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 mind...my 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 wordy...so I apologize in advance. Also thank you everyone for your thoughts. I appreciate your feedback very much.