As the mom of a highly distracted 9 year old, I often find my self wishing every subject could be hands-on. It’s easy to teach science when the kids love doing experiments, going on nature walks and dissecting a pig’s heart. But when it’s time to sit down and write a paragraph, things can get brutal.
For this reason, I’ve taken a hands-off approach to reading and writing. I’ve offered exciting books, demonstrated my love for reading and done everything I can think of to make it exciting for her. Yet, she still wasn’t interested.
Around the age of 8.5, Miss Manners started picking up Ripley’s Believe It or Not books. She could read them for hours because she wanted to. Yet she still had no interest in doing her language arts reading. It was like pulling teeth on the days that I tried to force her to read or write.
When I was came across Pathways Reading and Language Arts by Kendall Hunt Religious Publishing, I was ecstatic. The engaging Daily Lesson Guide provided hands-on learning for reading and writing. It looked like just what we needed in our homeschool!
I chose two of the Daily Lesson Guides available for 3rd grade. We opted for Helen Keller: Courage in the Dark and Buddy: The First Seeing Eye Dog. Both of these engaging Daily Lesson Guides meet top academic standards while maintaining our family’s core values. They strive to make reading fun and engaging for students so they’ll want to read.
Disclosure: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. All thoughts are entirely my own. Please see my disclosure policy for more info.
An Overview of Pathways
I’d love to tell you all of the key benefits that Pathways provides but you can find all of that information on their website. Instead, I want to let you know how we used it to create a love of reading in our once-reluctant reader.
Within each engaging Daily Lesson Guide, you will find activities and books that all work together to help spark an interest in your child. Instead of sitting down to read dull materials, Pathways utilized fun and interesting books to inspire your child. It encourages students to explore many avenues to become readers, writers and life-long learners. They provide an array of fun activity ideas that encouraged you to dig deeper into the subject.
For example, in our Helen Keller study, we labeled the parts of an eye and an ear. We learned the alphabet in American Sign Language, used glue to write our name in Braille and followed Helen’s travels using a world map. In the midst of each hands-on lesson, we added in vocabulary, spelling, writing and so much more. And there was no complaining.
Let me repeat that.
There was NO complaining.
The curriculum is organized around broad themes and uses award-winning trade books to get the best results. Miss Manners looked forward to the lessons and she cooperated without me begging. She loved the books and learning about new subjects. Since reading the Helen Keller book, we’ve added our own activities, including a field trip to the local Center for the Blind.
Why I Love Pathways
I firmly believe that pushing young kids to read does nothing for them but reduce their natural desire to learn. We went through the lessons, learned letter sounds and taught Miss Manners to read. But once she knew the basics, it was up to her. I let her wait until she was ready to jump in and read everything she could get her hands on. Luckily, there are enough books in the world that I knew that would happen, in due time.
Writing, however, is a different story. Teaching your kids to love writing without adding pressure to them is a bit trickier. How do you take boring words and create an excitement that makes kids want to write? If they aren’t natural writers, it’s hard. Pathways transformed writing from a chore to a fun hands-on activity with vocabulary lists, spelling lists, word prompts and weekly sentences that revolve around the same topic.
The topics were not only inspiring but encourage spiritual growth and reading motivation. Each lesson is a busy mom’s dream. It’s set up so you can open and go, without much prep work.
The Daily Lesson Guide is an excellent outline, with all of the hard work being done for you. My favorite thing about the curriculum is that the activities are not required. If you, or your child, just don’t want to do one, you don’t need to. They are stand-alone activities and missing one isn’t a big deal. However, there are so many interesting activities to choose from that you will likely want to do most
The Writer’s Handbook is worth it’s weight in gold. With everything from abbreviations to writing a friendly letter, it contains everything you need to become a great writer. It’s organized so that young kids an flip through easily to find exactly what they need.
Creating Learners for Life
Kendall Hunt Publishing has done an amazing job of making sure their content creates a desire to learn, a want to read and a spark for continued learning, though many avenues. This is what I strive for as a homeschool mom. Providing your kids the materials so that they will fall in love with learning is a guaranteed way to create life-long learners.
With Pathways, we found the engaging and hands-on learning opportunities we so desperately needed.