Daniel Boone has always had a harder time with reading and now that he is reading he is really having a hard time with spelling. I'm looked into many different programs only to be frustrated after a few lessons. So, off to my handy-dandy Charlotte Mason books I go. I only wish I had read them more in depth much earlier. I've been muddling through CM for the past 2 years. Now, I see I have so much to learn!!! Here is what our dear Charlotte Mason had to say about teaching spelling in her book Home Education, Training and education children under nine (from http://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/1_5c.html).
"The Rationale of Spelling.––But the fact is, the gift of spelling depends upon the power the eye possesses to 'take' (in a photographic sense) a detailed picture of a word; and this is a power and habit which must be cultivated in children from the first. When they have read 'cat,' they must be encouraged to see the word with their eyes shut, and the same habit will enable them to image 'Thermopylae.' This picturing of words upon the retina appears to be to be the only royal road to spelling; an error once made and corrected leads to fearful doubt for the rest of one's life, as to which was the wrong way and which is the right. Most of us are haunted by some doubt as to whether 'balance,' for instance, should have one 'l' or two; and the doubt is born of a correction. Once the eye sees a misspelt word, that image remains; and if there is also the image of the word rightly spelt, we are perplexed as to which is which. Now we see why there could not be a more ingenious way of making bad spellers than 'dictation' as it is commonly taught. Every misspelt word is in image in the child's brain not to be obliterated by the right spelling. It becomes, therefore, the teacher's business to prevent false spelling, and, if an error has been made, to hide it away, as it were, so that the impression may not become fixed.
Steps of a Dictation Lesson.––Dictation lessons, conducted in some such way as the following, usually result in good spelling. A child of eight or nine prepares a paragraph, older children a page, or two or
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three pages. The child prepares by himself, by looking at the word he is not sure of, and then seeing it with his eyes shut. Before he begins, the teacher asks what words he thinks will need his attention. He generally knows, but the teacher may point out any word likely to be a cause of stumbling. He lets his teacher know when he is ready. The teacher asks if there are any words he is not sure of. These she puts, one by one, on the blackboard, letting the child look till he has a picture, and then rubbing the word out. If anyone is still doubtful he should be called to put the word he is not sure of on the board, the teacher watching to rub out the word when a wrong letter begins to appear, and again helping the child to get a mental picture. Then the teacher gives out the dictation, clause by clause, each clause repeated once. She dictates with a view to the pointing, which the children are expected to put in as they write; but they must not be told 'comma,' 'semicolon,' etc. After the sort of preparation I have described, which takes ten minutes or less, there is rarely an error in spelling. If there be, it is well worth while for the teacher to be on the watch with slips of stamp-paper to put over the wrong word, that its image may be erased as far as possible. At the end of the lesson, the child should again study the wrong word in his book until he says he is sure of, and should write it correctly on the stamp-paper.
A lesson of this kind secures the hearty co-operation of children, who feel they take their due part in it; and it also prepares them for the second condition of good spelling, which is––much reading combined with the habit of imaging the words as they are read.
Illiterate spelling is usually a sign of sparse read-
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ing; but, sometimes, of hasty reading without the habit of seeing the words that are skimmed over.
Spelling must not be lost sight of in the children's other studies, though they should not be teased to spell. It is well to write a difficult proper name, for example, on the blackboard in the course of history or geography readings, rubbing the word out when the children say they can see it. The whole secret of spelling lies in the habit of visualising words from memory, and children must be trained to visualise in the course of their reading. They enjoy this way of learning to spell."
What terrible habits could we have missed had I only read this earlier. I decided that sine my children were too young for dictation, that I didn't need to read this part yet. There is so much wisdom in CM's books that I get overwhelmed. I hope other coming after me will not make this same mistake. My poor boy has so many bad spelling habits that we need to work on and most of them could've been avoided. I am going to begin a new spelling curriculum for him tomorrow. I will print a sentence for him to study from a poem that he's learning. I will give him 5- 10 minutes to study it. Then ask him which words he thinks he will have a hard time. We will go to the write on board and he will write those words on the board. I will stand right there to quickly erase the words that aren't spelled correctly and allow him to go back and study the sentence again. Then he will come back and write the word correctly. Once he feels that he has the words correct in his mind, I will have him write on the board the sentence. I know his handwriting may not be the best on the board as it would be on his paper, but it's worth it in order to be able to quickly erase those incorrect words. I need to help him visualize the correct spelling and to forget or erase away the misspelled words from his mind. Happy Spelling!!
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I am a work in progress. I am striving to be an encouraging wife, a fun and loving homeschool mother, to learn to homestead, organize, and adapt. I desire to see life more like Jesus and less like the world's view of what's important. I praise God that I am saved by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone! Cuz' I CAN'T DO IT ON MY OWN!