I didn't know what to call this post because it's partly about how I feel like I'm failing as a homeschool parent, and partly about how I made up a super fun printable Snakes and Ladders game for Allie and me to play to practice her numbers, counting, and reading skills.
Working full-time and homeschooling are two things that do not appear to mix on the surface, and actually do not mix well in practice either.
I am tired when I get home from work, and the kids are tired when I get home from work. No one wants to sit down and do schoolwork at 5 or 5:30 at night. Sometimes, I force the issue, but sometimes I just let it go and we end up not getting enough work done for the week. Thus, I feel like I am failing.
Joe is pressuring me to just put the girls in school since I'm not spending as much time as I would like on their schoolwork. I would have caved in a long time ago if not for Grace's vehement begging to continue to homeschool. It's a struggle.
I don't know if Allie is picking up on Grace's frequent resistance to working or if she just doesn't want to do it at the end of a long day either, but she has started being resistant to doing her schoolwork. She wants to learn to read, but she doesn't want to have to work to do it. She wants to just do it, but unfortunately few things in life work that way.
To combat Allie's reluctance, I came up with a quick game for us to play. I love to play it with her, and she loves to play it with me, so the one time out of three when I sneak reading flashcards in, she doesn't quit on me.
So here's what we do:
2 out of every 3 games we play, we do it normally with a die. We use Shopkins as game pieces, but you could use anything, even a couple of different coins. You roll the die and move the number of spaces. If you land at the bottom of a ladder, you go up. If you land at the head of a snake, you go down. That's it.
Playing this way is great for number recognition, counting skills, taking turns, playing by the rules, being a good sport, and all the other things that game play teaches. It's awesome.
1 out of every 3 games we play is by my rules. Allie doesn't like it, but she goes along so that we can play more her way.
To play my way, you will need a set of flashcards. I use the cards from our All About Reading Level One, and I pull out all the cards that she's learned so far. They are words like CAT and THE and TAG and DAD. Really easy stuff, but hard for someone who's having trouble with sounding out words and hasn't really developed that skill yet.
Write a small number in the bottom right corner of each card with a pencil. I write numbers 1 - 5 with way more 1s, 2s, and 3s than 4s and 5s.
Turn the stack of cards over, and each person picks the top card on her turn. Flip over the card, read the word, and move the number of spaces it says - if you get the word right. If you get the word wrong, you stay where you are.
I always help Allie to read her words since, as I said above, she struggles with the sounding out skill still.
That's it. The game is fun and engaging, and it is very quick. You can play a complete game from start to finish in under 5 minutes, perfect for the short attention spans of our babes.