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S/O....Can I make AAS more like Apples and Pears? (Build in your own review, etc.?)

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Hi Everyone,


I recently posted another thread about my 8-year-old daughter's spelling struggles.   


Long story short (Background):   She went through AAS levels 1-2 and parts of 3 before I gave up because things were not sticking.  No matter how much I practiced and reviewed those words, she was still spelling things incorrectly.  I switched her over to Apples and Pears and finally things started to stick!  HOWEVER, after using apples and pears for awhile, she started to struggle with that too.   Just recently she "failed" her mastery tests and we are supposed to go back and repeat the last 10 previous lessons.


I went back today and started erasing those previous 10 lessons from our Apples and Pears notebook.    I saw that the first page is dated February.  So it has taken us from February to the end of April to complete those 10 lessons....working everyday for 20 minutes.  Ugh.   We took one week off in that time, but still---- That is a lot of work to just erase away!   I came to the conclusion that I just cannot repeat all of those same lessons again without losing my mind.   I can't do it and stay sane.   Plus, I feel like it is sort of demoralizing for my daughter to repeat ALL of that work again.  I gave it a shot today, and she was just so bummed out having to write over all of that erased work.     I know that may not make sense logically, but your attitude about a subject really makes a difference in my opinion.   I know I *could* try to reproduce the lessons on a whiteboard, but I am still feeling bummed out about repeating the same stuff.  ;)   SO---I've ruled out repeating those lessons in Apples and Pears like the teacher's guide suggests.   


A couple of people suggested in my previous post that I just move forward in Apples and Pears and review her trouble words.   The thing is, I really think she needs to hang out at this "level" in spelling before moving forward.   I think moving forward in the Apples and Pears book would be a bad choice for her.  Her foundation isn't strong enough to teach *more* stuff.      I might do this later, but for now, I need to find a different way to give her mastery on the material.


SO, I am considering switching back to AAS for awhile.   Why?  Well, for one thing, I already own the books.   But more importantly,    I honestly feel like AAS is a better program.   I feel like it is much more systematic and logical than apples and pears.   I feel like it teaches things in smaller baby steps.   I feel like it would review some phonics information that my daughter is weak with.  She sometimes can't remember what sounds certain letter tiles would make (example oi vs ow, etc.)     And even if the "rules" don't transfer over to her writing, I feel like it is good to know those rules in general.


 I am thinking I could start her towards the end of level 2 of AAS.   


When I think about it, Apples and Pears is not rocket science.   It isn't explicitly teaching anything special...it just builds in a LOT of practice.   That seems to be the "magic" behind the program.   It seems to have a LOT more built in practice and review than AAS.  


1)  It has them copy the words A LOT.   2) It has little puzzles and games that help with visual memory, etc.   3) It has them do little fill in the blank exercises that practices segmenting, etc.    


So this is my long-winded way of asking for ideas on how I can make AAS more like Apples and Pears.   I'm trying to come up with a little 20-minute spelling routine that would build in more Apples and Pears like practice.   Even if it involves me trying to make worksheets/puzzles from the AAS word lists and sentences.   


Edited by TheAttachedMama
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I think it is going to require incorporating all of the visual discrimination exercises in A&P.  Based on your description of your dd, have you thought about dyslexia?  AAS was not at all helpful for my dyslexics.  They attempted to spell by rules and it just doesn't work.  SRA Spelling through Morphographs or Spelling Mastery might be other options to consider.



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Yes, both my two older kids are dyslexic.  Both kids are very different though in how I have to teach them.


My oldest really struggled with learning to read.  REALLY.  However, he could always spell well.   He always said that spelling was way easier than reading.   In fact, he could spell words that he later wasn't able to read in books.   Very confusing.   AAS worked wonders with him.   He actually internalizes the rules and it comes through with his writing.   He would not do well with Apples and Pears.


My middle daughter learned to read more like what I "imagine" teaching a typical kid to read feels like.   It wasn't easy, but it wasn't impossible...you know?   She reads on grade level.  However, spelling is much more difficult.   She spells more like a typical person with dyslexia spells.   

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I don't really love the idea of switching back and forth....ten lessons isn't that much.  If you were doing it every school day, at the full intended pace, it would be ....ten school days.  (I know, I amaze you with my math!)


That said, 8 yo is young and i can see why you do less per day.  At half pace, the 20 school days is really a month of spelling.


I am just saying, whichever one you saw the MOST success with, that whatever she did learn, crossed over into her writing and she retained, then you need to pick that and stick with it AND use it as intended. ((Not referring to the half pace here- I'm referring to the fact that you should indeed erase and go back)) In my experience, the 20 years that these people spent teaching literally thousands of students to spell before and after writing this curriculum, goes into their work.  If they say, erase and re-do...then I think it might help to erase and re-do (not being snarky!  I just have found that sticking with things long term works best.)


Now all that said, what you need is some time off. She's only 8, and this program can work for years to come.  I personally would say, take two or even three weeks off of spelling altogether and then when you go back to it, do erase and re-do those ten lessons.  She needs the practice and you will thank yourself when you have a sixth grader who can (mostly) spell!!!  It is very frustrating and demoralizing to have every other word incorrect when writing essays and letters and such....she will not even remember these ten lessons she had to re-do!!


However, breaks are always good when you feel this sick of something.

Edited by Calming Tea
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FWIW, AttachedMama, I never did a complete A&P lesson in a single day even when I was using it with a 6th grader (who, btw, placed only 1/2 way through A when I gave him the placement test, just to give you an idea of just how much dyslexics can struggle with spelling.)   He needed way more time with the words and lessons.  

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^^ Yes, my 11 year old didn't even place at all. She had to start from the beginning.  SHe had GREAT success doing one entire lesson every day, so we stuck with that.  However every child is an individual.  If you slow it down to half a lesson per day, that's fine.  BUT you need to do it five days per week except holidays.  And, you also need to follow the instructions and not be afraid to go back.  


OTOH of course if you really think AAS was better than use that instead.  

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I have a child in AAS 6 and another child in AAS 3. I was considering trying another program, just because I needed something that was less time intensive for me ... and I felt like my children needed to SEE the words more that write them after I tell them the word. But instead of switching, I decided to experiment with tweaking this program to work for us. 


This is what I'm doing: 


I've put a sticky note on the lesson book page that says this:

1. Write List Words.

2. Write 4 Dictation Sentences (Just copying them ... I put a post it above the first sentence they need to do and below the last sentence they need to do)

3. Write 2 sentences of your own using any 2 words from the list. 


They are able to do this on their own, and they are actually retaining the words better. 


I spend time the first day of the lesson, teaching the new concept. I then give them a little quick little "quiz" after 3-4 days of independent work to make sure they have the words down. If there are any words that they haven't mastered, I write them on a post-it note and place it at the bottom of the subsequent lesson's word list, and they copy those words for another week. 


I don't think this is an ideal way to use AAS, but I am teaching 5 children and my time is limited. I do wish I had some way to easily add in some puzzles or "fill-the-word-in-the-sentence" type of activities, but I haven't figured out a way to do that. 


I hope this helps! 




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