is the perfect time to explore books and reading. Here’s How!

  • Sign up for Summer @ Your Library (May 15-Aug 15) and get your gameboard. The first 3,500 students to register in person at a branch library will receive a free tee shirt. Sign up at any branch!
  • Complete the activities to earn a prize and enter to win the grand prize drawing for electronics, event tickets and more.
  • Check out the recommended reading lists to find great books for all ages! Don’t forget about ebooks and audiobooks, too. Children’s book lists  Teen book lists
  • Help your child get their very own library card.  See the Student Library Card Agreement.
  • Attend events and performances like Superhero Training Academy, puppet and magic shows, superhero movie nights, and community hero storytimes (events calendar on gameboards below).
  • Contact your local branch library for more information!

Visit the PG Library System website for more information.

Anne Arundel County

Summer Reading Club 2015 – Branch Kickoffs

Hero Training Academy

Create your secret identity and hone your powers at our drop-in hero academies. Be prepared to put your physical, mental and creative abilities to the ultimate test! Activities may vary by branch.


Wednesday, June 24 – 2:00 pm


Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 pm

Brooklyn Park

Thursday, June 25 – 6:30 pm


Wednesday, June 24 – 2:00 pm


Wednesday, June 24 – 2:00 pm

Eastport-Annapolis Neck

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm


Monday, June 22 – 9:00 am

Glen Burnie

Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 pm


Thursday, June 25 – 6:00 pm

Maryland City at Russett

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:30 pm

Mountain Road

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm


Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm

Riviera Beach

Saturday, June 27 – 2:00 pm


Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 pm

Severna Park

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm

For more information please visit the Anne Arundel County Library Website.

For information on the Montgomery County Library System Summer Reading Program, please visit their website.

Fairfax County, VA

June 19 – September 5

Watch this video for more details and great ideas on places to read, books to read and more!

Get ready to enjoy “Read to the Rhythm” during the 2015 Summer Reading Program at the Fairfax County Public Library. You will be able to register online or in person at your local library beginning June 19.

Preschoolers through high schoolers earn a coupon book with great prizes including free and discounted items by completing their reading and going to their local library branch by September 5.

Activities are planned for families, preschoolers, school-age youngsters, teens and adults throughout the summer. Search our calendar of events or pick up a printed copy of the summer calendar at your local branch.

Come back on June 19 to register and learn all the details. Read for fun this summer!

For more information please visit the Fairfax County Library System Website.

Alexandria, VA

Calling all kids! Beginning Monday, June 22, 2015, you can sign up for Alexandria Library’s summer reading program! This year’s theme is “Every Story Has a Hero.”

Click to access SummerQuest Jr. Click to access SummerQuest Click to access Unmask
SummerQuest Jr.   

Ages 0-5


Ages 6-12


Ages 12-18

SummerQuest Jr.
If you are between the ages of just born and five years old, you can sign up for SummerQuest, Jr. You will receive an early literacy activity sheet. When you are finished, show us your completed sheet and receive a surprise! SummerQuest, Jr. also features fun programs such as funny puppet shows and lively music concerts.

Starting on June 22nd, kids between the ages of 6 and 12 get to sign up for the Every Hero Has a Story SummerQuest reading challenge. SummerQuest participants also track the books they read and receive a special prize after reading ten books. The Library has also invited a group of special guests to entertain with music, magic and much more!

Unmask — Teen Reading Challenge
Students between the ages of 12-18 may register for the “Unmask” Teen Reading Challenge. After logging in 5 or more books, their names will be entered in a raffle to win one of two $50 gift cards. Rising 6th and 7th grade students may sign up for either “Every Hero Has a Story” for ages 6-12 or for the teen program, “Unmask.”

For more information please visit the Alexandria Library Website.

Happy Reading!