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    Spelling help when there isn't a great phonics foundation

    My 4th grader only completed Level 1 of All About Reading, and to be honest, she didn't even really need to complete that level in order to read well. She read early and quickly.

    I didn't know that we should have continued with phonics, because she was obviously such a magnificent reader.

    So now that she is in the 4th grade, she can't spell worth a hoot because of my ignorance in not moving through phonics. We completed a couple of levels of All About Spelling through the years, but I was horribly inconsistent (babies, morning sickness, blah blah).

    We are working through R&S Spelling and are in Week 6, and I'm just not seeing a great amount of improvement in her spelling across the board. While she never misses more than 2-3 on the spelling test, she can rarely tell me the rules when I ask her, and she definitely can't associate those same rules with other similar words.

    She writes all the answers to the comprehension questions in Greek Myths, Insects, and Literature (yes, I know she doesn't have to...but SHE doesn't know that ) This week in Lesson 3 of Fable, I began making her write both of the re-writes where I was previously writing her answers down. The spelling errors are atrocious in all of those subjects. She frequently doesn't put the letters in the correct order... 'hlep' for help, 'frorets' for forest, etc.

    And Latin spelling? I'm dying a slow death here.

    She hates the physical act of writing and puts up a fuss about it. I'm doing a lot of hand strengthening with her (thanks, Dianna, for the suggestion!), but I haven't seen much improvement.

    How can I help her build her phonetic foundation? My 2nd grader is using the MP 1 core, so I have the phonics flashcards and Classical Phonics. But I don't know where to start with my 4th grader using these. I just need it laid out for me in a 'Day 1 do this', 'Day 2 do this' type of way. Our house has lots of moving parts, and I don't have the mental bandwidth to add much more.

    Any thoughts on where I should go from here? Should I continue on with R&S Spelling a bit longer?

    Thank you for your ideas!
    Lauren <3
    Mama to 5 Sweet Ones

    2021-2022:
    11th grade DS: Mix of MP materials, MPOA, and BJU
    9th grade DD: Mostly 9M, MPOA, and French
    7th grade DD: 7M
    5th Grade DD: 5M
    4.5 yo DS: Outside as much as possible beating on things with sticks; MP Jr. K and Mom made fun things

    #2
    Re: Spelling help when there isn't a great phonics foundation

    Originally posted by MamaHill View Post
    My 4th grader only completed Level 1 of All About Reading, and to be honest, she didn't even really need to complete that level in order to read well. She read early and quickly.

    I didn't know that we should have continued with phonics, because she was obviously such a magnificent reader.

    So now that she is in the 4th grade, she can't spell worth a hoot because of my ignorance in not moving through phonics. We completed a couple of levels of All About Spelling through the years, but I was horribly inconsistent (babies, morning sickness, blah blah).

    We are working through R&S Spelling and are in Week 6, and I'm just not seeing a great amount of improvement in her spelling across the board. While she never misses more than 2-3 on the spelling test, she can rarely tell me the rules when I ask her, and she definitely can't associate those same rules with other similar words.

    She writes all the answers to the comprehension questions in Greek Myths, Insects, and Literature (yes, I know she doesn't have to...but SHE doesn't know that ) This week in Lesson 3 of Fable, I began making her write both of the re-writes where I was previously writing her answers down. The spelling errors are atrocious in all of those subjects. She frequently doesn't put the letters in the correct order... 'hlep' for help, 'frorets' for forest, etc.

    And Latin spelling? I'm dying a slow death here.

    She hates the physical act of writing and puts up a fuss about it. I'm doing a lot of hand strengthening with her (thanks, Dianna, for the suggestion!), but I haven't seen much improvement.

    How can I help her build her phonetic foundation? My 2nd grader is using the MP 1 core, so I have the phonics flashcards and Classical Phonics. But I don't know where to start with my 4th grader using these. I just need it laid out for me in a 'Day 1 do this', 'Day 2 do this' type of way. Our house has lots of moving parts, and I don't have the mental bandwidth to add much more.

    Any thoughts on where I should go from here? Should I continue on with R&S Spelling a bit longer?

    Thank you for your ideas!
    Lauren <3

    Try Traditional Spelling 1? The one in the MP1 core? My 9 year old is doing it. She loves it, actually. There is a LOT of phonics and word study in it! Also, since she can read, a lot of it she can do alone (copying words, etc). She may move faster than the one IN the core 1.
    Christine

    (2022/2023)
    DD1 8/23/09 -Mix of MP 6/7
    DS2 9/1/11 - Mix of SC 7/8 and SC 9/10 (R&S 5, FFL)
    DD3 2/9/13 -SC 5/6

    Previous Years
    DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4, Mix of MP3/4, Mix MP5/6
    DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, AAR/Storytime Treasures), CLE Math, Mix of MP3/4, MP5 (literature mix of SC 7/8/MP5)
    DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK, AAR), MP1, MP2

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Spelling help when there isn't a great phonics foundation

      Hi Lauren,

      Christine's recommendation might be a good one. Having not seen Traditional Spelling, I can't comment. What I can comment on is this: by your description, your child is likely a global learner rather than a sequential learner. I raised at least one of those and it was quite the shock to me since I am very sequential at all times.

      A global learner grasps the whole over the sequencing parts. In many areas of learning, this is fantastic and it will take her far (PHYSICS!!). When you say she read early, it seems as if she was learning via Whole Language where the learner memorizes entire words when learning to read. This was the "in thing" in the 80's and 90's. The biggest downside to this method of teaching reading is.... and you have it in one... spelling and phonics. So, she is a whole language reader, but even that might limit her at some point if she can't tackle and break down the more complex words that her upper education will being to throw her way. You are wise to be realizing that now.

      But, you came here for practical advice.


      At some point, I simply realized that my son's brain wasn't wired for sequential spelling. [Fun fact, the only math that ever even slowed him down a bit was Order of Operations, which just seemed illogical to him mathematically.] So, I simply decided not to "own" this issue, but to put him in spelling programs, list a week, until he was in 8th grade. That's it. Here's a list of what I did:

      1. Spelling Power to help glean out the words he didn't know. Unfortunately, there were too many, and it was frustrating us both, so....

      2. List a week spelling. MP uses Spelling Work out, so I say, just stick with it.

      3. I begged him when writing to *at least* use the same spelling of the word throughout the same composition. Please, dear, do not keep changing how you spell the word "prairie" all throughout the composition!

      4. Being handwriting phobic, as these global learners often are (they see the whole, so writing each letter is such. a. drag.), I allowed him to begin to type his writing assignments as soon as decently possible. I did allow spellcheck and that helped us both a lot. I find nothing wrong with spellcheck, since frankly, *I* use it all the time as an adult.

      5. By the time he was in high school, and although he continues to be a less than amazing speller, it all leveled out. All is good. He scored a perfect on the writing portion of the SAT, so that was good enough for me to realize that not all these skills have to be perfected *by me*. As the homeschooling mom, keep encouraging all the "right" ways in areas of weakness, but you do not need to lose sleep over this issue.


      I do hope that helped a bit. My advice: keep soldiering on, making sure she understands that *you* value spelling, but don't get overly emotional about it. Treat it like teeth brushing or bed making: it's a daily task, we benefit from practicing these things. In the end, you don't want her to feel like she's a "victim" because she is a bad speller, kwim?




      Jen
      DS, 28 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

      DS, 26 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

      DD, 23 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

      DS, 13 yrs, 9th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

      All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

      Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling, now a high school chemistry teacher at a large Catholic high school

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Spelling help when there isn't a great phonics foundation

        When I hear about an older student struggling with spelling it usually sends up a red flag, even if the student is a good reader, because poor spelling is the common denominator for dyslexia. If you are certain that the spelling issues are just due to lack of exposure, I would carry on with spelling lessons maintaining the expectation of correct spelling in words covered in other subjects as well. Traditional Spelling Level II might be beneficial just to introduce those basic phonics. By the age/grade you are describing, without frustrating the student, you want to begin raising the expectation of correct spelling. If the student is unsure of a spelling, encourage him to ask you how to spell it before he writes it incorrectly multiple times ingraining that to visual memory. You could also note incorrect spellings in written work and develop a list of "bonus words" that can be added to a weekly list. But you are correct in that it is time to begin working on spelling.


        Blessings,
        Michelle T.

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Spelling help when there isn't a great phonics foundation

          Originally posted by Jen (formerly) in Japan View Post
          Hi Lauren,

          Christine's recommendation might be a good one. Having not seen Traditional Spelling, I can't comment. What I can comment on is this: by your description, your child is likely a global learner rather than a sequential learner. I raised at least one of those and it was quite the shock to me since I am very sequential at all times.

          A global learner grasps the whole over the sequencing parts. In many areas of learning, this is fantastic and it will take her far (PHYSICS!!). When you say she read early, it seems as if she was learning via Whole Language where the learner memorizes entire words when learning to read. This was the "in thing" in the 80's and 90's. The biggest downside to this method of teaching reading is.... and you have it in one... spelling and phonics. So, she is a whole language reader, but even that might limit her at some point if she can't tackle and break down the more complex words that her upper education will being to throw her way. You are wise to be realizing that now.

          But, you came here for practical advice.


          At some point, I simply realized that my son's brain wasn't wired for sequential spelling. [Fun fact, the only math that ever even slowed him down a bit was Order of Operations, which just seemed illogical to him mathematically.] So, I simply decided not to "own" this issue, but to put him in spelling programs, list a week, until he was in 8th grade. That's it. Here's a list of what I did:

          1. Spelling Power to help glean out the words he didn't know. Unfortunately, there were too many, and it was frustrating us both, so....

          2. List a week spelling. MP uses Spelling Work out, so I say, just stick with it.

          3. I begged him when writing to *at least* use the same spelling of the word throughout the same composition. Please, dear, do not keep changing how you spell the word "prairie" all throughout the composition!

          4. Being handwriting phobic, as these global learners often are (they see the whole, so writing each letter is such. a. drag.), I allowed him to begin to type his writing assignments as soon as decently possible. I did allow spellcheck and that helped us both a lot. I find nothing wrong with spellcheck, since frankly, *I* use it all the time as an adult.

          5. By the time he was in high school, and although he continues to be a less than amazing speller, it all leveled out. All is good. He scored a perfect on the writing portion of the SAT, so that was good enough for me to realize that not all these skills have to be perfected *by me*. As the homeschooling mom, keep encouraging all the "right" ways in areas of weakness, but you do not need to lose sleep over this issue.


          I do hope that helped a bit. My advice: keep soldiering on, making sure she understands that *you* value spelling, but don't get overly emotional about it. Treat it like teeth brushing or bed making: it's a daily task, we benefit from practicing these things. In the end, you don't want her to feel like she's a "victim" because she is a bad speller, kwim?




          Jen
          This has given me so much food for thought. I am not familiar with those types of learners - global vs. sequential - so this is brand new information to me. She has always been an interesting learner, and to be honest, she and my oldest are the two that are so hard to figure out. But maybe it's this "whole" type of learning style. These two particular children are super bright and super intense, *despise* math facts but understand math concepts easily, they both read the first and last chapters of books and then go back and read the middles (drives me nuts), both balk at the physical act of handwriting, the list goes on and on.

          I'm off to do some research and reading on this.

          And thank you for the practical helps, especially the wisdom in not getting overly emotional about it. Pick your battles, right?

          Lauren
          Mama to 5 Sweet Ones

          2021-2022:
          11th grade DS: Mix of MP materials, MPOA, and BJU
          9th grade DD: Mostly 9M, MPOA, and French
          7th grade DD: 7M
          5th Grade DD: 5M
          4.5 yo DS: Outside as much as possible beating on things with sticks; MP Jr. K and Mom made fun things

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Spelling help when there isn't a great phonics foundation

            Thank you for the replies about Traditional Spelling! I honestly hadn't considered using that for this child since she was so much older, but it does present phonics in such an organized way. It has helped my 2nd grader by leaps and bounds, so I don't know why it didn't dawn on me to use it with my 4th grader.

            Michelle, if I use Traditional Spelling II, do I still need to do one lesson over 1 week? Is that the recommended pace, regardless of age/grade?

            Yes, I understand the concerns about dyslexia, as I've always suspecting my older girl of having some level of dyslexia due to difficulty with reading quickly and spelling. But for my 4th grader, my gut says it's because I never made her learn phonics. Thank you for bringing that up though. I'll make sure to keep it in the back of my mind in case my gut feeling is wrong.

            Again, many thanks to all for the help in making a decision of where to go with this.

            Lauren
            Mama to 5 Sweet Ones

            2021-2022:
            11th grade DS: Mix of MP materials, MPOA, and BJU
            9th grade DD: Mostly 9M, MPOA, and French
            7th grade DD: 7M
            5th Grade DD: 5M
            4.5 yo DS: Outside as much as possible beating on things with sticks; MP Jr. K and Mom made fun things

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Spelling help when there isn't a great phonics foundation

              I would gauge the length of time spent per lesson on how long it takes for mastery of the content. A week spent focusing on the Phonics might not be too slow if you are adding words used in other writing to add to it.

              Blessings,
              Michelle T

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Spelling help when there isn't a great phonics foundation

                Originally posted by Michelle T View Post
                I would gauge the length of time spent per lesson on how long it takes for mastery of the content. A week spent focusing on the Phonics might not be too slow if you are adding words used in other writing to add to it.

                Blessings,
                Michelle T
                Thank you!
                Mama to 5 Sweet Ones

                2021-2022:
                11th grade DS: Mix of MP materials, MPOA, and BJU
                9th grade DD: Mostly 9M, MPOA, and French
                7th grade DD: 7M
                5th Grade DD: 5M
                4.5 yo DS: Outside as much as possible beating on things with sticks; MP Jr. K and Mom made fun things

                Comment

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