Wednesday, August 28, 2013

how do you spell...

Spelling has never been my 10yo daughter's favorite, subject. Back in her traditional school days (K-3rd), she would come home with spelling assignments left over from seat work time and have to use her weekly spelling words in a variety of practice methods - putting in ABC order or writing sentences using those words or creating a crossword puzzle with them, etc etc. 

Burn. Out. 
I saw discouragement, frustration, and flat out anger over having to use those words over and over again. No combination of assignments and studying seemed to assure a great grade on the test. Now, don't get me wrong. Repetition is key. That was what was at the heart of all those busy-work assignments and I tried to encourage her through all those assignments.

Last year, our first year homeschooling, I picked out Spelling Power. I was hopeful. I thought the process sounded great for us... a daily "quiz" that concludes when she misses three. Practice those three. Talk about their sounds, syllables, etc focusing on them. Then, start the daily quiz the next day with those three words and continue through the never-ending list of most frequently used words in the english language. No constant working with a list of fifteen or twenty words each week (and then forgetting them the following week after the test is over) when she already knows part of them. With Spelling Power, you're only studying the words you don't know.

Well, as great as it sounded, it didn't pan out well. 

So. This year we are trying another option. This week we began Phonetic Zoo, by Excellence in Writing. It is self-directed and great for auditory learners (ahem, my daughter). She puts on headphones and works through the daily spelling lesson. Each lesson is broken up into a spelling "rule." Lesson 1 goes over -ai and -ay. Both make the long "A" sound, but they occur in different places within a word (-ai in the middle of a word, -ay at the end). The word list is full of 15 words that fit (and actually one or two that don't fit because, as we know, the english language is full of contradictions!) the lesson "rule."

So, she is basically taking a spelling quiz each day, by listening to the instructor on the cd give each word and then correcting the words by listening to the correct spellings of each word in the next track. Once she makes a 100% two days in a row, she moves onto the next lesson. The isolation and focus of using head phones is a great thing. It allows her to hear each word without distraction. That's huge for her. Little brother tends to be quite noisy, and while she's getting great at tuning him out and focusing, for a subject that needs extra attention given to it, the cd provides a great way to concentrate.

Head phones on and off she goes....


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