SP/Spelling - Method for struggling or very young child

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)

SP/Spelling - Method for struggling or very young child

Unread post by cbollin »

SP - Method for younger or struggling students (Study-Test-Study)
Karen in TN wrote:I ran across the SP section on the Study-Test-Study Approach (pg. 93-94). They suggest a totally different pattern of study for dc ages 8 and under. We definitely fall in that category, and I wondered if anyone else had taught using this other approach. I wondered whether we should try the regular way, or do the STS way suggested. I appreciate any input.
One of the things that frustrated my dd when we tried to use Spelling Power when she was in 2nd grade was that she was guessing too much with the test study test method. And then, she sometimes would guess correctly and then retain the material because I wasn't making her try that "correct" word the next day. She didn't really know how to spell it -- she just randomly got it right.

We then switched over the the study test study approach and it worked better.

Other adaptions that I made to Spelling Power suggestions included having my child re-do all words that she got correct unless I was absolutely sure that she really knew the word. SP suggested only testing words they missed. It worked better also because she could see correct words that she knew. She needed the confidence.

I also broke the categories down a lot more. For example, with the long sound of A there were lots of correct possibilities -- but she couldn't figure out which one was right. So I grouped the words more within SP's categories. We also ended up looking for more rules of why to use which spelling choice.

But yes, go with the study test study alternate plan.

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:20 am

Couldn't you just skip the "test" part and have him use the 10 Step Study for all of the words on the list and then "test" after several days? so instead of 5 minutes of "test" time followed by 5 minutes of "study" time, it would be 10 minutes of study time. And 5 minutes of the activity time with some of the tougher words on the list.

I do it that way with my middle child because she likes having some of the words be very easy each time and it builds her confidence. It really doesn't seem to add much to the day. My 6th grader, on the other hand, wants the smallest list possible to study from and it wouldn't work with her to do it that way. But it's just a thought.

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Unread post by Lucy »

I think it depends on what kind of speller you have. One of my children is much more of a natural speller but not above grade level so for him to have to study all the words and then take the test would have been more frustrating. I did not use it with him until 3rd grade and he was 8 1/2 by then. He was definitely not ready in 2nd grade as many are not and this is why I think MFW added a 2nd grade spelling program to their suggested language arts.

I started this program with my daughter when she was in 4th grade and so even though she is not a great speller the test first method has worked fine for her because she either knows it or not.

I have found that because you start your kids in a place where they know some of the words that it has worked for us so that they get some right and some wrong. Some list are harder than others and they realize this.

Like Crystal if I think that they have guessed or I could tell they were not sure but they get it correct, I do not make them study it but put it on the list and call it out along with the missed words.(I keep a list on an index card and use it as a place marker in the book.) If they get it again then I do not call it out again until Monday when ( I add this MFW suggestion) I call out all words missed the previous week. This has worked well for our family.

So I would so what you think will work best for this child this year or try it one way and if it does not work try it the other way.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
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Unread post by Tina »

Karen: I am going to be in your same shoes next year with my ds, who will be 8.

We are using the R&S Spelling by Sound and Structure and it is going well. My ds struggles with spelling. I will continue with R&S until we get thru it (we are only half way thru--and he does like this spelling, he just has a tough time remembering how to spell words--at times)

I think when we complete this book, I will do the study-test-study method with SP.

So, I too will look forward to see what others post here, and you can let me know what you chose to do, and I will let you know what I will choose.
Tina, homeschooling mother of Laura (1996), Jacob (1998) and Tucker (2003) In MO
"One of the greatest blessings of heaven is the appreciation of heaven on earth. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."--JIM ELLIOT
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Unread post by kfrench »

We are doing the test study test method with my almost 8 year old daughter. She is a pretty bad speller but I have seen remarkable improvement just in the last month since we started. She tested in level A so we just started at the beginning. I usually test her until she gets 3 words wrong. She doesn't mind missing the words so much because after she does the study she usually gets them right the next day and when ever I review the words to make sure they are sticking.

I guess it would matter on your child. If it really bugged them to always get words wrong It might not work as well. If they know they will only have 3 words to study and the next day they will know them and are ok with that it would work. Two of the lists she got through with only a few mistakes which resulted in 2 days with no words to study. This also happened with the review she only had one word to study. I felt this really increased her confidence in her spelling.

She also loves Spelling power because she hates work sheets. She loves that spelling takes 10 minutes or less every day.

Upset when she gets a word wrong

Unread post by cbollin »

momof3nKS wrote:DD is just shy of 8. I used the recommended spelling for 2nd grade by MFW with Spelling by Sound and Structure last year.

DD is somewhat of a perfectionist and when she gets a word wrong, the whole world is ending. She only misses 1 or 2 words a time. I think she is doing great spelling wise, but the sulking and crying I don't care for. Is it pretty normal for kids to miss 1 or 2 in the 5 minute period?

Today, I went down a level and did the first group of words. In the 5 minutes, she spelled 15 words correctly, not one word missed. This tells me it is too easy for her. However, at the same time, I wonder if it is building up her confidence. She was so happy!

Any words of wisdom? Do I stay at current level? Go back a level? Is it okay to miss 1 or 2 every time? Cathy
Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:33 am

There is a section about tweaking the program so that it is not test study test. But rather Study test study test. Or something like that. According to SP, that alternative method should be used for children younger than age 9 or 10.

You could put the book to the side for a few weeks and just do the Rod and Staff style of drill work for a few days before going back to SP's list.

You could go down a level and not hurt a thing. I usually have thought that the SP list for short vowel words (lessons 1-5) seemed too easy, but then for the rest of the level's list it seemed appropriate.

I agree with you that you should be teaching and thinking outside the box in order to help your child's confidence return. She is a child. I think she is frustrated and children express their fears in lots of ways. Find a gentle way to encourage her to keep trying. Let her see when you make a silly academic mistake and that you are easy on your self as you correct it. My kids and I love to laugh at the silly mistakes I've found when I balance the checkbook. Just how did I get that extra $8? Oh well, says Mom. Fix it and move on. Nothing bounced. No real problem except that the balance needed to be corrected. (That's why we check it.) Or they watch me type on this board. A few days ago, I misspelled my own name in my signature. Tell that one to your daughter --- maybe she'll laugh too. I thought it was funny.

Let her know that you are pleased when she is trying --- not when she has it all perfect. Let her know that she will someday learn how to spell more words than she can now. And that it is ok. My oldest didn't learn to spell well until this year (5th grade). It's ok. She's trying, she's learning, and accepted that we all make mistakes with spelling, math and life.

I heard a story once about a violin teacher who sat patiently listening to a student who didn't play very well. At the end of the lesson, the teacher said "very good. He can play." The student, who knew he had not done a perfect job --- was glad the teacher was still kind. The teacher's assistant said "are you crazy? That guy couldn't play at all. It was full of mistakes." The teacher kindly explained to the assistant "I did not say he could play very well. I said, Very Good. He can play." The student went on to learn how to play very well from the teacher.

I'll get off my soap box now.
--crystal (whew, spelled it right this time)
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Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 7:22 am

You are describing my second daughter to a tee. She was 7 when we began hs-ing and began with SP. First off, this kid (10 yo now) struggles with spelling. Yesterday, she wrote a "thak you" note for a field trip we went on and signed it "sicerly." She tries. When she went to school (K and 1st grade), she did fine on her spelling tests because (a) they were easy in those lower grades and (b) she was driven to learn those words.

My particular child is a perfectionist and gets bent out of shape with failure (perceived or real). We work on that and pray about that, but not during stressful times. Finally we're not crying (as much) with spelling but it's been a long journey. Some things we've tried and that have helped are:

1. Explaining that "with SP, we see what you already know and what you need to learn and it's not a test."

2. Or, go to the list-on-Monday, drill-on-Friday method. Not as time efficient, but maybe it's better for now. Or, go down a level (that seems to work for you, so why not -- we homeschool to meet our kids' needs not to fit the world's mold on grade levels, etc.)

3. Let the child have a say-so in how many words. My dd was allowed to say, "can we stop now?" after missing just one word (especially if the word was a doozy.) But we agreed that we'd always stop after four missed words. That was her limit.

4. I decided to save spelling for spelling time. She also struggles with creative writing, thinking that her (excellent) writing isn't good enough. THe time or two I corrected a spelling word in a writing assignment during writing time, she fell apart. So, I make a note of misspelled words and when we sit down to spell, point out that those words were wrong. I tell her that it's normal for a brain to be in "writing mode" or "spelling mode" and not in both.

5. One little thing that really, really helped her is allowing her to erase the misspelling and correct it on the spot. When we started SP, she had her misspelled word to the left and the correction to the right and it bugged her to have that wrong spelling, so I told her to erase it and write the right spelling instead. I don't know why, but that really helped her feel better. She didn't like having that misspelling still written in her notebook!

If none of this works, think of a new approach to spelling (if she indeed needs spelling lessons -- some kids don't because they naturally spell well). Perhaps just go over spelling rules together and brainstorm words that fit and break the rules and learn them. Or, just look for words in her written work that are misspelled and learn them. Or, have her give YOU spelling tests from SP or another list. Turn the tables, so to speak and she'll learn anyway.
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Unread post by momof3nKS »

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:07 am

Thanks so much for your insights. I've already tried many of the things you both suggested.

One thing that stuck out the most though is something Kelly said because it describes my dd very well. This is what we do for math, and I don't know why we shouldn't do it for spelling.
5. One little thing that really, really helped her is allowing her to erase the misspelling and correct it on the spot. When we started SP, she had her misspelled word to the left and the correction to the right and it bugged her to have that wrong spelling, so I told her to erase it and write the right spelling instead. I don't know why, but that really helped her feel better. She didn't like having that misspelling still written in her notebook!
I guess this is one of the blessings of HSing...we can tweek things for our child.
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Unread post by MJP »

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:41 pm

I always tell mine, "If you get them all right the first time, we are doing the wrong list. If you already know them, there is no reason to waste our time spelling them." This may not work with your child as none of mine were horribly upset they missed some, just disappointed.

We also use our "wax" tablet from R to R to practice writing the ones my daugther (8) misses instead of tracing it on the table with your finger. This made spelling so much more exciting! Sometimes it's the small things. I think she actually looks forward to practicing them now, whereas before she did not like the practice method.
Sue in MN
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Unread post by Sue in MN »

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:06 am

I thought that it wasn't recommended to use Spelling Power below age 8. I never teach spelling until they are at least 8 anyway.
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Unread post by momof3nKS »

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 8:43 am

One reason I'd like to do spelling is that she is writing a book of short stories, and she is always asking me or her younger brother how to spell words. (She started this book this summer and has worked on it fairly consistently. She is almost done with her 3rd short story.)

I went down a level the past 2 days. The first day she didn't miss any and was happy-go-lucky. Yesterday, she missed one and was discouraged. In the past, I have done and said everything I know how to encourage and help her and have prayed about it. However, yesterday, I told her that she wasn't perfect and if she was she wouldn't need me to teach her school. I told her I wasn't perfect. The only one who is perfect is God. The word she missed, she at least tried to spell it. That's what I want her to do, TRY her very best. If at first you don't succeed, TRY, TRY again! Most of all, I told her I loved her no matter what!! After our talk, she seemed different...like maybe a lightbulb went off finally. I will know for sure later on today.

Unread post by cbollin »

momof3nKS wrote:DD is just shy of 8.
Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:06 pm

Cathy, drop spelling power for about 2 months and come back to it. Spell the words to her that she needs while writing the little book. You'll be fine. Don't tell her to sound it out, or to use this rule or whatever. Spell it for her, or let her dictate to you and you write it.

Crystal's been there, done that with a child who was just shy of 8 y.o. I really said these things to myself with my oldest: "Oh, what does the book SP know. This is MY child. I know MY child. She was talking in full sentences at 15 months old. She could read at age 4. She's advanced." Yeah, right. She was shy of 8 years old, and not a natural born speller.

Here is what I wish someone would have said to me. I wish someone had been bold enough to tell me to put Spelling Power away for a few months. Then, start at level A (no matter what she tests in). Or you probably can start at lesson 6 instead of lesson 1.

You'll be sparing yourself a few years of heartache and teeth pulling. Warmly and friendly because I've been there {hug}

Unread post by cbollin »

nehschooler2three wrote:I am at the end of my rope with my son using spelling power. He is in the third grade and this year. As soon as he misses one word he is whining.

I try to be very upbeat and explain that "isn't it great that you don't have to study the same words all week long! you only have to study 1 or 2 a day! And you always spell them right the next day!" but it doesn't seem to work. Any suggestions would be awesome!
Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 10:52 am

I understand that frustration. Sounds like he is a bit of a perfectionist on spelling. My oldest is like that. She's in 5th grade. 3rd grade is still young in my book. Modify Spelling Power or any program to fit the child.

Here's what I do. I don't do the test study test model exactly the same way.

* teach the spellings of the sound before any kind of testing begins.

* The first "test" in the lesson is when I teach the rule. I have been known to break down the rules into sub sections in SP so that we are not trying to cover each possible spelling of each sound.
  • so in a long A sound I will teach silent e, on one day and then teach ai/ay on a different day.
* I write the words on a white board and hide that orange SP book. :) I've been known to copy the words early in the morning or to write them on a notecard.

* Then I call out the words and she spells them while looking at them. (What a novel idea --- let them see the answer and call the right answer out for practice.)

* then we practice orally again with the words covered up.

* The next day is the first time I let her try to write them down on paper or on the white board or chalk board. Something that isn't permanent.

We gave up on the 5 minute activity section because it wasn't helping her. I know it is a good idea for some. Just wasn't in my case.

don't get hung up on the test study test model.

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Unread post by LSH in MS »

Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 2:38 pm

My son did the same thing last year in 3rd grade. I didn't want to change programs because SP is cheaper in the long run.

I just let him study the words before I gave him the test. That way he saw them and could work on memorizing them and feel confident when we did the test. Even when we did this he would glance over the words and skipped the ones he already knew.

He studied them right out of the SP book. BTW, this year he is doing SP as written. IT doesn't seem to bother him anymore.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:36 am

I am also wondering which level you started him on and if maybe he feels unsuccessful because he misses too many words. This may not apply at all so if it does not, just read the other posts and over look this one!

I found with my son when we first started I had put him one level too high. We moved back a level and oh what a change. He felt very successful because he only missed a word or two.

Another thought is after he misses just 2 words stop. I do not know how many you go to but I found in the beginning this really helped my son also.

Just some thoughts.
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Unread post by Colleen »

Posted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:30 pm

Someone mentioned their child being a perfectionist. For that reason and also because of something I read in an advertisement for another spelling program we have added a new step to the Spelling Power program.

Each day we preview the words that will be coming up about 2-3 lists away. The ad I mentioned said that Charlotte Mason was adamant about the fact that the child should see the word spelled correctly first. If they see it spelled incorrectly first (even if they wrote it), then that image can become ingrained. We want the correct spelling ingrained instead! Anyhow, in my mind, it also give the child a chance to think about it beforehand while seeing it spelled correctly so that it's not a surprise when they have to spell it.

Anyhow, so far it seems to help my perfectionist daughter a little. I do make sure it is not the day before she gets the word because I don't want it to be a short term memory thing either. HTH

Help for 7 year old

Unread post by cbollin »

Hmschooling wrote:SP... I'm going to give it a little longer to decide but I don't think it's working for us. other ideas?
Are you using the suggestions in SP for younger kids to make their dictionary and do it more as copywork practice and other "spelling related" learning skills??? SP might work better at an older age.

any ideas why it might not be a good fit? That might help a bit to use a better fit???
Hmschooling wrote:I have used an adapted method with SP for younger children. She is not at all into the idea exactly as they have it outlined with the dictionary and such, but I'm not having her do it as outlined for the older children.

Spelling Power takes us too long... She hasn't been able to finish the 10-steps sheet in the alloted time so we're not making any progress. By age, she is only 2nd grade (she's 7). So, with that being the case, we would be doing R&S 2. But seeing as how she's quite gifted, perhaps we should still have gone with R&S-- just a different level. Then try SP again later once she's older.
Agreeing with you--- 7 y.o and SP is probably not going to work given the amount of time it takes with writing.

With all of that said..... (especially the handwriting issue) -- I'd actually consider one of several options:
*drop spelling as a "formal subject" this year --- she's young. Many educational philosophies don't really advocate formal spelling below age 9 or 10. Since you have a child who tends to be a strong speller (by placing on Level D of SP) ---- she just may not "need" spelling.

*Unless you're ready to teach cursive (or at least to write in cursive), don't use R&S 3. It contains cursive (partially). R&S 2 might be "easy" and she might not learn new spelling skills (but she's advanced and won't lose the skills), but it could be an extra and EASIER handwriting practice in the context of reviewing and re-enforcing phonics/spelling rules, as well learning to be able to give definitions to vocabulary words. It will be easy in terms of spelling for her (based on what you have said), but still have the other benefits with handwriting and copywork, and some basic age appropriate ways with vocabulary and definitions.

*some people like the idea of dropping the writing portion of a spelling program (such as SP) and use letter tiles instead of having child write it all. But given how high she placed in the level, I don't think you would have to teach formal spelling as much this year at the level she placed. just one opinion of course.

Blessings to you as you pray and let God lead.
Last edited by cbollin on Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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She can't stand tests!

Unread post by dhudson »

amelasky wrote:My daughter loves school, and for the most part is a JOY to homeschool. All that to say, spelling is ruining our year! She screams, she cries, she throws a FIT! She yells that she isn't good at spelling and she can't stand tests! It is the craziest thing! This isn't at all like her.

I have tried having her copy her words several times, we go over them orally, I create word search games, crossword puzzles, etc. We take extra time to do Lesson A and Lesson B in our SbSS books. I DON"T know what else to do.

This is the only subject that she has "tests" in. I've tried to talk to her about the fact that the grade doesn't matter. I've not given her a number or a letter grade, just marked the one or two that we need to go back and correct. We've done practice tests, and she usually only misses one (if that!) , so I will count it as her real test or give her the option to try again. She goes into a panic if she doesn't make a 100! I don't understand it. I try so hard to not apply pressure, to keep it low key.

I refuse to allow one silly test a week to ruin an awesome school year. Do you have any practical tips or other ways to test her without her knowing it. Is that the key? Or should I just force her to deal with the fact that she is going to have a spelling test once a week? Thank you for your help!

[see the end of the story below]
I have had to deal with this kind of behavior with two of mine. My two boys are perfectionists and the thought of possibly failing a test has sent them both into fits and many tears. We had some yesterday as a matter of fact with my youngest son. My little girl who is not detailed or a perfectionist, tests don't faze her and she handles them just fine.

We have talked about, memorized, Bible verses that talk about self-control, and control over their emotions. We have set the standard that we're okay with them getting answers wrong but not with them throwing fits. So, for positive reinforcement we have given them stickers for good self-control and when they receive so many stickers they get a prize. For days when they can't maintain self-control they have reflective time in their room to get a handle on themselves and privileges taken away. Again, we are trying to get the point across that we are fine with them missing the answers (although they have to write them 5 times and re-take them next week) but we are not okay with inappropriate behavior.

My oldest is now 10yr and now handles taking tests just fine although it took several years of training. My 7 yr old is getting better but still has his days - yesterday we had tears over one missed word but he controlled his anger and his tongue.

We have state mandated testing in CO so I knew this behavior we had to deal with, so I did at one point tell my oldest that until he could learn to control his emotions we would take tests everyday until he could handle it. And we did for three weeks, math tests, english tests, spelling tests, you name it. This was a drastic measure after we had taught him what the Bible had to say about and laid out the consequences of his behavior.

Sorry Fridays are bad and hope it gets better soon.
Last edited by dhudson on Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
God Bless,
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Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

I've done the kind of thing that Dawn describes -- more rather than less until they settle down. Also using the peer pressure of group tests -- standardized testing or co-op classes can help.

However, at age 7 I would probably just drop the tests at my house. I might dictate the words on Friday until she said, "Mom, I already know how to spell that," and did a spelling test without realizing it.

Best wishes in your decision on what is best for your particular child.
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
Michelle in WA
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Unread post by Michelle in WA »

You know your child best. If you are confident that she knows the words, but freezes for tests, I would drop the test part. It's only 2nd grade and unless your dd needs to be ready for standardized tests this year, I don't see the point in making everyone miserable. Maybe give it a long rest, then reintroduce it as dictation in a few months when the memory of the difficulty is not so fresh. The beauty of hsing is that we don't HAVE to do things the same way and we don't HAVE to test all the time.
Michelle, momma to
A (01) completed 1st, ADV, heading into AHL (gulp)
T (02) completed K, 1st (doing something else for now)
C (05) (doing something else for now)
T (08) completed K, doing 1st

Unread post by cbollin »

I haven't read the other answers, so if this is repeated, sorry in advance.

She's in 2nd grade. Spelling Tests are not required. They aren't really all that useful for much of anything except to see what the student is missing. Might be nice for classroom, but not really needed at home as much.

Especially don't do a "pre test" at this age/stage/grade level.

One idea to change around what you do for Friday on the SbSaS book -- it doesn't have to be on paper. It could be out loud. it could be done with letter tiles for fun.

Some classical educators don't really start formal spelling instruction until 3rd or 4th grade.

One of the things I learned with SbSaS was that it was important to "evaluate" (not test) for the actual lesson that is taught and not to test for each and every word on the list. My goal was to teach certain spelling skills at 2nd grade age. Examples: Lesson 1, the goal is to work on beginning consonant sound. So, I checked at the end of the week for retention of the beginning sound and ignored it when my kid couldn't get the "ck" ending on the word "sick"

So, I just don't bleed red ink on my kids paper. At this stage my goal for spelling is to learn the little rule that is being studied. That way at the end of the week, my child could say "I can spell the first sound!" or "I learned to listen for the short a sound"

in that way, they knew that they weren't always expected to know everything about every single word right away and that some mistakes are going to happen while learning a lot of spelling skills and that it would come together over the year and next years too. Spelling involves a lot of skills that must be learned, not necessarily a list of words to get right 100% of the time.

I don't know if that makes sense or not. But basically I dropped the test, and made sure I was "grading" and "evaluating" the proper thing at the proper time.

just one way to do it.


Michele in WA
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Unread post by Michele in WA »

I was going to write earlier, and now coming back to the board, I see everyone has already said what I was going to say! Drop the tests!!! I realize that someday down the road, your child will need to take a test whether she wants to or not, but at this age, the struggle is not worth it. Especially when she is doing so well otherwise.

So, do the lessons. She'll still learn! And, like Crystal mentioned, it doesn't have to be written down on paper. Spell with play-dough, write with a finger in sugar/flour on a tray, or the white board is a big hit here. You get the idea!

Hope your Fridays are happy once again!!
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Unread post by MJP »

So now I am thinking---maybe my children could care a little MORE about missing something. Although they are all doing well, NONE of mine care very much about missing things!
Wife of 1 for 18 yrs. Mom of 7--ages 1-15--1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th grades & (one on the way)
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Unread post by kellybell »

I have a 7 year old that I think can't spell "I" most days. Really. She often gets the first letter right and then ... well.

So, we don't do "tests" either at this age, but we work on spelling each day. I try to vary the lessons and it's more of mom-created lessons that emphasize what she needs help on. For example, she often gets the right letters in the wrong order (she spelled "sngi" for sing the other day) so I work the order of things.

I've also had success making up stories about how to spell things. Songs and jingles and stories... I think I shared here my could, would, and should story. She can figure out the first letter(s) but couldn't get the "ould" so I told a story about a boy (what name did we make up for him, Leonard Daniel) who went by "LD" and he was always getting in trouble so his mom would always say "Oh, you, L. D." And if you could say "oh you L D" you could spell could, would, and should.

Take advantage of any time your child writes. Quietly look over her letter to grandma and notice she cannot spell "home." Instead of red-inking "home" on the page, make a mental note to teach HOME tomorrow.

Just some ideas. We'll use Spelling Power soon with her, but right now, I'm just trying to reinforce her SwSaS learing.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:55 pm
Location: United States

Unread post by KimberlyND »

I agree with the others who said to just drop the tests. My 7 year old who is also doing Adventures isn't too great on his spelling. He does spell phonetically, it usually isn't the right phonetic rule. He does love his spelling book though. He hasn't been down about getting words wrong. If it is a word I know he will have trouble with I will give him hints. He does seem to be getting better. On the wall in front of his desk I have his sound chart from 1st grade. That helps some. But that is just him. Your situation sounds different. Again, I would just drop those tests for now.
Kimberly in ND
MFW user since 2007, gone through K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CtG, RtR, Exp. to 1850, & 1850 to Modern Times
Using ECC 2014-2015 with an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter
Have been HS for 19 years and graduated 3 dc.
Posts: 349
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Unread post by RachelT »

We have found spelling to be a challenge, too. I think I have posted 2 or 3 times on this board asking questions about SbSS! I do not know if it is the "test" that is the problem or the subject material to be learned? If your child is having any trouble learning, please read the next paragraph. We are also trying to vary our activities, using the Lauri textured letters to build the words, write them in the carpet, etc.

On Thursdays we review the spelling words with a bingo game. My son had spelling and math tests on Fridays and he doesn't like having the tests either and was more resistant today than any other day this week. One thing I've done is let him use a small lap sized white board for the test, so he has more room to write the word in a larger size than on lined paper (writing is also a challenge for him). This has helped, some.

Yesterday, I was able to visit with a friend from mine who lives out of town while she was here this week. She is a Reading Recovery teacher and has had lots of training. She showed me a great technique that I used for one day, today, before our test and it helped so much! (I can't wait to use it for the whole week!) My son can remember the first sound of the word and the last, but he usually gets mixed up in the middle. Here is what she showed me to do with spelling words:

1. Write the word on a small white board (piece of paper, index card, etc.) and show it to the student
2. Turn it over (so it can't be seen) and ask them what the saw and have them finger write it in the air in front of their eyes, like they are seeing it on a magic board in their mind
3. If it is correct, ask them "what is the first letter?" "What is the 2nd letter?" "what is the 3rd letter?" etc. through all of the letters in the word
4. If they answer incorrectly, show them the board again and say does that match this?
5. Then do it again.
(We are going to work on them every day this week like this and see what happens!)

She also showed me how to use this visualization technique for learning sounds to improve our reading like "ch" "th" "er" "ar" "ur" "ing" and building up to suffixes and prefixes and larger "chunks" of words.

Now that I talked with my friend, I can see that my son can only "hold" 1-3 letters in his brain and he has to learn to hold a longer string of letters. (Today he said during our test on lesson 10 - Mom I'm really good at the 3 letter words! He knows that the longer ones are more difficult for him.) I wanted to share this with you because maybe it could help! My son also does not like to make mistakes, but he felt good on Friday when he only missed 1 letter in 3 different words. That's the best he has done on a test, so far. I think this is going to make a difference and I hope it could help you!

We also used and enjoyed Kellybell's "Oh, you LD" story!

We are right there with you!
cbollin wrote:Rachel,
looking down the road a bit..... some of those techniques are part of the way Spelling Power has children study words. :-) cool, huh?
Well, I thought we were "behind" with the difficulty we've had in spelling so far, but maybe this will help us "get ahead"! Seriously, I am glad to know that something we are starting now will just carry over into later years. That is cool!

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

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