Topic | Advice needed for poor speller


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  • 4myboys

    I am trying to decide what to spend money on for this year.  We are starting our HS adventure in the fall, but I expect to need a significant amount of time to “deschool” my ds10 who will be in fifth grade, therfore I do not want to “over buy” what I will not use — just what I will need as I need it.  I am considering science or history for this year, but not both, and not begin either until after Christmas.

    Part of me thinks a formal spelling program will be necessary for my older son who struggles so much with it.  He has a hard time choosing the right vowels for words, tries to spell words like they sound (which is really difficult if he is mispronouncing the word in the first place), and will often leave out vowels altogether.  Orally he flies through presentations, presenting worderful ideas, but he really struggles getting them on paper.  He has difficulty forming letters, remembering spaces and puctuation, use of capitals, staying on the lines, etc. 

    Both of my friends who homeschool have recommended All About Spelling, which concentrates on letter sound recognition and spelling rules.  I would like to hold off on purchasing this, as it is a little pricy.  I think that copywork will be a gentler approach during the initial year in particular, with focus on neatness and mechanics, but as he is heading into grade 5, I am concerned that this won’t satisfactorily address his spelling.  (I’m not even a great speller!)

    In previous years he has done well on spelling tests in that he would tend to spell the word correctly on the test, although likely lose marks for using capitals when he shouldn’t or not forming a letter correctly, but when it came to using the word in his writing, there would be a less than 50-50 shot that he would spell it correctly (an r might look like and h or an a might be a circle with an unattached stick floating off to the side) .  This year his teacher has not taught formal spelling, but he has done the bulk of his written work on computer, or completed assignments or tests orally when possible.  I like that with CM I can continue to use oral methods for narration — I think he will appreciate that, although he will hate the copywork if I can’t give it significant purpose and interest for him.

    What would your advice be in this situation?  Have any of you CMers used this program?  Does anyone have a child with a similar learning challenge that has found copywork to be sfficient?  I am also considering Queen’s Language Lessons for the Elementary Child, but I don’t know how much it addresses spelling issues.




    I haven’t used a formal spelling program, except for Spelling Wisdom from SCM, but my daughter just finished up her fifth grade year homeschooling after being in pub school for fourth grade, so I think I can make some good comparisons for you of how some of these resources will work for a kid this age new to homeschooling. (Just FYI, we homeschooled dd 3rd and 5th, and ds preschool and 1st, and we will be at home again next year – YAY!)

    I haven’t used All About Spelling, but it gets very good reviews.  I think you are taking a very good approach to buy very little and wait and see what you will need.  It is easy to overbuy because everything looks so great! but then when you are actually using it, well, every house is different so it may not be so great for you.  

    Spelling Wisdom uses copywork to reinforce the spelling of the most commonly used words.  It is an excellent resource.  You can use it, put it aside if you need to, and come back to it at any time without penalty, because it is at its core just copywork. It is appropriate for a wide range of ages.  In these respects, it is a very good value.

    I use and love the Queen’s Language Lessons, but they do not address spelling much at all.  They will cover capitalization and rules like that, which is part of spelling I guess, and there is copywork included, but not systematic spelling.  I think these books are great for a family new to homeschooling for several reasons:  they are economical, they are ready to use with no parent prep, they are very different from any schoolwork that they will be used to from pub school, so are novel to the child, they have painless and short lessons, they allow you to see progression and get a sense of fulfillment from getting the book filled up, Oh I am sure I could go on with more reasons LOL but I do love these books. We used Lang. Lessons for the Elem Child for 5th grade and have a bit more to go in the book.

    Now I am sorry this is long – but I want to make one more note here related to my poor speller -10 yo dd.  Just in the past few weeks she has had somewhat of a spelling breakthrough – she has started caring whether or not the word is spelled right!  In the past she would just write and write and however the words got down on paper she was satisfied.  Now she is asking for help. She is seeing that there is an error and trying to correct it.  So wonderful!  I wonder if this is also part of finally getting free of “school” thinking and starting to take ownership of her own ideas and work. You mentioned deschooling, this is so important!  Expect to go through some stages and changes next year!  

    Although we have homeschooled for two years, they weren’t consecutive.  I am really looking forward to next year when, for the first time, we will be starting the year in the homeschooling groove!

    OK I hope any of that helped!



    My daughter has an auditory processing disorder, and it makes her do things very similar to what you describe your son doing.  She hated spelling and all the tests that went with it in public school.  She had terrible spelling and handwriting.  I eased her into copywork for the handwriting, and then she decided to try the Spelling Wisdom books from this SCM site.  (She has been watching her sister do it and wanted to try it).  I wasn’t sure that she was ready, but she loves it.  It is so non-threating to her (grades) and goes at her pace.  She has made great improvement this last month.  I was going to only have her do one a week, but she wants to do at least two.  And she is.  She practices it by copy working it, and we practice the words she thinks that she won’t know.  With a day or so of this, she does the dictation.  By doing a lot of reading and the copywork, she is starting to realize that she isn’t spelling well and is working at correcting her own mistakes. 

    By combining the copywork and dictation, we put meaning into the copywork.  She doesn’t just have to know how to spell, she has to make the letters correctly and use the proper puctuation in order to “pass” to next one.  When she gets it right I put a smiley face next to her passage.  She challenges herself using this system.

    I was relieved that it was so simple for us, and not a lot of money.  =)  My 5th grade daughter (the other one) has repeatedly told me that she loves doing spelling this way and has come to me occasionally to tell me that she did this quote from this book in her dictation.

    I have not had to use the All About Spelling program or the Queen’s program because the copywork and dictation from the Spelling Wisdom have been very gentle and good for us. 

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