Topic | Advice Please/New

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  • Katrina


    My name is KatrinaMichelle. We are new to CM. I have two DC, fifth grade and third grade. I’m changing things mid year. We’ve always homeschooled with Traditional, and some Classical. We are tired of worksheets and textbooks. For the remainder of this year I would like to add in Real books, begin narration orally, copywork, and nature walks. I want to be fully CM in the fall for our New school year.

    I have purchased SCM Genesis-Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt, Individual Studies for 6th, and 4th. I’m still reading and learning myself. I have also puchased Spelling Wisom 1,2 and Using Language Well 1,2. I would like to begin with Spelling Wisdom 1 and Using Language well 1 this year. Has anyone used these books with fifth and third grade at same time? Should I only use it this year with my fifth grader and choose something else for my third grader to use as copywork?

    Any advice will be appreciated.



    Karen Smith

    Each Spelling Wisdom book and Using Language Well book takes about two years to complete if you start at the beginning of the books and follow our recommended schedule for using them. Your third grade student would start at the beginning of Spelling Wisdom 1 and Using Language Well 1. The first half of Using Language Well 1 starts with what is called transcription instead of dictation, gradually moving the student to dictation.

    Transcription is copywork in which the student reads a phrase of a sentence or passage, then writes that phrase on a separate sheet of paper without having to look back at the sentence being copied. After writing that phrase he looks back at the sentence being copied and reads the next phrase to be copied, then writes that phrase. Transcription is the transition step between copywork (copying letter by letter or word by word) to dictation (studying a sentence or passage, then writing it while it is dictated without looking at the sentence or passage).

    If your fifth grade student is an average speller, he would start either about halfway through Spelling Wisdom 1 and Using Language Well 1, or at the beginning of Spelling Wisdom 2 and Using Language Well 2. If you think it would benefit him to complete all of Using Language Well 1 so that he gets all the instruction on capitalization, punctuation, and usage, then simply set Spelling Wisdom aside for awhile and skip the transcription and dictation portions of Using Language Well until he catches up to where he would be placed in Spelling Wisdom, then complete the entire exercises as instructed.

    You may find this video helpful in understanding the progression of language arts using Charlotte Mason’s methods.

    This video explains how to do dictation.

    We have several articles and series of articles on language arts in the articles by topic category in our Learning Library that may be helpful to you. An article from our series on Language Arts explains copywork, transcription, and dictation in more detail than I did above.


    Thank you so much for your reply. You have been very helpful!



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