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I never thought I would say this, but we’re dropping All About Reading, but not for reasons you may think.  When I first looked for a reading program after having failed to try to teach Creative Kid with some simple teaching reading books that CK didn’t take to, I did a lot of research.  Like A LOT of research.  Research is my ‘thing’ and I do an excellent job of it if I do say so myself.  All signs pointed to AAR and I planned to use it until he aged out of the program and was reading proficiently on his own.  I just didn’t expect that to happen at age 6.

Yep, that’s the reason we are dropping AAR.  My son loves the game aspect to it and this is a really hard decision to make for me, but he simply is not benefiting from using the program anymore…it’s become busy work.  I knew at the end of AAR Level 1 (which we finished in early spring) that CK was ahead in reading.  As we started our 1st grade year, AAR Level 2, at the beginning of June, I realized that he knew all the words in each lesson.

Around the end of June I realized we were already 1/3 of the way through Level 2 in only a month and that’s because I would only do 1 lesson per day.  I got curious to see exactly how far ahead he was and sought out reading level tests.  I found a couple of simple ones and tried them out with him.  In both tests he scored between 4th and 5th grade.

At that point I asked a gifted group I am a part of what they would do in this situation because I knew the curriculum was turning into busy work.  My concern was that I didn’t want him to lose learning the rules of reading.  Everyone was pretty unanimous in telling me to drop not only AAR but to drop reading as an instructional subject and instead just stick to All About Spelling and doing lots of independent reading.

We were already doing AAS, so this would not be a hard thing to do and everyone said he would get to learn all the same rules in AAS as are in AAR.  At first I thought about dropping AAR right then, but decided because we already used 1/3 of the workbook and my son really loves the games, that we would finish out the curriculum.  But I decided to speed it up by cutting out some of the review of new words because he knows them all.

So starting in July we began doing 2 lessons per day.  I structured it where we had a new instructional lesson followed by the story reading lesson so they 2 lessons paired together very well.  During each instructional lesson, I taught the new rule, we played the game of the day, and we did the challenge words only out of the practice pages.  Then for the reading lesson I skipped having him read the warm up sheet and just talked about what we were going to be reading about, had him read the story and then did whatever comprehension discussion was in the teacher’s manual.

Creative Kid is pretty sad that we’ll be dropping AAR…because of the games.  I’ve been thinking of looking into more games for homeschool because he loves games so much.  We did a lot of games when we were doing preschool, but with everything going on in our lives I really didn’t get a chance to buy and incorporate more educational games into his Kindergarten year.  Once we get settled in the new house and we have a whole room just for homeschool, I will definitely be expanding our educational game options.

We’re getting ready to take our August break.  Normally, since we homeschool all year round, we would have done the last school year until the end of July and then taken our longest break of the year and started up with a new school year the day after Labor Day.  With CK being ahead and finishing up all of his Kinder curriculum several months early, we started 1st Grade in June.  We will be taking the August break, but it will extend until we move sometime in September.  I have plans to do some light schooling here and there so he doesn’t lose math skills and reading time will continue, but we will probably be out of our normal school routine for at least 6 weeks, maybe 7.

So am I saying if you teach the AAR curriculum, this will happen to your child as well?  No, I know CK is ahead in several areas and we have basically identified him as gifted without going through official testing.  My husband and I were also gifted so I guess we should not have been surprised.  He didn’t read early so I didn’t see him that way, but once he started reading he really took off. I know I will be talking more about giftedness on the blog in the future and what society thinks it means, what it really means, and the challenges we face now that we are looking at things with that knowledge in mind.  As he has gotten older, the indicators have gotten stronger and I am doing lots of reading on how to foster the positive traits and manage the perceived negative traits that come along with poppiness.  We made the decision to homeschool fairly early on when CK was still living inside me, but now with a better understanding of who he is and how his mind works, I am so glad we made that decision.

We have since taken a 3rd reading test.  That one was 2 parts, the first part was what a child should be able to read at the end of 2nd grade, which he passed.  The second part was a placement for what grade they were reading at and the results were listed with each grade level as frustration, instructional, or independent reading levels.  He scored independent on 1st -3rd grade and instructional on 4th-6th grade.  None of them came back as frustration level which indicates the level is above his abilities, but he’s still learning the rules on some of the upper level grades.  Anyone interested in that test, which I thought was a little more thorough than the first two tests he took, can check it out here.

So that’s it, tomorrow will be our last day of AAR.  We’ll miss it because it was truly a great program and gave CK such a good foundation.  I would also say that our experience in teaching reading definitely solidifies my belief that you don’t push reading until your child is ready.  We had tried other instructional books, but my son simply wasn’t ready.  It wasn’t super hard for him early on but he had little interest in it and we were fighting each other in a way.  I recognized that we weren’t really making a lot of progress and dropped it.  I also recognized that the teaching materials we were using were not in my son’s learning style and that could be part of the struggle.  Know your child and it will all work out in the end.  If you had told me 2 years ago that CK would be reading at a 4th to 5th grade level at 6 years old, I would have said you were delusional. ?

Thanks for reading!

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