I started off our school year knowing exactly what curriculum I wanted to use (and not use). Then we hit a slump near the end of 2nd quarter. The math curriculum we were using was just too easy for our 1st grader. At least once a week he would ask me, “Why do you keep giving me work to do when I know all this stuff?” I was trying to follow the scope and sequence of the book, but even going through it at a faster pace just wasn’t enough of a challenge for him. I added in numerous math games and hands-on learning to try and make the boring math more fun, but as the weeks went by I could tell he was quickly losing interest in what had been his favorite subject.
Reading was a whole different kind of issue. Our son who had been an on-target reader starting off the year had hit a plateau and wasn’t progressing at all. We still read books every single day. Some I read aloud, some he read to me, but it seemed he was stumbling over the same words. I needed help teaching him the irregular words that didn’t follow the rules he had been learning. Rules such as, “i before e except after c” and “when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking” are not hard and fast rules. There are exceptions to most of the rules in the English language and it’s not easy for a 6-7yr old to understand (it’s not always easy for an adult to understand either).
I started researching math and reading curriculum for 2nd grade and found Horizons by Alpha Omega that looked like it would be a perfect fit for us. Well a friend gave me Horizons Math & Horizons Phonics & Reading for 1st grade so I began slowly introducing a few of those lessons into our weekly schedule. The Horizons Math transition went smoothly but I realized real quick that this was a more advanced curriculum than the public school book we had been using.
Transitioning to the Horizons Phonics & Reading curriculum was actually very depressing. As I looked through the book trying to figure out where the best place to start would be I realized we had to start at lesson 1. Yes, that is correct. We were finishing up the 2nd quarter of first grade and now I was starting my son on lesson ONE of a reading book.
Now you’re probably thinking what had I been teaching him up until this point? Well apparently I had been teaching him kindergarten level reading according to the Horizons Alpha Omega schedule. Don’t take this the wrong way, I LOVE the Horizons books, but whereas before I thought we were right on target, I suddenly felt utterly and completely behind. Like half a year behind! It took me about 2 weeks before I finally wrapped my mind around the concept that just because this particular lesson book is more advanced than where we are doesn’t mean that anything has changed from our son’s standpoint. He is still reading 1st grade level books and he reads random items around the house because he wants to know what they say.
Sometimes it helps to take a deep breath, step back and look at the big picture. Is it possible for us to finish the Horizons Reading book before the end of the 1st grade year? Nope, no way. In the big scheme of things, does it matter if I finish a specific curriculum book by the end of the year? As long as our children are learning, advancing, and enjoying the journey of learning this is more important.