Many parents do encourage their kindergarten homeschooled kids to learn the sight words. Instead of going straight to sight words, some suggest that the best way to learn is by starting with individual letter-sound combinations. It is important to be sure that children learn these words to build a foundation of English skills that they can build on later.
When studying mathematics, many students are encouraged to learn the multiplication table. This is a 12x12 chart of all of the different multiplication combinations from 1 to 12. It can seem like a chore, as there are 144 total combinations (although some are just the same problem in a different order), but the reason that we do so up to 12 is that we use a lot of those simple problems frequently, so it is good to be able to cover at least that much in your head. For anything larger, that is what computers and calculators are for.
For writing and English, things work much the same. There are a lot of complex words that you can get away with misspelling because they are close enough or you use them so infrequently that most people will give you a pass on the spelling, but there are also a lot of words that are used so often in everyday life that you just can’t get by if you are not familiar with them. These are some of the first words that students learn and they become the building blocks for building sentences for the rest of your life.
In addition, there are a lot of odd tricks to these words that can change the spellings and sounds into things that you are not used to. The word “through” is one that could be especially confusing because most of the context clues would point you to saying it like “throw.” Similarly, “trough” might come out like an Italian person saying the same word informally. Instead, “through” is pronounced like “threw” and “trough” is pronounced like “off.” It is all a big mess. That is why we teach the differences early.
One technique to drill home the lessons is to play games. There are a lot of different ways that you can execute this, but teachers in most subjects find that games are a good way to keep students invested and engaged with lessons without realizing just how much they are getting into it. I hate to exercise and nothing sounds worse to me than running a mile, but sometimes after a long basketball game, I realize that I have run the equivalent of a mile over the course of the game. By tricking myself into seeing it as basketball instead of running, it becomes much more fun to me. Instead of quizzing, you might use a game to judge student progress.
The drawback of learning sight words is that it is often taking those words out of context. There are studies that have posited that use of sight words has no relation to phonological awareness. Instead of going straight to sight words, some suggest that the best way to learn is by starting with individual letter-sound combinations before graduating to the more specific and rare exceptions to the rules. Either way, it is important to be sure that kindergarten homeschooled kids learn these words to build a foundation of English skills that they can build on later.
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