Talia has been doing really well recognizing letters and knowing which sounds go with them, including some blends, for a while now. Since I am homeschooling this year, part of my challenge has been figuring out which of the millions of options will work best for me in a place outside of the States and where shipping is not really worth it. Suitcases are already limited with space on the trips home, so that's not the greatest, or only option I would like to have.
Part of this problem we solve by using Starfall's online supplementary curriculum. Some of the reading challenges will be solved by using the online accessible Reading A-Z program and other online stories. However, though my daughter likes working on the computer, it's not really something I want her stuck to all of the time. Learning is so much more than a brain thing. Especially at her age, the whole body helps her learn!
Something she's really enjoyed is an "Alphabet Fun Sticker Book" by School Zone. It has helped reinforce all of the letters and their sounds, and taken it to the next step of recognizing which sounds words begin with. (Plus, she loves getting the stickers neatly in their boxes.) After working with this slowly over a few days, she came up to me and started talking about all of the words she could think of that started with the "ssss" sound, even though we hadn't studied the "S" in the book yet. She knew that "S" made that sound and came up with: snake, sock, sun and several other words that also started with "S." I was excited that she was making that connection with oral language and not just with the written letters in front of her. She can take the sounds of a word and spell it with the refrigerator letter magnets, but hasn't quite gotten that in reverse yet putting all of the sounds of a written word back together to quite be completely reading yet. But soon!
With reading, I have a plan and an idea of how to work with her at home, at least for this coming year. With math, I felt a little helpless. Talia knows how to count to 29 consistently, and if I tell her what comes after the following _9's, she can continue to 100. She has made the connection between each hand having 5 fingers and says "Look, mommy, two 5's make 10!" or "I have 2 bananas and there's 1 over there, that makes 3!" So I think addition will be a natural next step for her. I just have to get over my own phobia of numbers. I found several workbooks in the States for math that I think will help with that. I have ideas for manipulatives as well. Advice from people who've done this before, though, is always welcome!
Part of homeschooling is knowing your child and where they are in different areas and focusing on how to get them to the next level, no matter how nontraditional or unschool-like that approach might, or is able to be. Surely at first it is always a bit apprehensive to think of what will be needed before you have experience, but hopefully this will improve when I gain that experience.
Do you have any ideas for math or reading that worked for you starting out? How about homeschooling abroad? Or just sorting through the many, many homeschooling options without going broke or crazy? I'd love to hear other parents' thoughts who've gone down this road before.