Spelling has always been an uphill battle in this family. First with me, who didn’t learn to spell until college, and then with Alex and Cyan, neither of whom spell well even today. The English language just doesn’t make sense! So that means that instead of using logic (which we are all very logical people) we have had to just rote memorize a lot of words and even I find that MUCH harder than knowing the rules and using logic.
This last week I decided to use the Charlotte Mason form of spelling lesson. I took words that Cyan misspelled from her own work and placed them up on a chalk board at the front of our classroom for the day. No correction was made to her just then, so she didn’t even know why those particular words were up there. Then, at the end of the week, I told her that we were going to learn to spell these words. I chatted with her lightly about where she missed them and how to break down some of these words into parts so that they were easier to remember. Then in spelling bee format, I had her recite the words while they were still at the front of the room. “direction. d-i-r-e-c-t-i-o-n, direction.” This way she could look over to get confirmation of the word she was working on any time she needed it. She never had to guess or try to figure out the words using logic (which some do not have… Whoever decided that ‘tion’ is ‘shun’ was just plain crazy!)
This was on Friday. She missed one word when we finally got down to ‘testing’ at the end of the day and I had her look at it and write it a few times. Then on Tuesday I tested her again. She got all of the 6 words correct.
Charlotte Mason also says that using Prepared Dictation is a wonderful way to learn spelling. For example, using a poem or a phrase from a book you have read and choosing a few of the words from that passage to study for spelling. For us, it works better for my children to have made their own list of spelling words via things they have done like dictation, nature study observations, letters they have written, or lessons they have worked. So I create a comprehensive list from their own studies. Both ways work and will give the child that next level of involvement with the words they are learning… and having one more level of learning is what it is all about!