Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Phonics and Handwriting for Home School

After reviewing a number of different phonics options to help our kids with learning to read I found one that I absolutely LOVE!!! The girls love it also and it caters to all different types of learning abilities. Whether you child learns better by doing hands on, by watching a video or verbal, by writing or written instruction, regardless of how they learn this system works for all of those. This year we've been using a curriculum called "Hooked on Phonics." The set included 2 workbooks (1 and 2), 2 pages of large star stickers, individual reader books and 2 DVD's. We've been trying it since this past summer and both girls absolutely love it!!! They picked up reading so quickly and both girls have completely different learning styles. Miss K has a longer attention span but it takes her long to learn a new concept. Miss A has a shorter attention span but picks up new concepts much faster. Miss K does better with writing, Miss A does better with reading. Both girls do well in math and with foreign languages. Miss K has a better attention span in her piano and music classes and picks up the concepts faster than Miss A, but Miss A loves her piano and voice classes more. They both love Ballet but Miss K has the better attention span and so she's leveling up faster to a more challenging ballet class.

So I was looking at the Hooked on Phonics website to pick out what I wanted to use for the girls next year so I would know how much the curriculum would cost. And guess what?!?! They have it on sale. The sets are at a minimum $20 off sometimes more (for the full 1 year set). In my case since I have 2 students I'll order a second set of workbooks. And even just the workbooks themselves are discounted right now. I'm not sure how long it will last, but I figured I'd share in case anyone else wanted to order them. These are also perfect for adopted children, children with special needs, learning delays, or even children who are younger but ahead of other children/students their own age. The Pre-K set can work for students 3 - 5 years old, and if your student advances faster than that go ahead and move on the Kindergarten set for 5 - 6 yr olds. There's no set age, just a recommendation. Some children will pick up the concepts faster or earlier (at a younger age). But my kids love this set so I figured I'd share.

Hooked on Phonics Kindergarten

Now, you have to figure out which set will work best for you. They have individual sets, or you can purchase it one workbook at a time (each workbook comes with addition small readers and a DVD). A full one year set is available with 2 workbooks, 2 DVD's and the individual readers and stickers. Or you can even purchase a 3 year set of Kindergarten through 2nd Grade.

It all depends on what you feel you'll need. I wish last year I had ordered the 3 year set since we'll definitely be using it. However, I only purchased the Kindergarten set. I'll be picking up the 1st and 2nd grade sets together as a set and I'll save even more money buying them together as well as the discounts they're currently running. You can also purchase individual workbooks, readers and DVD's if you misplace one (the way I did) and need to replace an individual item.

In addition to Hooked on Phonics we've paired it with the full Handwriting Without Tears Set. We have the original set of 5 workbooks, plus the mats, foam hands, the 3 CD's (music), and the wooden sets to make the letters. However, they do have brand new workbooks that just came out recently that are great as well!! Most of them are the same, the ones that do an intro to cursive at the end of 1st grade look really good and can be done over the summer between 1st and 2nd grade. I'll be pickup up the Kick Start Cursive Book. They also have a 2nd Cursive book that they've added to the original cursive book.

Here's what you NEED vs WANT:


Wooden Pieces


Foam Hands
Teacher's Guide

I found that I didn't need the teachers guide as we started the Handwriting Without Tears program with our adopted daughter's Occupational Therapist. After 9 months of OT working with the HWT program I knew what to do for at least the first two books. With the Cursive Books I'll be switching the Teacher's Guide from the WANT list to the NEED list. But if you're looking to save money and you're comfortable doing it on your own you don't need it in the beginning. There is plenty of information online about it that you can pretty much figure it out on your own. I'm linking directly to the websites for both programs and not to books on sale with Amazon. This way you're going directly to the source. However, it's worthwhile to check out Amazon and see if you can get the full set a bit cheaper. Just remember to calculate shipping with Amazon into the prices. Most of these direct websites will send it to you for free and include shipping in their costs for the books and other items.

Handwriting Without Tears Program

NOTE: If you can find older editions online on Amazon or other websites they'll still work just fine and might save you some money.

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