Thursday, March 01, 2007

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Today is a day to celebrate! Pamela finished reading the final chapter of the final book, The First Four Years, from the Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series. When I first read aloud to her Little House in the Big Woods back in 1999 when we lived in Pennsylvania, we were also beginning our journey as Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. Pamela was ten years old and could sight-read nothing more than picture books with only a few sentences per page. Our recent attempt at phonics through the Spalding method (The Writing Road to Reading) had failed because, while Pamela could memorize the rules, she did not understand when to apply them. Oddly enough, David had no interest in memorizing any rules; he did not see the point of phonics since he could already read well beyond his grade level. Still odder, like the association method (what we do for speech therapy), the Spalding method is an accredited multisensory structured language program.

We moved almost as often as the Ingalls family while reading this series. While we lived in Colorado, I read Little House on the Prairie to the children. After Lynn Bushnell raved about a reading method that worked for her severely dyslexic daughter, we decided to give At Last! A Reading Method for Every Child a whirl. We struck gold because both of my diverse learners mastered phonics thanks to this book! During the next two years, which included a move to Alaska, Pamela made the leap to longer picture books and easy chapter books. During our stint in the Aleutians, the kids enjoyed hearing me read Farmer Boy.

Coincidentally, we moved to Minnesota at the same time we started On the Banks of Plum Creek. One highlight of our stay in Minnesota was a trip to Pepin, Wisconsin, to see a replica of the cabin in the Big Woods. When Laura headed off to South Dakota, we lingered in Minnesota to read By the Shores of Silver Lake and The Long Winter, a book with which we could truly empathize having suffered frigid winters ourselves. We headed to the Carolinas for Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years. By this time, both kids had grown up as had Laura: David silently read all three of these books, while Pamela read aloud to me the first and read silently the latter two.

The title for this blog post comes from God's perfect timing. Pamela is memorizing the Lord's Prayer for recitation through the process of copywork and studied dictation. Although she has heard this prayer nearly every Sunday for the past umpteen weeks of her life, Pamela's recitation of the Lord's Prayer was still garbled in a few spots and missing a few phrases, but much better than I expected. We have not worked on memorizing this prayer in years because I thought recitations was beyond her reach until last fall. A few weeks ago, Pamela began the task. To my delight, Pamela mastered the line, "Give us this day our daily bread," yesterday, and today we learned of the fate of Laura's plate bearing those same words. What a beautiful way to finish this series!


Anonymous said...

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I LOVE the LITTLE HOUSE series. As a young girl I had them all read by the end of 4th grade. I devoured them. I wanted to BE Laura Ingalls! I have all boys, so we didn't read all the series while the oldest few grew up. But we did read Jo's Boys by Alcott. I love reading to my children! Right now we are reading The Tale of Despereaux about a tiny little mouse. It is beautifully written by the same author who wrote Because of Winn Dixie, Kate DeCamillo. We just finished up WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN ANCIENT TIMES ( and are on our last chapters of THE BURGESS ANIMAL BOOK. Today we are going to watch the movie, A BEAR NAMED WINNIE, about the real zoo bear that Winnie the Pooh was based on! I never knew there was a real live bear that it was based on. I learn something new every single day as I teach my children!

Have fun! It sounds like your autie child is making beautiful progress! What a great Mom she has!

walking said...

Karla, you are too kind!

Your boys might enjoy "growing up" with Ralph Moody in the Little Britches series of books. We just started Little Women and I know David will love Little Men and Jo's Boys. We read and enjoyed Jack and Jill last year.

I completely agree with you on the living books way to survive homeschooling and reach a child's heart!