Can word families, folders, homeschool and homework all go together? (And some freebies!)

Lots to cover today!  In case you are a new reader (welcome!), I am a former teacher-turned-homeschooling-Momma of three little boys.  My oldest, Captain, is in Junior Kindergarten and is 4.5 years old.  One of many things that I have pondered, since beginning to homeschool, is how to help my husband be more involved in our sons’ education.  My husband is a corporate pilot and a business owner, so to say that he does not have a lot of time is an understatement.  Also, due to his irregular pilot schedule, I needed to come up with something that was not entirely dependent on his availability.  Enter Word Family Homework Folders!  Yes, I know “homework” is a bit of an oxymoron for a homeschooling family, as we school at home all ready.  However, I decided to stick with familiar public/private school terminology, hence, “homework” folders.  So, let’s look at what they are and why they are helping my husband become more involved in Captain’s education.

They are a folder that Captain takes to his father (when he is home – Momma if Daddy is not) after supper and Daddy goes over the word family flashcards with Captain, helps him read the word family reader (if it is included that week) and work on one activity per night.  I have set our folders up to be completed five days a week and it takes about 15-20 minutes maximum.  I am not interested in making Captain, or my husband, put in a lot of time doing this.  Therefore, the Word Family Homework Folders serve two purposes – important review for Captain and an opportunity for my husband to see a part of what Captain is learning and be involved in that process.  Each Monday Captain receives a new Word Family Homework Folder.

I did also have a method to my madness as to why I chose word families.  Word families (also known as rimes) are the single syllable “chunks” (they always begin with a vowel) found at the end of a lot of words.  (Example: -at as in cat, -ill as in bill, -ug as in bug, etc).  In the English language a relatively small number of word families go on to produce over 500 of the most commonly used words.  They are important little groups of words! 🙂  Word families help students learn the concept of rhyming words, as well as provide them with portions of words that they can decode easily.  Word families go hand-in-hand with sight words and fall under the umbrella of phonics instruction. Usually word families are introduced once students have grasped their initial consonant sounds and begin to work on short vowel sounds.

So what does each folder contain?  Here is the usual contents:

  1. Master word family list – please note that each master word family list will not always contain all words for that word family (see below for a  free download of -at family word list!)
  2. Word family flashcards (see below for a free download of those as well!)
  3. 1-2 beginning readers centered on word family
  4. 5 activity sheets for word family (1 sheet per night of Captain’s choosing)

Let’s talk about putting them together and where I get my resources from.  The folders are basic folders (I bought mine in packages of four from the Dollar Store for $1.  Closer to back-to-school time they are even more reasonable to purchase than that).  I write the word family on the front cover with a black marker.  On to contents … I make up my own word family master lists largely because I make my own flashcards and want the list to match.  Don’t worry – if you are interested in doing these or if you just want to use the master lists and/or flashcards, I will be sharing mine for free with you each week, so you can save yourself some time!!  The readers and activity sheets come largely from this site – (Scroll down to the letter of the word family, click through and then choose the word family you are looking for).  I will also link each week to exactly which activities I used.

The first folder is for the -at family(Please see my Word Families resource page for the upcoming word families).

Here are the downloads (click on the picture to be taken to the pdf):

*Note on printing the flashcards – the cards are designed to be printed with the small black cats on the back of the cards, to match the master word list (for ease of organizing cards and master lists).  To do this, if your printer is set up to print double-sided, choose to have the pages flip on the short edge.  You may need to play with your printer a bit to figure out how it works on your personal printer.  Of course, you can print just the word cards … I am a little bit obsessed about keeping things organized, hence the little cats on the back! 🙂

The downloads that I used for our -at family homework folders are all from  They are:

  1. Two Fat Cats Reader
  2. The At Family Album Reader
  3. Various -at family activity sheets

Next weeks word family will be -am.  I will try to have the following week’s Word Family Homework Folder information posted by Wednesday so that you can prepare them for the following week, if you choose to complete a new word family each week.

How do you reinforce word families?  I’d love to hear!!


One thought on “Can word families, folders, homeschool and homework all go together? (And some freebies!)

  1. Pingback: I love ham, my cousin Pam and jam … | I Am Mrs. Pilot

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