Teaching My Baby To Read

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In the Car Curriculum

It is still the middle of summer but I am already thinking about our commute time this fall when we drive Bruce (6) to his new school. This is really karma for me, because my own mother drove me to school thirty minutes each way for seven years. Luckily, Bruce’s commute is only fifteen minutes each way. Our state offers free school buses and the environmentalist in me knows I should choose to put Bruce on the bus. But if he took the school bus each day he would not get home until 4:30, and then still be faced with homework, which reportedly will take up to an hour to complete as a first grader.

As an educator, I believe in giving children free time to play around in the backyard, goof off, and generally be a kid. So that’s why I am strongly considering driving Bruce to school. But that doesn’t mean I want the thirty minutes he spends in the car each day, or the hour Jenna (2) will be spending, to be wasted time. I am going to purposefully plan to utilize this time effectively by creating an “In the Car Curriculum”.   I am going to try to tie this as closely as I can to my SLE inspired reading list, which Bruce and I are already working on.  A lot of these CDs we already own, but some I will need to purchase, and some I will check out from the library.

None of these CDs are meant to take the place of meaningful conversation with my children, and we won’t be listening to them every day. If I sense that either one of my kids would like to talk or has something they would like to share, of course I will turn off the CDs at once. But if you think about it, every time you ride in the car you are probably listening to some sort of background noise already, usually the radio. This is what I plan for us to listen to instead.

The genesis for this idea comes from the classic book, Cheaper by the Dozen, in which the author’s father has his children listen to language tapes while taking a bath. Incidentally, Cheaper by the Dozen is based on a true story about the man who invented the QWERT keyboard among other things.

When Bruce and Jenna are in the Car Together:

When only Jenna is in the Car:

As you can tell, I am a big fan of the Jim Weiss audio book series. Our whole family loves his narration and storytelling. We have listed to his “Arabian Nights”, “Shakespeare”, “American Tall Tales”, and “Abraham Lincoln” CDs over and over again. They will not bore you to tears I promise!!! I am very excited to add some new titles to our collection. 

I would also like to point out that we will be listening to Story of the World Volume 1 by Susan Wise Bauer with the understanding that it is in the genre of historical fiction, and not verifiable fact.  The negative reviews on Amazon.com regarding historical inaccuracies concern me, but I still want to see what it is all about because I respect Susan Wise Bauer as an author and a home educator.


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