On his own, my 6 year-old son has made steady strides in reading and would happily tackle “Busy Times” (Pathway Readers) with me. Because we did not do Charlotte Mason’s approach for learning to read (letter tiles, etc.), my son has not practiced nor is able to spell a lot of the words that he can read. He does well with writing most of the alphabet but does consistenly write some letters backwards (e.g. “s,” “j,” etc.). I am not sure how best to move him forward. Should I use “From Words to Books” so he both has that very beginning spelling practice and catches up on any words he missed on his own? Or, should I just move forward with reading “Busy Times” with him and assume his spelling will catch up if start at the beginning again with “Delightful Handwriting”? (I did try him with “Copybook Reader 1” but it was taking him multiple days to complete a page. Also, the first passage also had the word “beautiful” in it which, at this point, he could never just look at then write from memory. I am definitely open to counsel, though!) Thank you for your help!
6 is quite young to be too concerned about spelling.
Copy work will help a lot with spelling, but spelling does take time as it is a different skill than reading.
At 6 my children were copying just a few words at a time, so yes it would take a few days to finish a page. They are not writing from memory, that step is transcription. They start with simply copying and then it naturally transitions to transcription as their skills grow. For my children that was in 3rd-4th grade depending on the student. After transcription we moved to dictation.
I also remembered that the SCM series on language art might also be helpful. It is different than traditional methods, but works 🙂
The natural progression of language arts video on the link below helped me understand the progression and adjust my expectations when my children were younger. It is hard to know what to expect when, especially when others share what their children are doing.
Thank you very much for this feedback! I guess I’m a bit confused with the requirement for copywork. I’d thought that a child was to study a word then try to write it neatly from memory. This process would be repeated for every word in a passage as needed. I didn’t think copying words letter-by-letter was “allowed.” But that word “beautiful” in the first passage of the Copybook Reader 1 surprised me. It is quite beyond my son’s ability. In general, then, should I have him use whole word visualization but ask for letter-by-letter visualization with the “huge” words? Doing a mix won’t undermine the general method? Thanks for helping a newbie out!
It starts out copying letter by letter, or maybe two letters at time, then as that becomes easier it naturally moves into transcription which is word by word, then a few words at a time until they move into dictation, for many children around 4th grade.
It should be a text that the child can read though, so not selecting a difficult passage.
For a longer word , such as beautiful, my children would likely group 2 letters at a time “be-au-ti-fu-l” looking back and forth to spell it correctly. An easier word like “the” could be copied easier.
I know for my kids that did not defeat the purpose of copy work, but I will admit I personally don’t visualize words, that never worked for me, I just have to sound out and start:)
I find that what helps spelling a lot is also reading aloud. The process of seeing the word and saying aloud really helps words “imprint” for future spelling vs reading to self. I am not a natural speller, I have always struggled, but reading aloud as an adult has been the biggest help for my personal spelling. I was always an avid reader, and even able to read at high levels when young but could not spell. Reading outloud forces me to slow down and really see the word. Do not overdo reading aloud, it is hard work, but keep up with it even as your student gets older.
Patience and maturity go a long way with language arts. There are so many pieces of the puzzle, and some pieces take a little longer to master.
Thank you! You have been very, very helpful and encouraging. Your detail has been greatly appreciated, and I will be following your counsel. Thank you, too, for sharing your personal history of spelling struggles and the importance of reading aloud. As a natural speller and silent reader, I never would have put those pieces together. Your “bag of tricks” is invaluable! Thank you for sharing, once again!
Happy to help in any way I can. Homeschooling can feel like a lot of trial and error, but I find patience and grace goes a long way. Try not to get caught up in what others are doing and do what works for you and your student. There is an easy temptation to try to do things “perfectly” but there is no perfect and what I have found over the last 9 years of HSing with 3 kids is that what works for one might not work with another in the same way, so back to patience and grace for you and your children. 🙂
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