Have you read Lisa Teodoro’s SWR Story? That will give you the background to this update that she recently sent on the impact SWR has had in her family. Enjoy!
I truly believe that pairing of SWR and CF are the key to unlocking natural connections in the brain. I still utilize all the phonogram and spelling rules to this day while working on any other academic ventures. I hope those will be with us for a lifetime!
My youngest is 13yo, and she is on her last round of the Wise Guide. However, I complete the Rule Pages each year with the kids as a review. Those are so crucial to commit to memory. The Rules naturally produce critical thinking skills due to the fact that the children have to analyze the “why” of how to spell any particular word. This was a lightbulb moment for me, realizing I was accomplishing a necessary skill in an organic and useful manner! So we spent the time to discuss the rules while spelling the words as was appropriate during the “spelling back to me” portion of our SWR lessons.
One of my older bio children (DS32) has dylexia and was the reason I began homeschooling when he was 9 due to his inability to ready. He was at our house one day and observed my teaching the kids spelling on a writing assignment. He heard me going over a particular phonogram or rule, watched the younger one write the word, and his eyes got wide. “Mom, I wished you would have taught me how to spell THAT way. I still stuggle today.” My heart was so sad for him since I worked hard 23 years ago when removing him from public school to begin the journey of helping him learn to read. The Lord is gracious as my son has a big heart despite this.
Speaking of writing, we use IEW. My kids were able to jump into the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) program on year 3 of SWR! Remember, my kids who were elementary aged when they arrived in the US with no previous formal education, had to learn a new language, both verbal and written, so they were already older and behind their same aged peers. However, when we began a small co-op for IEW writing, they were able to keep up and even surpassed other native born, average/advanced US students in writing the Key Word Outline (KWO). It is very frustrating to the child if they are not able to quickly write the KWO words; they lose the ability of repeating the sentences from their outline after painfully attempting to handwrite the KWO. This was never a problem for my children. It caused people to be amazed at their ablity to write (in cursive) and so quickly.
Sadly, so many people shied away from even considering SWR due to the learning curve and time commitment – what a shame. I truly believe that my children, who still face academic challenges due to severe malnutrution early in childhood, would never be where they are today, working independently and diligently, reading and writing with vigor, if it not for the investment of time with SWR. Yes, I believe it is an investment that will reap more rewards that can be imagined at the slow start and through the first year or two. I call it my “return on investment” that will remain with them through their lifetime and was worth every single minute, never wasted, never busy work, forever useful, like learning to walk.
I encourage homeschool teachers to consider rethinking everything they see and hear out there about filling their child’s days with workbooks at such an early age. Stick with laying THE firm foundation of building the “skills” of reading and writing with SWR. Everything else will fall into place. Get rid of electronic learning games. Read, read, read to them. Once they learn to read on their own, let them read living books, experience nature, and have plenty of time to create. That is how my children learned the “content” subjects early on when we didn’t have time to complete “formal” history and science books. It was not a loss at all, but a definite gain, as they developed skills to discuss their reading, and wrote notebooking pages which demonstrated their SWR abilities. But never stop reading to them. We still read Bible, history, science, geography, and other topics of interest together throughout the day.
We are celebrating 10 years with our adopted sibling group of 4 children from the Philippines next month. I will never regret researching and ultimately deciding to take my first SWR training class while awaiting their arrival. I began SWR with them from the very start, all while teaching them to speak English, using the CF phonogram cards. They still remember me hiding the cards around the house for them to locate and scurry back to me to read the sounds. Ten years later and the oldest will be graduating from homeschooling this school year while the youngest hopefully completes the last of the Wise Guide lists. What a journey, and I am more than grateful the Lord introduced me to SWR before their arrival. Writing this testimony has been confirmation for me.
If anyone would like encouragement or ideas on the ways I was able to teach 4 adopted, elementary aged, ESL children together over 10 years, AFTER homeschooling and graduating 3 older bio children much differently, please feel free to contact me. May the Lord bless your efforts to engage the next generation of homeschooling families towards more effective literacy.
For Christ and His Crown,