new to scm & copywork, need help

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  • Alicia Bell

    Hi my name is Alicia and I recently put my three children ages 14, 12 & 10 into Spelling Wisdom & Using Language well book 1.  All three started doing copywork last September after spending well there whole education using a traditional curriculum supplier.  My 14 year old would complain and do anything possible to avoid a lesson ( he finished grade 4. CLE), my 12 year old was used to it (finished grade 5 CLE.), but I wasnt convinced she could write a scentence with capital and period, and my 10 year old(finished grade 4 CLE) who started school very enthusiastically hated it and was failing.  Copywork seemed like a ticket out of my language arts jungle.  So I was using copywork from their favorite books and such at the beginning of this year, but I was concerned I wasnt giving them enough variety, composition and was not comfortable just doing stuff without being told what to do by someone who understood teaching a little bit better than me.  So I ordered Spelling Wisdom & Using Language Well.  My 14 year old is at about lesson 20, 10 year old is about lesson 21 & 12 year old is on lesson 55 apprx.  Now that my 12 year old is getting to have to write more than 2 scentences shes starting to get grumpy again.  Is this something I just have to put my foot down about, which I am presently doing… or am I going too fast, or maybe something else…  They just started in January and were only doing a couple sentences when I started them in September.  Thank you for any thing you might know and could pass along.

    Karen Smith

    All of your children are still in the transcription portion of Using Language Well and Spelling Wisdom.

    Copywork is copying directly below the passage being copied. A student doing copywork usually still needs to look at what is being copied for each letter or two.

    Transcription is copying to a separate sheet of paper the passage being copied. A student doing transcription will “take a picture” of a word or two or more from the passage, then writes those words without having to look back at the passage to check the spelling.

    For dictation, the student studies the entire passage until she knows how to spell all the words in it, then has the passage dictated to her a phrase at a time as she writes it on a separate sheet of paper. With dictation the student may not look back at the passage to check the spelling of words during the dictating part of the lesson.

    Are you having your children follow the directions in the Using Language Well book, so they are doing transcription?

    Three options for you:

    1. Allow your children to transcribe the passage over a couple of days. You should only be doing 2 exercises of Spelling Wisdom/Using Language Well each week, so spreading the writing out over a couple of days is fine.

    2. Select a portion of the passage for your children to transcribe. If you choose this option, make sure the selection contains any words, or at least some of the words, that your student may not know how to spell. If your student knows how to spell all of the words in the passage, select an appropriate amount from the passage for each child’s ability.

    3. Even though your children are in the transcription portion of Using Language Well, if they show a readiness to move to dictation, then you can have them study the passage and when they are ready dictate it to them. You will find steps for preparing for dictation around exercise 71 in Using Language Well Book 1. The amount to dictate for each passage varies by the level of Spelling Wisdom and the student’s ability. There is a guide as to how much to dictate on this page

    Your children should be required to do whatever amount of work you know they are capable of doing. If you think that the length of the passage being transcribed is well within your child’s capability, then, yes, she should be required to transcribe the whole passage. If you think that the length of the passage is too long, then have your daughter transcribe a portion of the passage you think is within her capability. As she becomes used to writing a certain length, increase it a bit.



    Alicia Bell

    They were doing transcription… I guess I don’t remember new definitions that easily…

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