Phonics is actually a traditional method of teaching literacy skills, in all cultures. After what can only be described as a disastrous experiment in alternative methods of teaching in recent times, phonics is now generally acknowledged as a far superior system for both conventional and remedial reading education, including treatment for dyslexia and learning disorders. In English teaching, the phonics method is essential, and every good English school uses it.
Home schooling and phonics
Phonics is a very adaptable, extremely reliable system for home schooling. The basic principles of sounds and letters can be used in any situation, and in every other subject, as well as English. This is a "go anywhere" type of teaching, and can be extremely effective in ensuring proper usage. For home schooling, these abilities are an important developmental tool across the spectrum of education assisting in all other areas of learning.
For young children, the essential phonics process of association of letters, sound and context are invaluable. This is an absolutely foolproof type of teaching, because any errors or mistakes are instantly obvious and easily corrected. Phonics also helps explain context and grammatical structure more efficiently, because the sounds are physical cues for these processes. It's also a great aid to spelling skills, providing a strong basis for reading development.
Vowel usage in particular can easily taught with simple examples using phonics. This is critical in English, because the vowels are the most highly articulated parts of the words. Correct usage acts as a good confidence booster, providing both fluency and accurate rendition of words. That encourages the learning process, and removes shyness when complex polysyllabic words are introduced.
Reading and literacy
For reading purposes, phonics provides confidence in verbal usage which eliminates obstacles to reading and comprehension. Phonics develops a strong range of skills in these areas which are highly structured. Children soon learn how words are put together, and can see for themselves the core meanings pf words and how the words are used. This also helps build grammar skills and reinforces proper use of context.
Literacy is a form of extended logic, applied to comprehension of texts. Acquiring ease of usage is a primary developmental requirement for literacy for children. Physiologically, the child’s brain "hard wires" itself for language use, and the acquired abilities are used as part of the development of literacy skills. This is the key to future learning abilities.
(If you've ever been astonished by a young child’s vocabulary, comprehension and excellent use of language, that’s a good example of how effective phonics teaching can be. Children usually learn well and quickly with the right teaching methods.)
For young home schoolers, phonics can also be a lot of fun. All parents know how much they learn from their children, and learning the language is no exception. Each new word is an achievement, and a pleasure. Adult language skills also get a workout, and it’s highly debatable who enjoys it more. This extremely positive environment is an added incentive for learning, rewarding, exciting, and full of new ideas to explore.