Our 8th child is a total game-changer. Mighty Joe has 4 holes in his brain as the result of a nasty virus he contracted when he was just 7 weeks old, which in simplest terms means he has some hurdles to jump. He's bright and funny and quirky and absolutely adorable, but he will have a trickier time making his way through academics, at least early on.
Because of the damage to his brain, we don't really know exactly what we're dealing with. The largest cavity is in his occipital lobe, which means that he is missing the part of the brain that controls vision. He should be blind. But God wants Might Joe to see, and so he sees. However, his visual processing is off and he likely will struggle with dyslexia and other learning challenges.
Providentially, I was given the opportunity to review the newly revised Reading Horizons curriculum for at-home users. I have to tell you that I have only ever used 2 other reading curricula, and wasn't at all looking to use something new. But again, Joe is going to need a different approach, and Reading Horizons is especially geared toward the struggling and/or dyslexic student.
Joe is not ready to begin reading, but Christian is the perfect age to start. I figured if I became comfortable with the program with Christian, I would be ready to go when Joe is ready to learn.
At 5, Christian is midway through kindergarten and starting to sound out words on his own. We're using the Reading Horizons Discovery Program, and we're liking it very much.
The program is hands-on. Each lesson is interactive, and so either Christian or I are writing down words and sounds as we approach them. I'll often ask, "Do you want to write today, or should I?" He feels as if he's a little in control of the lesson, when really I'm just giving him the opportunity to flex his writing muscles or to read what I am jotting down.
Writing words for himself
Each day's lesson takes us about 30 minutes, but because the format of the lessons is flexible (there are activities like games and flashcards that you can use or pass on), you certainly could take more or less time depending on the needs of your student.
Reading Horizons has its history squarely in the Orton-Gillingham approach to learning, so it is takes advantage of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic tools. This is great; for those of us with more than one child to teach, Reading Horizons is a curriculum that should be a good fit for almost every single one of our kiddos.
At the same time, it's simple, well-organized, and ready to go. No mom-prep except for taking an hour or so to get acquainted with the materials at the outset. What comes in the Discovery kit:
- 6 sturdy, well-designed, spiral-bound teacher's manuals
- 1 sturdy, well-laid-out, spiral-bound games supplement
- 1 set of readers, designed to be read at certain skill levels as you use the program
- 1 large set of colorful, sturdy flash cards
- 6 card stock posters of vowels, phonetic skills, decoding skills, sounds, blends, and special vowel combinations
- Disks for each teacher's manual with practice pages that can be printed out
Reading Horizons hopes to serve the homeschool community well, and I think they're making a great start. In addition to the hands-on materials above, Discovery includes colorful and engaging software that moves at a child's pace.
Reading Horizons Discovery is pricey (see pricing here), and you are making an investment, which may be a better fit for those of you just starting to homeschool and have little ones coming up behind. They do offer a 3-time payment plan for the software bundle priced at $66.34 for each payment, which covers 2 students.
Want to win one of 10 Reading Horizons Discovery online subscriptions? How about a grand prize of the Discovery software and instructor materials bundle (including every resource mentioned above)? Just enter the Rafflecopter below and a winner will be chosen by February 25th!