Teaching My Baby To Read

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Make My Child Smarter

I apologize for the horrible title of this post, but as a blogger I have to think about the zeitgeist we live in, which means thinking of search words people might look up on Google. The real title of this post is “Channel Factors for Success When Educating Your Child at Home.” Yup. Nobody’s going to search for that on Google.

For those of you who aren’t Psychology majors, a channel factor is something that makes a behavior easier to do. If you go to sleep in your exercise clothes for example, it might be easier to wake up the next morning and go to the gym. If you put your computer and briefcase in front of the garage door in the evening, you might be less likely to forget them when you leave for work in the morning (heh, hum, Mr. Bardsley). If you cut up a bunch of carrot sticks and put them in the refrigerator, you might be more likely to eat vegetables the next time you get the munchies. Those are all channel factors.

Right now in our household things have been totally crazy. We have relatives in town, swimming lessons, Bruce’s science project and book report due, new mattresses being delivered, volunteer projects spread out over the kitchen counters… Normally things aren’t so chaotic around here, but right now everything is in an uproar. Doing something fun with Bruce like playing Hands On Equations is out of the question at the moment. But thankfully, Afterschooling is still going on, just in a bare-bones fashion. I’ve built channel factors into our regular operations to make that happen.

Every morning at breakfast, Jenna(2.5) clamors to do the Morning Message because she knows she will get a few chocolate chips afterwards. This only takes about three or four minutes, and starts the morning off with a mini-reading lesson tailored for my two year old. Right now we are working on recognizing her name, and some simple consonant-vowel-consonant words.

Our word a day calendar is located on the desk in front of the kitchen table. Bruce sees it while he’s eating his cereal, and usually asks what today’s new word is. SAT prep for my six year old, before 8AM? Can’t beat that!

The presidential flashcards are located in the cabinet right above where I pack Bruce’s lunch. So it is really easy to stash one in his lunch, on the off-chance that he might read it.

Once we hit the car to race to the bus-stop (if we are really late), or head off to swimming lessons after school, I turn on the CD player and it is time for Carschooling. There is always a CD loaded, ready to go.

Those are my favorite channel factors for adding some extra education at home. What are yours? I’m always looking for new tips and tricks!


  1. Nicol says:

    I love playing different kinds of music while we are doing certain things. Songs for church that we’re trying to learn play during breakfast, funner kid songs during lunch, and classical music while we’re practicing our writing or doing math. It’s more or less in the background, but surprising how much they pick up. I love putting on music from different musical periods as well. This last week we put on medieval music and they thought that was very interesting.

    While I’m trying to make lunch, I turn on Salsa or Immersion TV for my girls to watch. I make sure I have this set up on my computer in the morning so it’s ready to go.

    During dinner, I set up an education game for them play. They love mighty mind and memory games.

  2. jengod says:

    Great post. Our only decent “channels” are that we have books in baskets everywhere Jackson might be, and since reading Young at Art, the easel is always set up in the kitchen for drawing and art work.

    • jenbrdsly says:

      I’m so awful about paint and easels. (We have white carpet.) But I do take Jenna to mommy and me preschool each week and she goes elbow deep in paint each time. 🙂

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