On the Home School Front
Wrapping Things Up
As any good teacher would, I like to look back over the year and see what worked well and what didn't with my current students. This year, Julia who technically is only in Kindergarten by age, will complete First Grade curriculum. I was very excited to teach her Spelling because A. I am a great speller. B. I know it is a skill she will need as she gets older. C. I knew it would help her vocabulary to grow. D. I was excited to watch her reading skills increase. E. Did I mention I am a good speller?
The first couple of lists went great! She was getting 100's like nobody's business. But as the lists grew longer and the words got bigger she really started to struggle, and the first time she didn't get a 100 on her test, she cried. It broke my heart to see how hard she was on herself. It reminded me of me.
So for a few weeks I stopped testing her on Fridays. I would just do a quick oral test to get an idea if she basically could master the list. It took the pressure off and she wasn't so concerned about seeing that 100 on top of her paper. My thing as a teacher is I want to stretch my students but I don't want to break them! I didn't want her to get discouraged so I felt my new plan was working.
Then I started focusing even more on her reading skills. I found that once she really mastered the beauty and smoothness of phonetics and special sounds and reading really really well, so much so that she was animated when she read, I saw that her love of writing and care about spelling really grew. She wanted to write. She wanted to spell things correctly. It actually got annoying to some degree because this kid wanted me to spell while I was in the shower, driving in the car, making dinner. It really became her passion. And do you think it stopped her when I said, "You have to wait, or sound it out?" Not. At. All. I love how first graders spell things phonetically and it is completely wrong but totally understandable.
She wrote my sister in law a "Congradulashin" card on her twins and said, "I know you will be a grate mom."
Just recently the past few weeks we went back to the traditional written testing towards the end of the week for a grade to see if she mastered the list and Julia has been getting only 1 wrong or a 100. I've been so proud of her. She has done so well. I wanted to share our success tips in spelling.
Success in Spelling
1. Practice at least once a day orally. Say the word, spell the word, say the word. Have your child say their words to their pet. Have them say it to a sibling. Have them say it to Daddy when he gets home. Have them say it in a mirror (Julia loves the mirror practice!)
2. Practice every other day on paper. You can be creative and write sentences, do ABC order, do cursive handwriting, use chocolate pudding or colored markers. Make it fun! But practice!
3. Pre-test on Wednesday orally and written and study from the mistakes. This is what really helped Julia to do well by Thursday/Friday depending on our test schedule because she could zero in on the hard words.
4. On Tuesday write each word on index cards and carry them everywhere, to the store, in the car, to the park, and have them "practice" by themselves. Visual learners need to see the words more often! This also teaches your child how to study on their own at a young age.
5. Write sentences OR orally make up a story using all or some of the spelling words to discuss meaning of the words. Julia and I loved making up silly sentences or stories. And she also loved illustrating them!
Mommy is so proud of you Julia. I loved learning and studying with you!