SSS - What if this seems too easy for my 2nd grader?

Copywork, Cursive, Dictation, Grammar, Handwriting, Letter Writing, Memory Work, Narration, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Vocabulary, & Writing (many of these topics apply to other subjects such as Bible, History, and Science)
Post Reply

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

LisaLW wrote:My 7 yo dd is cruising through the R&S spelling book I bought as part of our 2nd grade curriculum. In her weekly tests, she has only misspelled two words. We're on Lesson 10 this week and again she already knows how to spell all the words on the list.

Should I skip ahead a few lessons (the word lists do get a bit more difficult) or should I look for a spelling book at a higher level? Thanks in advance.

I know with my son (7), the spelling is one of our easier subjects as well. But around our table, that has been a good thing. Several things this year are challenging for him, but the spelling he sits down to confidently. He knows he can do it. It's really a nice balance for us - to have some things that stretch & challenge, others that build confidence. KWIM? I guess my question would be, does your daughter sit down to it with confidence or boredom? That may be a good gauge for you. :0)

Paige in NC
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Unread post by kellybell »

Decide if the spelling is wasting your time due to the easiness or if it's building confidence by being an easy subject.

It's fine to have a subject that isn't all that challenging. As homeschoolers, we tend to push our children to the hardest possible material in ALL subject areas, never giving them a break. Sigh. I remember enjoying the easy subjects (for me, that was only a few of them). Having two or three hard subjects was plenty to me; I would've just been so squashed if ALL my subjects were hard.

When we did SwSaS, we made some games out of spelling. We got a mat from Crayola Kids (look in the craft section of Target or Walmart) with letters on it. So, I'd read the words and he'd jump on the letters as he would spell them out loud. That was fun. You could also have a child jump on the trampoline while spelling, jump rope, throw a ball back and forth, etc.

If you decide to ditch R&S Spelling, you could always start Spelling Power (but take it slowly) now or you could simply spend a year learning spelling rules (a quick web search reveals many lists of these rules). And, as you look at his writing, just jot down the words that he misses and needs to know and work on those.

Just some ideas. Enjoy the easiness.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »

I just have to say I had almost the exact same thoughts as the other posters when I read your post. Every year it seems that some things are really easy and others are a challenge.

You could definitely feel free to skip ahead or add a word or two each week from her writing that she needs work on.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 8:29 pm

Unread post by caod »


The spelling is also extremely easy for my 7 year old. I considered using something different when we began. But instead we are going through it at a fast pace and I am enjoying having one subject that I can hand to her and say "do your spelling" and know that she will be fine, doesn't need my help and can do with independence. I am so glad we have hung on to it. I almost wish we were not doing it so fast, since she will finish it sometime in Feb. or so (I think). I feel like doing spelling power right now would be too much for her. I think she needs another year of maturity and it is great to have something that makes her think she is the smartest kid around. That being said her carelessness has caused her to miss a few words lately, so she is learning some good lessons in a gentle way.


Update: Sat Aug 25, 2007 5:51 pm

I found it very easy last year for my dd. That being said it was nice to have a workbook to hand to her and say "go do your spelling" without needing anything from me. She rather enjoyed the ease of it for a while.

About midway through I think she began to find it boring. It is your judgement call on whether you think it is worth sticking with. It gave my dd some independence which was good for her and for me. Truthfully, I am not sure she learned a lot from it but she she aced every spelling test. I think she may have missed five words the whole year.

I think I will get it for my next dd just for those reasons. If there is something else out there that your dd loves a ton better get it but if there isn't anything that really strikes your fancy I wouldn't stress. Just do it. I found PLL lessons to be pretty challenging and it was nice to have something that was relaxing. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. I think spelling is a tough one. It isn't the spelling that she benefited from it was the independence and learning to read the directions and do what it says that she benefited from.
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 11:44 pm


Unread post by LisaLW »

Great feedback! I think we'll stick with Rod and Staff. You're right, it's very nice to have a subject that's easy, and I don't have to worry about. Dd does the work independently with little help from me.
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:28 pm

Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us »

My 7yo dd also breezes through the words, having missed none thus far (I test twice, 2 days apart). However...........

when we got to chapter 6 (the review chapter) and I orally quizzed her on past words at random, she missed three words. I realized that perhaps it's not quite as easy to truly retain the spelling as it is to spell correctly after having used the words regularly for several days.
A proud adoptive mom of 4 children,
I invite you to join me THE WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE

Very easy

Unread post by cbollin »

Ariasarias wrote:We are on week 3 of this book and it is very easy for my dd. She is just 7, so I try to remember not to push her beyond her age, but is it just good review for her or should I look for something else?
Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 7:36 pm
It is early in the book and she is just 7. So this is my opinion. Stick with it for now. Some educational philosophies don't even get too concerned about formal spelling until closer to age 10 and just focus on copywork. I don't think you'll be holding her back if you stay with the book.

SSS provides several things:
*handwriting practice (most kids need that)
*age appropriate word list for learning spelling rules (carries over with their writing skills which don't always match their reading level)
*and it can be helpful for students to learn to follow written instructions.

My 2nd dd did not struggle with the book last year. Looking back I think it helped her learn some spelling rules even if the words were "easy". The part that I found hard with SSS was remembering to learn what rule was being studied so that we made sure to learn/review the rule and not just fill in a worksheet -- all of that is in the teacher's version. And I liked that the word list did increase over the year. Your child may already know how to spell everything in there. My child didn't know all of them even though lesson 1 and 2 were very easy!

My oldest -- different kid when it comes to spelling. She's using Spelling Power. And many times we learn and practice a rule on a lower level and then learn and study the words from her grade level with that same rule. She finds it nice to learn spelling rules at a easier level and then later apply it to harder stuff.

Don't know if any of that helps you make a decision about what you can do. Just my experience on it .

Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 11:08 am

Unread post by doodleboomommy »

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 5:23 pm

I would only add that if your child is not frustrated by how easy the spelling is, then why not just let him have an "easy" subject? One that he can feel good about because he is mastering it. The words so far are ones my daughter already knows as well, but it makes the lessons go by even more quickly, and we are not struggling with something!
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 9:14 am

Unread post by RB »

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:29 pm

We've done 2 weeks of SSS and I think it will be quite easy for my dd, too. She seems to like it, though, so I don't plan on changing.

One addition we will make is to add an oral spelling test on day 4. So it will be lesson A, lesson B, written test, oral test (spelling bee). Just another skill to develop, and she is a natural speller when writing but I think she is such a visual learner that doing this orally might use the brain a bit differently.
HTH :)
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 1:57 pm

Unread post by tatertreezmom »

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:35 pm

Ok so here are my thoughts and I pray that they come across in the right way. For the past couple of days, I've thought about what everyone wrote and a point Crystal made stuck out in my mind, "age appropriate word list for learning spelling rules (carries over with their writing skills which don't always match their reading level)".

My son is I guess what one would deem a "natural speller," however I am certain that the majority of the time he has no idea what the spelling rule is that goes with the word he is spelling. The idea of allowing him to learn spelling rules without the added stress of having to learn how to spell the more challenging words at the same time really appeals to me. He likes to be challenged and gets frustrated when things are to easy so that is why I don't want to do a lesson which is too easy for him. However, I think he will feel challenged if I put more emphasis on learning the spelling rule that accompanies the spelling words. I looked at Spelling Power and the words seem to be more appropriate to his level; however, I kept wondering if learning to spell the more difficult words while trying to learn the spelling rules would be too much. So thanks Crystal for that wise thought!

As for handwriting practice, I agree children should have some degree of handwriting practice. However, my son's hands shake quite a bit (a condition he inherited from my dh) whenever he is doing any fine motor task that requires his concentration. His handwriting is legible, however not exactly the neatest, which was pointed out to him continuously last year by his 1st grade teacher. This has caused him to feel self-conscious and have negative feelings when asked to write. So, one of my goals this year is to not require a ton of "copywork" type of handwriting practice in hopes that once the emphasis is taken off of handwriting, he will eventually begin to regain confidence in himself. Don't get me wrong, we will practice handwriting. However, because of his situation, I tend to prefer more natural handwriting practice such as writing letters, journaling, notebooking, etc., rather than copying spelling words.

Finally, while doing other subjects, I began to realize one other important fact. We do a lot of reading. So whenever he comes to a word that he is having difficulty with, the first thing he does is use his spelling rules to try and figure it out. Because of this, we began his own personal dictionary binder. Whenever he comes to a word that he repeatedly has trouble with, he writes the word in his binder under the appropriate letter, and the spelling rule that helps him to decode it. So the next time he comes across it, he can look it up and hopefully eventually it will stick in his mind.

I'm not 100% sure exactly what I'm going to do, as the idea just came to me yesterday while he was reading aloud. Twice this week, came across the word "colonist" and had difficulty prounouncing it as well as remembering what the word meant. I got to thinking we will more than likely encounter this word more often during our study of US History so why not create a dictionary to help him with words that he has trouble with and we feel he might encounter often. So with that in initial thoughts were that I would pretty much leave it up to my son to decide if he would like to add a word to his dictionary or not. However, if he doesn't add a word, and we've come across it say more than 3 times and he's still having problems with it, I might suggest to adding it.
As for creating the dictionary itself: I think I'm going to get a small 1 to 1/2" binder, with dividers labeled from A-Z. (I think I've seen these at Staples or Office Max.) Then put loose wide lined paper in it and allow him to add words at will under the coordinating letter. At this time, I'm not going to worry about whether or not the words filed under the coordinating letter are alphabetized. And if it gets to be to much for him, I might allow him to write the word & a simple meaning, and then I will write the spelling rule underneath for him to reference later.

I might think of something better later but this is what I came up with initially. Anyone else got ideas on doing this, I'd like to hear about it. I guess basically all this means is that I'm gonna stick it out with SSS and see how we do with learning the rules.

I know this was really long and I apologize in advance. Also thank you everyone for your thoughts. I appreciate your feedback very much.

~Tatertreezmom ;-)
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:19 pm

I think this is a fine plan especially since you are letting it be led by him and not making him do every word he may not know. Great idea!

Also remember that he will be learning to spell new words naturally as he does copy and dictation work in PLL. It sounds like he is a natural speller and this is just not going to be an area that is difficult for him. You may find this to continue even when you move into Spelling Power. At least there you can begin him at his level.

Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:48 pm

Unread post by henryteachers »

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:16 pm

The words have come easy so far for my dd as well in SSS. We will keep doing it but each week we also add a few words from her writing (she writes in her journal once or twice a week) that she misspells and add them to the spelling list. It seems to help make it a little more challenging. We also use the idea of a spelling dictionary. If you want one already made, I bought Words I use when I write, they have sample pages found at epsbooks (the same company that makes explode the code books). We've liked using it.
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:55 pm

Talk to me about Spelling by Sound and Structure

Unread post by mgardenh »

Michelle in WA wrote:Talk to me about Spelling by Sound and Structure. I looked it over last night. It looks way too easy for my dd. Will it still benefit her to do it? I haven't read all the info for teachers in the TM yet. Do I need to read it? I skimmed it and to be honest, it's a little dry. I'm thinking I'll do it with her just to build her confidence. Thoughts?
IMHO I think if something is easy that's ok. I want to be sure to build a foundation. I know my dd could something harder then SBSAS but she enjoy's it and it gives good practice for handwriting. There are plenty of other areas that are more difficult. I think that is much like life and work. At work there are things that are easy and thing that are difficult. I think that allowing our children to have some things easy and some hard gives them a good view of life as an adult. Some life training, character building. We all have to do things that we like and don't like and we all have things that are way to easy and things that are really difficult.
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR
Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

I was hoping Mike would chime in on this one, because his dd is a very advanced reader, too. That is an excellent answer, Mike. I'm bookmarking it . . .
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL
Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

1st/2nd Spelling etc

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

Mexmarr wrote:I had decided to start my then 6 (she just turned 7 now) in 1st grade instead of Adventures. My idea was to beef it up and consider it 2nd. It is way easy for her, lol. She loves it, though, so not a problem.

We are doing the recommended R&S 2nd grade spelling. She likes the work, but the actual spelling of the words is so easy that she thinks it is laughable to have her spell them and call it a test. She doesn't miss anything, and reads WAY harder words than that. So, my question is, is there any reason not to just let her fill out the pages and skip the spelling test part? I don't want to miss something important, but it seems to me that the spelling tests don't really do any benefit except writing practice.

Just FYI, she reads chapterbooks outloud to her siblings and reads the Bible. She read Righteousness the other day without hesitating.
I had a very similar situation with my dd. I even tried 3rd grade R&S -- same problem.

We switched to Spelling Power about 5 weeks into ADV when my dd was 6.5yo. She did great with it, and I think it's a good program for natural spellers. You may want to call the MFW Office and see what they think. I received lots of direction in teaching spelling from them. (Or you can PM me.) :)
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: 1st/2nd Spelling etc

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Some kids just are good at spelling, such as my ds who has rarely had to study spelling. It's still good to teach the lesson, because they don't necessarily pick up spelling rules on their own. But I'd skip the rest, and later in the year you might find some words you want to spend more time on and you'll have that time. Depending on the child, you might even ask her to let you know when she starts thinking a spelling test would be helpful again.

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:26 pm

Re: 1st/2nd Spelling etc

Unread post by Mexmarr »

Julie in MN wrote: It's still good to teach the lesson, because they don't necessarily pick up spelling rules on their own. But I'd skip the rest, and later in the year you might find some words you want to spend more time on and you'll have that time.
Right, I still want her to do the whole lesson. It has her using the words and practicing the sounds and stuff. She needs that, even if it is easy. I'd like her to be able to move on to the next one when she wants, rather than having to wait for me to get around to giving her the actual spelling test.

I once asked her how she knew how to spell a word that she had just written. I was impressed, but she said, "Mo-om, that was an EASY word!" LOL.

She is also doing the Math in MFW1 ahead. So, I'm thinking that we will be OK to just plunge right into 3rd grade next year, considering. I have a telling time workbook and a learning money workbook that I'll have her do this year. I really can't wait till Adventures
Misty, Wife to a wonderful man! Mother to:
Rosy age 8 - 3rd grade, ECC
Gracie age 7- K and ECC orally (legally blind, Aspergers)
Lizzie age 4 1/2 - waiting to start K!
Andy age 3
Rebekah age 2
Ruthie born March 31st

Completed 1st and Adventures

Re: 1st/2nd Spelling etc

Unread post by MFW-Lucy »

Hi Misty,

If she is doing that well in the First grade math, I would consider testing her in Singapore and starting with that 2nd semester. It sounds like she may be ready and since she is in 2nd grade this would be good for her to begin now.

Just something to think about.


Re: 1st/2nd Spelling etc

Unread post by MFW-Lucy »


It sounds like continuing with the First Grade Math this year may be the best plan for her. If however you feel she has completed the goals in the First Grade Math you may consider doing the Singapore placement test. If she does not seem ready though,then wait. Give me a call at the MFW office, 573-426-4600, to discuss more about her skills and abilities if you like.

Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Re: 1st/2nd Spelling etc

Unread post by RachelT »

Hello! I am replying about the spelling questions. I have a "natural" speller/reader currently in 2nd grade. After working with her older dyslexic brother, I pondered over how to handle spelling with her because I knew it would be totally different. When I looked through Spelling by Sound & Structure, it looked like words that would be too easy for my daughter and I gave her words off of the last test, to see how she did (she knew most of them). I also called MFW and we decided to go ahead and try Spelling Power at her pace.

She is doing well with SP. At first I was worried that we were not spending enough time on that, but now we have settled into a routine. She usually knows most of the words and just needs to practice a small number of them. I have signed up for the free version of and it has been a great way for her to practice her spelling lists! There are games there or I can print off worksheets, using our own lists. Now on most weeks we go over the list and see which words she knows and which ones she needs to learn. She does some activities with them for a couple of days and then on Thursdays we test. If you don't want to purchase another spelling program this year, maybe you could do this with SSbS: have her do page A on Mon., page B on Tues., spelling city on Wed., and then test on Thursday? Just an idea.

It sounds like you could also call MFW (if you haven't already) and ask about moving on to SP. The great thing about SP is that you can jump to wherever your child is in the book. I even started my daughter one level lower than where she tested, so that she would gain confidence in the program while we were figuring out how to use it. I also have the flexibility to work on something different for a week, like when I had her practice the months of the year and days of the week because I saw that she had skipped over that list in an earlier level in the book.

Happy spelling!
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19
Post Reply