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  TOS October 2012


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January 30, 2013 

Take Your Reader from Struggling to Success



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler and family


When I heard the theme this week, I knew I wanted to share with you an article that was very helpful to many parents of struggling readers. Dianne Craft answers the questions you may have when reading doesn't start easily; specifically, if you wait, will it be too late? Here is her article from our August digital issue:


"My son is 7 and isn't reading yet.  It was so easy for my other children!  Should I wait and let him grow into it, or is something else going on?" 

--Concerned homeschooling parent


Unpacking the new curriculum for the year can be an exciting time for a homeschooling mom and her family. After having taught three previous children how to read, moms often look forward to teaching this fourth child.  She looks forward to the excitement the child feels when learning to sound out words from letters for the first time, or how fun it is to just "remember" a word when looking at it.


But, what if your child is the same age as your other children were when they were eagerly reading, but is either not interested in learning to read, or is having great difficulty learning to read? Do you panic? Do you have this child tested? Do you wait? Will the reading just "click" at some point, if you wait long enough? How does a mother know if this is a "maturity issue" or if this difficulty is a sign of a learning disability?


As a special education teacher, homeschool educational consultant, and college teacher, this is how I approach the "maturity issue." These are the "red flags" I look for in a seven and a half year old who is either avoiding or struggling with reading: (click here to read the rest)


The most important reason we learn to read is to understand and obey God's Word. That is our goal in learning to read and our goal for all of life as we obediently keep our children Home Where They Belong.


 ". . . and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God . . ." (Deuteronomy 17:19).



TOS Senior Editor  




The Reading Focus Cards (U.S. Patent 7,565,759) from Brennan Innovators, LLC are simple, economical reading tools for struggling readers of all ages. These reading aids help children and adults challenged with ADHD, convergence insufficiency, dyslexia, autism, low vision or other issues to FOCUS and READ better! Learn more: 314-892-3897 


Sponsor Article

2 Tips To Get Your Kids To Love Reading

By Dr. Marion Blank creator of Reading Kingdom 

Reading Kingdom  

1) Reading has a hard time competing for your child's attention against iPods and Xboxes. But books are magical in their own way, and children can be captivated by them.


A great technique that stimulates interest in books is to pair text with illustrations. To do this, take some sentences from a book and type them on a page. Then ponder with your child the best ways to illustrate them.


Let's say a sentence says "When the kids got to the house, they searched under the porch." In this case, the drawing might show a house and kids engaged in searching. Activities like this make reading more fun, and they also help develop comprehension.


2) A common challenge many children face which hinders their love of reading is when they have trouble remembering the words. This makes reading painstaking and definitely not fun.


A simple and effective way to help children develop better word memory is to use writing which requires far greater attention to visual detail than reading. For example, in reading a word like "elephant," a child may guess based on it being a "long word that starts with an e." Strategies like this won't work for writing.


So try having your child accurately write words from memory. Spelling activities can be particularly useful. For example, when your child asks you how a word is spelled, write the word on a sheet of paper and have your child look at it. Then cover it and have your child write the word from memory. After that, point to the word and ask your child to say it.


You can find many more helpful tips to help stimulate a love for reading in your children on our blog.


About the author: Dr. Marion Blank is one of the world's leading experts on teaching children to read. Over the past 40 years she has developed an incredibly effective method of reading and writing instruction--the Reading Kingdom online program which uses a patented 6-skill model. This model incorporates the best parts of phonics and whole language while teaching additional skills that ensure reading and writing success! The program is fun, easy-to-use, customizes itself to each child, and children can use it on their own. So sign up today for your free 30 day trial
The Familyman

Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries 

I think the whole idea of the "struggling reader" is a bad concept and worded inappropriately. The phrase conjures up thoughts of a reading race with "successful" readers crossing the finish line with smiles and exuberance and then one, lone, reading racer stumbling and gasping for breath half-a-lap behind.


Of course the viewing stands erupt with applause for "the finish line crossers." The sole exception is the mother of the "struggler." She hides her head in shame, urging, coaching, threatening, and blaming herself for his lack of "progress."


That is a wrong picture and one that needs to change before we do any more damage to our children. The truth is: that kind of reading standard is not an accurate standard and sets some children up for failure and hardship.


The truth is: your "struggling" reader is not struggling at all. He or she is just learning it or not learning it at the pace God designed him to learn it. Instead of pushing and threatening him, try plugging away and smiling with him. Just keep working at it each day a little at a time. Set aside your standards and smile as they butcher the simple (as in simple to you) words.


That said, I have to go work with that same reader today. I know your frustration . . . and it's all based on a lie. Don't believe it. Your reader is doing just fine and will get it when he's supposed to get it.


Have a great day of homeschooling your children.


Be real,



P.S. Are you a lie believer? Then order my homeschool changing book, Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe TODAY!


The Adventures of Lily Lapp
"Based upon Kinsinger's own childhood, it's reminiscent of the Little House on the Prairie books." -RT Reviews


Primary Arts of Language  
Struggling readers find success with PAL!
Primary Arts of Language (PAL) provides everything you need to give your struggling readers success. Based on the award-winning Blended Sound-Sight System of Learning, and using games to reinforce learning, PAL will delight your students and have them asking for more! Click here




 Be encouraged, enlightened, and 

educated with the all new 

2013 Annual Print Book
published by 

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.


2013 Print Book

You'll get a year's worth of homeschool support in 

over 275 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. 

This is a magazine you'll refer to again and again. 


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Read, Write & Type
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Straight Talk About Reading

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Diana Waring
Diana Waring

Relational Homeschooling 


Dear Friends,


Boy, is this a hot topic! Particularly, if you happen to have a struggling reader.


So, if you will accompany me for a few moments, I'd like to whisk you up to the clouds to get a bird's-eye-view of what we're actually after when it comes to reading. Ready?


Have you ever met a high school graduate who says, "I will NEVER crack a book again as long as I live!!"? If you have, and if you query them, you will discover (as I did) that for them, reading was an imposed chore, brain-numbingly difficult, utterly boring, and a senseless struggle. For them, there was no delight in a book, no wonder, no adventure, no sense of a wondrous world of words opening magically like Aladdin's mysterious treasure cave.




The old adage is that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.


May I modify that slightly? I would say that you can shove children through various phonics and reading programs, but that won't give them a love for reading . . . And if they don't love to read, then all the phonics and decoding in the world will be almost as worthless as yesterday's peanut butter sandwich left overnight on the counter. You could eat it if it was a matter of survival, but you wouldn't want to!


I'm glad that someone shared this concept with me before my second child was old enough to read, because it made a HUGE difference in how we handled his struggle in learning to read.


Mike was an active, very active, never-sit-still, bright-eyed, curious, and delightful boy. I was astonished at his energy level, at the fearlessness he showed in climbing trees, at his constant need to move-move-move. He was so interested in everything; I never dreamed he would struggle to learn to read. But, at that time in my life, I knew so little about how kids actually learn--and I knew nothing about different kinds of learners, eight intelligences, etc. All I had in my mind was the model of school; and, of course, at school, kids to learn to read when they are six. Right??


Wrong.  Some kids do, others don't.


Mike didn't. Fortunately, however, the big picture of having our children love reading was firmly in our hearts and minds. My dear husband, Bill, read stories to our kids every night, and I read poetry (humorous, adventurous, rhyming, delightful) after dinner. We read books of adventure, books of Christian heroes, funny books, fascinating books . . . And Mike loved the stories. Even though he could not read them for himself, he knew there was good stuff in those books.


That made all the difference. Because he had a reason for persevering, he (and I) kept at it, working little by little on phonics, on fluency in reading. When he was ten, he got it. And from that moment, he began to read everything in sight! Within a few months, he was reading Bring 'Em Back Alive by Frank Buck (a collector of wild animals). Within a year, he was reading Silmarillion by J.R.R Tolkien--a book I could never make it through!


If you have a struggling reader, I encourage you to get Ruth Beechick's, The Three R's. If you believe you may be dealing with learning disabilities, check out Christine Field's book Homeschooling the Challenging Child.


But, most of all, read to your kids! Give them a love for reading--it will be the best gift of all.


Remember, stay relational.





Schoolhouse Freebie

This week's free resource is Unscrambling the ChoicesYou'll find a wide variety of lessons, activities, and printable pages in




HomeSchool Tool is more than just an app--it's a complete homeschool management software program! Designed for the mobility of the iPhone/iPad, this brand new app makes it easy to log class hours, track student performance, and much more!  For more information visit 


Raising Real Men

Hal & Melanie Young


After our first few children learned to read so early and easily, we thought we were some ol' wonderful homeschoolers. Then came our next child--and humility! It was really tough, but we got through it and he's now a very successful high school student. Here are some things that helped:


Don't despair--and don't let them lose hope either! God created us to read or He wouldn't have put His Word into written form and commanded us to study it. You can encourage your struggling reader a lot by telling them the stories of successful people who also struggled with reading like Thomas Edison, General George Patton, Winston Churchill, and Agatha Christie. (Who would think someone who struggled with reading and spelling would become one of the best-selling novelists of all time? Agatha Christie did!)


Keep them up to speed in their other subjects. You or their siblings might have to read their math lesson and story problems to them, but there's no reason they can't keep up if they have that help.  You can also ask if your child's textbooks are available in recorded versions--many are. What a blessing to have our children at home where we can take the time and trouble to do that!


Develop their reading comprehension skills while you wait. Hearing the written word read aloud can help them learn to understand complex sentences and vocabulary. If you read great books to them and buy them audiobooks, when they do learn to read for themselves, their reading ability will just explode! Our son went from sounding out "cat" and "dog" to reading high school and college-level texts in a just a couple of years because he'd been listening to challenging books for years before that.


Get help and encouragement. There are tons of great resources out there. If yours isn't working for you and your student, don't be afraid to sell it and try another. Be persistent. You will both live through this!


This weekend, Melanie and our former struggling reader, Samuel, will be speaking about these things at the Heart for Homeschool Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. We think it will really encourage you to hear their story face-to-face. The two of us are keynoting the conference, too!


Yours in the battle,

Hal & Melanie


P.S. Looking for great audiobooks to develop your child's mind and character? We took Theodore Roosevelt's Hero Tales from American History and turned it into an audiobook with sound effects, because history is much better with cannon fire! We're also the only authorized resellers of these wonderful G.A. Henty audiobooksThey're unabridged and that's important when the goal is increasing reading comprehension. Check 'em out!




Coming in February 2013


Being Married to a Homeschool Mom 

with Todd Wilson


Wilson Family


Todd Wilson, author of Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, Help! I'm Married to a Homeschooling Mom, and The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons, is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd's humor and gut-honest realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family.


As founder of Familyman Ministries, his passion and mission are to remind dads and moms of what's most important through a weekly email for dads, seminars, and books that encourage parents.


Todd, and his wife Debbie, homeschool their eight children in northern Indiana and travel around America in the Familyman Mobile. You can visit Familyman Ministries at

Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on 
Thursday, February 21, at 7 p.m. EST! 

(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT) 


Check out all the details at


Reserve your FREE seat now---only 1,000 available! 





Creation Revolution      


"When you visit a museum and look at the fossilized skeletons of animals long extinct, have you ever wondered how accurate those skeletons really are?" Read more in the article Paleontologists' 150 Year Old Mistake.


Here is another great article for you to read this week! Ladies! Who Wants to Give Birth to a Neanderthal?  


"Homeschooling does not inoculate our children against temptation, sin, and a heart focused on self."
TOS Article

Read this article


in the latest issue of

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
Contest Corner 

For the month of January, 2013  


The Crossmaker DVD


This DVD features a grandfather telling his grandchildren stories about Jesus. The backdrop for the stories is a marvelous artist doing chalk drawings of Jesus and scenes from the stories. There are two stories: The Crossmaker and Jesus Loves the Children. The Crossmaker is about a little boy whose family makes crosses. He delivers the one to be used for Jesus and witnesses the crucifixion. He is crushed by guilt for his part, but he meets the resurrected Jesus on the road and finds forgiveness and love. Jesus Loves the Children is the familiar Bible story about the disciples telling the children to leave Jesus alone, but Jesus tells them to let the children come to Him.


The background music is wonderful, and the chalk illustrations are spectacular. But there is much more on this DVD! There are more chalk drawing demonstrations and even a teaching session showing children step-by-step how to make their own chalk drawings.


Read the rest of this review here.



Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with "Crossmaker" as the subject line for a chance to win* the DVD for your homeschool!
2012-13 Schoolhouse Planners


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