Up Hill Battles

We’ve been struggling through long vowels with Middlest over the last several weeks. It’s a battle I remember having with Oldest, too, the mental struggle to separate short vowel words from long vowel words. Except Oldest was extremely motivated to learn to read, and Middlest? Middlest likes to play and to be fast.

After several teary lessons, I drew her a picture on our whiteboard, a colorful picture of a little girl at the bottom of a big hill. I explained, as I was drawing, that sometimes in life and in learning we have to go up big hills, like the hill in front of our house. It’s hard work. And sometimes, we have to take breaks. Sometimes, we have to look for other ways to get up the hill. We might have to get off our bicycle and push our way up the hill. But one thing we never do is give up and decide not to go up the hill at all.

Then, I went “back to the drawing board” (or rather, Google and pinterest) to look for new and different ways to teach her this concept. I also called my mom, who is an ever-present wealth of homeschool know-how. We pooled ideas, and I had an inkling of what I needed for Middlest.

I made up a few worksheets from the words in her reader that were giving her trouble. I also made up a few games from resources I’d found on the internet.

Long Vowel practice


Marking and reading her words (without pictures, so she can't guess)
Marking and reading her words (without pictures, so she can’t guess)

By the end of the week, she was making some progress. And by the next week, she was reading her story to Daddy and clipping along through her game, even after I added new cards. But I knew that we really had made some significant progress, when I saw a picture she was drawing at the end of that week.

Look who made it to the top of the hill!
Look who made it to the top of the hill!

It brought me to tears, folks. Those up-hill battles are totally worth it.


Published by Tracy
Our life is creative chaos, and our homeschool is loud and busy and distracted and challenging and lovely. My name is Tracy, and I homeschool my crew of three kids with ADHD/dyslexia, finding creative ways to use their strengths to teach their weaknesses. As a homeschooled homeschooler, I love customizing curriculum and making adjustments to incorporate fun, hands-on projects for out-of-the-box learners. Stop by growingNgrace.com to find grace for the messes and mistakes, and knowledge to pick up the pieces and make something special. Let’s grow together!