Friday, January 22, 2010

Oh, yeah…

So I totally neglected to mention that Naomi is reading.

I didn’t want to push her, but I thought with a little encouragement, she could be doing a bit more, so I jumped in and bought the first series of Bob Books Beginning Readers.

I had never heard of these before, but they were very well-described at the Rainbow Resource homeschool supplies site, and there are lots of sample pages viewable at Amazon and elsewhere.  I ordered it from Rainbow Resource because they had a few cheap “seconds” copies available for $8-something. (plus shipping, so whatever)

It turns out the books were “seconds” because the set is missing the first book – Book 1 of 12, “Mat.”  Despite a strict “caveat emptor” policy on seconds, I was extremely happy that Rainbow apologized right away and credited my PayPal for the full value of the books.

The set consists of a little cardboard box twelve little books, eight pages long, I think, with very simple line illustrations that each have just a dash of a single colour.  Nothing flashy, nothing distracting.  I am really coming to hate flashy educational materials:  worksheets, readers, etc.  The less on the page, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

So, of course, due to the “seconds” thing – the cheapo lifestyle backfires sometimes – we had to skip Book 1, Mat, and started with Book 2, “Sam.”  Naomi was immediately suspicious.  “It’s not a real book – it’s stapled!”  Because I have printed things for her in the past and called them books when, I guess in  her mind, they were not truly books. 

Anyway, I had to haul in a bunch of Robert Munsch and other books off the shelf to demonstrate that inexpensive paperbacks often have staple bindings.  I don’t think I used the word “inexpensive”… I probably just said “real.”

I realized I immediately had to make strict rule for these books because they are SO simple and therefore easy to memorize:  nobody is allowed to read them EXCEPT Naomi.  If you read it to her once, or even if she overheard somebody reading it, she could probably tell the entire plot from memory, cued by fairly explicit pictures.  (not explicit pictures as in… adult pictures; explicit as in the picture has Dot wearing a hat and it says “Dot has a hat.”)

So.  NOBODY reads the books; they are only for her.  I think she likes this rule.  I had to grab one away from YM as he picked it up to read out loud last week.  He is fascinated by Other People’s Stuff.  Come to think of it, everybody here is fascinated by Other People’s Stuff.  Argh.  Don’t ask how I knew he was going to declaim it at the top of his lungs.  He’s my kid, I know him well, and that’s what he would have done, given the chance.

Anyway, once we were past her objection to the books’ format, Naomi read her way pretty handily through Book 2 and also Book 3, “Dot.”

The books are pleasant enough, though the plots are a bit sluggish in the first books.  I think she suspects they will get more lively as her abilities pick up, or perhaps I have said this to her, explicitly or implicitly.  Anyway, I think she is very happy and satisfied so far.

Last weekend, in Chapters, I noticed they had a small selection of these on the shelf, so I took the leap of faith that we will get through the remaining 9 books in Set 1 and picked up Bob Books Set 2-Advancing Beginners.

Now all I have to do is make room in our breakneck homeschool schedule for… SCHOOL.  On Wednesday, I actually took along an alef-bais worksheet to the drop-in gym so she could do it for 5 minutes before being allowed to run around and play.  Which actually worked VERY well, since she was highly motivated to complete the page.  Perhaps it didn’t motivate her to do the best job,  however.

Oh, yeah.  I also just discovered today that Thingamababy, one of my favourite parenting blogs, reviewed the Bob Books almost 2 years ago.  I wonder why I never noticed it until now…?  So you can check out what he has to say – about Bob Books and a world of other baby-related and kid-related gadgets and gear, from videos to toys to nose suckers.

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