Homeschool Spelling the Charlotte Mason Way

Homeschool spelling with prepared dictation

Charlotte Mason had a knack for keeping school interesting. Not only did she include a variety of subjects, but she taught those subjects with enjoyable (and effective) methods.

Take the subject of spelling, for example. Most of us were taught spelling with lists of words. Charlotte realized that lists have drawbacks: they aren’t interesting and they don’t show the words in context. Spelling is a lot more enjoyable when the student receives his spelling words couched in an interesting idea.

“The mind feeds on ideas,” Charlotte believed.

So Charlotte used a method called prepared dictation to teach spelling to her students. Did you notice that key word “prepared”? This is not cold-turkey dictation. With prepared dictation, the student studies the passage ahead of time so he is prepared when the dictation happens.

Here are the simple steps to prepared dictation:

  1. Select a passage from a good living book. (Our Spelling Wisdom series has already done this step for you.)
  2. Look at the passage and identify any words the student doesn’t know how to spell.
  3. Help the student to, or assign the student to independently, study those words.
  4. Tell the student to look at the punctuation and capitalization of the passage too. (Some moms like to assign the passage for copywork as part of the preparation process.)
  5. When the student is ready, dictate the passage phrase by phrase while the student writes it.

You might like to watch our new video that explains prepared dictation. Sonya will walk you through the process step-by-step in less than ten minutes, filling in more details, showing examples, and giving helpful tips along the way.

Yes, even spelling can be interesting, if you teach it the CM way!

New High School Series

Next week we will begin a new series: Homeschooling through High School the CM Way. What changes? What stays the same? What about grades for transcripts? Let’s talk.