Monday, June 27, 2016

To Teach Spelling or Not

I am wondering why I bother giving my 8 yo spelling lessons. She spells better than I do.
This is first exposure to a natural speller.

She gets every word right in every spelling test as long as she is paying attention, no matter how hard the word. I heard my 14yo asking her how to spell things this morning. the kid was just born knowing how to spell. 

I, on the other hand, have studied and worked to achieve a barely competent level of spelling and all my other kids take after me. Easily my worst subject.

This is so strange. 

Many tell homeschoolers "if your kid is a reader they will be able to spell just from recognition." This is simply not true. I am a reader as are all my children (well, except the 4 yo), but only the one spells. 

Spelling is a completely different skill than reading, though it does work like reading in reverse.

When I was in school we were taught the see-say method of reading. Thankfully my mom taught me phonics, but see-say reading means see-say spelling. You are just supposed to memorize how every word in the language is spelled, I guess. 

When I began homeschooling I discovered there were rules that governed spelling. Wow! Most words actually make sense! My spelling skills improved drastically, though I am still not good at it. If there is more than one rule that could apply I simply don't know which one is right. And, no, I can't usually tell by looking at the word and seeing if it "looks right." None of them ever do to me. 

So, the best spelling program? I don't like any of them, really. The closest is "All About Spelling." It teaches by teaching the rules. My biggest problem is that it is so hands on. I just don't do well that way and the kids see it as busy work. And the cards keep getting dumped and have to be re sorted. Frustrating.

So I adopt it to each child;

14yo copies the words from each lesson onto 3x5 cards, puts them in ABC order, defines each word and its part of speech.

13yo gets her words put into SpellingCity and does all her work and testing there.

And the 8yo and I pretend to do a spelling lesson each day by my reading the words and her spelling them to me. Sometimes I throw in random words not in the lesson. She never bats an eye but simply rattles them off too. 

Now my 11yo I am going back to Sequential Spelling. I think this will work better with how she learns. The words run like:

That's lesson one. 

So, no advise, really, on spelling. Make sure your kids know the rules and keep at it.

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