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Spelling & Writing (4th & 6th ) questions for newbie


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We are very new to homeschooling (September) and since bringing my children home I have faced the fact that my children (4th & 6th) grade have had no real writing training in P.S. And I have one who is a gifted speller and one who is not. We have tried R&S spelling but as they don't have a strong understanding of phonetic rules, it was not a good fit. Right now we are using WW vocabulary and just testing spelling on those words. But my poor speller (4 grade DD) is able to memorize words easily. But when she writes creatively her spelling of even simple words is terrible. When she puts more thought into spelling, I see an improvement in her spelling skills. But I wonder if we need to get a better grasp on spelling for her with something like All About Spelling.


For writing instruction, I am open to suggestions. Before I made the plunge I am working with them on some basic paragraph instruction. My sensitive daughter cannot stand to have me mark up her creative work with all the spelling and grammatical errors. Any suggestions for handling this?


I have a 5 year old that I am doing preschool work with so I am open to suggestions on helping my children be more independant AND how to get my extremely SSSSLLLLLLOOOOOOWWWW 6th grader to move along quicker with his work.

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We tried several spelling programs for my 3rd grader, and finally stumbled upon All About Spelling. While your poor speller will probably fly through the first lessons (letter sounds, etc.,) I've found that this program builds upon itself better than any of the previous ones we've used. The leaps and bounds she's made not only in her spelling but reading as well have been astonishing. I can't recommend it enough.


As for writing, we've used the Writing With Ease series, which is wonderful literary based learning, and gives a strong foundation. I think that book 4 can easily be adapted for your 6th grader, to help with the fundamentals before you move on.


I know TWTM also recommends 'Writing Strands' and the 'Institue for Excellence in Writing' series (which covers elementry through high school) and I've heard really positive feedback about those programs as well.


As for helping the kids become more independent, the best advice I can give is to have curriculum that they really enjoy. When my kids are trying to read ahead or don't want to stop, I know we're golden. It just takes time, and sometimes a bit more monetary investment if you're able, and if you're not, investing the time to be creative.

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For spelling, have you considered moving back a level or two in R&S spelling? That would make the work easier and let them learn the rules as they go.


For a child getting upset at writing corrections, don't correct her creative writing. Let that writing just flow where it will. Do start giving her writing assignments about what she's learning in history, science or even literature, and correct those. If you want a curricula for the older one, you might consider Writing With Skill.


My children weren't/aren't very independent at 4th and 6th grades. Even for subjects they could complete on their own I had to keep them at my elbow or in the same room at a minimum. If I only had two I'd start with the mom dependent lessons of one, then when they're to a part like just finishing the math lesson, I'd call the other DC to my other elbow and get their mom lessons started. I can keep the first one on target if they're distracted, and help if they get stuck, while getting the next one rolling.

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Spalding for all. You can use it for your little one because it teaches children to read by teaching them to spell, and it includes penmanship, capitalization and punctuation, and simple writing. You can use it with your 9yo dd, as well; she'll just move ahead more quickly than the 5yo, and she'll keep a spelling notebook.


You might try copywork with your 9yo before giving her assignments to do on her own, while you do Spalding to improve her spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.


You might look at Writing Strands (Level 3). Also, Understanding Writing is quite good, and you can use it with all your dc; the down side is that it is pretty teacher directed, which may (or may not) be an issue. Bot WS and UW are *very* good.

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I have tried many things with my DS8 (and we have only been homeschooling a year) who is an excellent and proficient reader but a terrible speller.


We have tried:

R&S Spelling by Sound and Structure

All About Spelling levels 1-3

Spelling Power

Spelling Wisdom

Sequential Spelling


We tried doing ETC phonics to help.


What I think I am finally realizing is that while these programs may be great he does not have a clear understanding of the SOUNDS that letters make. He learned the "whole word/language" to reading and did not have a good phonetic start. He kind of guesses and will memorize a list and then forget them once they are tested.


So, I am going to go to the source of the problem and try to do some heavy duty re-wiring. :) I am going to try and implement the Spalding method using The Writing Road to Reading manual.


I will let you know how it goes but after reading it so far it really makes sense to me. It does seem teacher intensive but this is an area that I suppose HAS to be teacher intensive if I ever want him to be able to SOUND things out and understand WHY we spell the way we do. I am hopeful. So, whilst I cannot offer you a BEEN THERE DONE THAT AND HERE IS WHAT WORKS solution. I can say I understand the struggle with spelling and I think the solution sometimes lies in getting to the root of the problem.




Also, even if you don't use the Spalding method, I am super glad I have read the manual The Writing Road to Reading because it does clarify a lot of things for me and a lot of these "off shoots" (AAS and Logic of English) are from Spalding or Orton Gillingham. So, I feel as if I am getting information from the horse's mouth. It's been good to read although it was intimidating at first glance. Ellie is of great help and a good resource for further implementation of the methodology.

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