Homeschooling: When Things Don’t Go as Planned

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Although I wasn’t homeschooled, I knew fairly early that I wanted to homeschool.  I planned and read and researched. I decided to wait and start with kindergarten when Caeden had just turned 5.  Logan did preschool at 3 because he wanted to be involved, and because he was ready to learn.

First Day of School

Like many new homeschoolers, I had big plans.  We were going to be laid back and it was going to be fun.  I was going to follow a Letter of the Week style of learning our ABC’s.  We would do fun things while learning our letters.  We would immerse ourselves in a new letter each week–we would learn the uppercase, the lowercase, the sound, words that begin with it, etc.  We would write the letters with sidewalk chalk, modeling clay, and shaving cream.  We would fashion them out of popsicle sticks and cut up straw pieces, and we’d do lacing activities and scavenger hunts. Oh yeah, we might as well learn the sign for each letter as well.

And in the process, they would have no choice but to get those letters ingrained into their little minds.  It was a great plan. And it works for many people.

But what I didn’t know at the time is that my little kindergartner has some challenges.

We would review each week, and then push on.  By the time we got to “H,” he still didn’t really know “A.”  He could only review if I pointed to the letters in order, because he did know the ABC song, but he could only recognize a few letters otherwise.

I beat myself up.  I questioned my choice to homeschool, wondering if I was cheating him. Maybe he’d be better off in public school.  But then I looked at my 3-year-old who was learning all the letters, and it didn’t make sense that I was the sole problem.  But maybe my tactic was.  I had to try a different method.

In researching, I discovered All About Reading from All About Learning Press.  I had been trying to do it alone, but I decided that maybe I needed some help, maybe I should go with the experts on something so important as reading, since I have a struggling learner.

All About Reading provided us with a kit for review.  They gave us a new approach to learning letters.

Since we were behind, I started with the pre-reading curriculum.  From the beginning, it was a better approach for my struggling son.  With my letter-of-the-week approach, he was completely overwhelmed trying to learn the uppercase, lowercase, sound, sign, etc. all at once.  With All About Reading, the approach is completely different.  First, you cycle through the alphabet learning uppercase letters, then again learning lowercase letters, and again focusing on sounds.  The pace, although faster in some ways is much more manageable in others, because they are only learning one thing at a time, and that made all the difference for Caeden.

There are a couple other things that this program helped us with as well, but I’ll share those next week in my full review of this program. For now, I just wanted to share how the program, with a new approach helped us turn around our school year.

Here is a little sneak peek of us playing with Ziggy the Zebra.  Love that smile on my 5 year old’s face :)



One of the most important things I learned this school year was the need for flexibility. I really already knew this, but everything about this school year solidified it.  I’m so glad for the encouragement I’ve received in the process though.  Because no matter how hard it seems, and how much things aren’t working, there is always another avenue.  Another method, another tactic.  And we will keep on trying, until we find what works.

So, next week be watching for my full review of the All About Reading, pre-reading program, along with a chance to win the deluxe pre-reading package, as well!


  1. says

    Not one of our five children learned to read before age 7 and one took until age 11. I got really discouraged because both my husband and I had learned to read before we went to kindergarten! And I had read to all our children from the time they were born. We made it through and four of the five are avid readers, two are avid writers. The boy who took until age 11 is an artist who prefers to express himself through his art. He’s also a great mechanic. Don’t give up. You’re doing the right thing to research alternatives and individualize, that would never happen in public schools. Keep up the good work.

    • Crystal says

      Thank you so much for your comment!! I, too, was an early reader. I greatly value reading (I was a literature major in college! lol), and my husband and I both have read to our boys from day 1 as well. Stories like yours with your children are so encouraging.

  2. says

    What an interesting approach!! I actually introduced sounds really early, with the thought that since my children can understand that a cow says moo, they can understand that B says buh-buh-buh. So we do sounds, then uppercase, and then lowercase letters just sort of happened. I’m going to have to keep this resource in mind for my second child, however. He’s not picking up on things as quickly as my first did, although I’m really OK with that (he’s only 2 1/2).

  3. says

    You’re so right–flexibility is KEY! I made so many mistakes in the beginning, assuming that with the right curriculum, everything would just fall into place perfectly. When it didn’t happen I got so discouraged I was ready to quit homeschooling altogether! It took me some time to realize it’s okay and sometimes NECESSARY to make changes and adapt things for each individual child. If only I could go back and do those first couple of years over again!

  4. apronstringsotherthings says

    Oh, yes, it’s important to remain flexible! It’s wonderful that as your son’s mother AND teacher, you are able to seek out and use resources that work for him. He may not be on everyone else’s time-table of learning, but you are doing a wonderful job helping him move along at his pace. Keep up the good work, Mom!

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