What to do About Reading Comprehension

When I look  at the major Catholic homeschooling curriculum providers to see what they recommend for reading comprehension during the elementary years, I find a lot of variance.  On one end of the spectrum, Mother of Divine Grace simply encourages narrations and discussions of books read, and on the other end, Kolbe Academy requires that their students answer in-depth chapter-by-chapter reading comprehension questions for classic novels. In the middle, Catholic Heritage Curricula and Seton offer reading comprehension workbooks. Seton also requires their registered students to write book reports.

With so much discrepancy, it is hard to know what is the best approach to reading comprehension. But here are some thoughts:

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The 7 Strands of a Great Religion Curriculum

Let everything take second place to our care of our children, our bringing them up to the discipline and instruction of the Lord. If from the beginning we teach them to love true wisdom, they will have greater wealth and glory than riches can provide – St. John Chrysostom

Sometimes in the busy-ness of a homeschool day, I am tempted to procrastinate teaching religion or to hurry it along. Afterall, from a wordly point of view, it does not matter how much or how little religion you cover. There are no state standards for religion, and memorizing the Baltimore Catechism  will not matter on a college application.  So when we are in a crunch, it is easy for me to shove religion to the side and make math or writing more important.

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The Chicken Scratch Solution: How to get Your Kids to Write Neatly

This year has been a struggle getting one of my sons to write neatly. Sometimes his handwriting is so atrocious I go cross-eyed trying to decipher his hieroglyphics. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But he does like to produce chicken scratch.

In the beginning of the year, we had some real battles… Feisty and I. He would give me a scribbly assignment and I would make him rewrite it. (That’s what tiger moms do, even lame ones.) You can imagine the griping and fuming that ensued. But I would hold my ground and he would have no choice but to rewrite that assignment in a legible manner. And then he would hold his ground: the next day his handwriting would be as messy as ever.

I needed to find a way to end the daily struggle. And little by little I did. Now Feisty’s handwriting is legible about 70% of the time. More importantly, he’s sincerely trying to write neatly… when I remind him. But here’s what helped:

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