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I keep flip-flopping between AAS and R&S. Advice?


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My son is not a natural speller, which I discovered while using ABeka's 1st grade spelling. We switched to AAS and used levels 1-4. Then this year in 4th grade, I have him using R&S's grade 4 spelling. I needed something independent, since I have many little ones who need my time as well, and I just didn't feel I had time to devote to his spelling as well with something so teacher-intensive as AAS. However, I loved AAS and felt it worked for him.

 

He has requested to go back to it. He doesn't like R&S so much. I don't feel he's retaining the words that he had a problem with. Most of the words he already knew, but if he didn't know them, he often still misses them. I don't like how R&S covers so many rules in one lesson, and wish they would be more focused like AAS. DS often makes mistakes in the workbook, mainly because he doesn't read directions well. So I wonder if I should keep him with it, just to help him learn to follow directions carefully and use logic! I'm really not sure if I should go back to AAS or not. It seemed to help his spelling more, but I really fear I don't have the time, and wonder if I should just stick with R&S, which is more efficient, cheaper, and still thorough (and he's not missing a lot of words on the tests, just one or two about every third week.)

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If he is asking to return to AAS, I'd probably do it. My natural spellers didn't need it, but DD7 is benefiting so much from AAS. She'd never really be successful with R & S like her older sisters were. It's easy for me to go along with this, though, because she's my youngest! Ymmv.

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I'm not sure how you use AAS, but you may be able to teach the initial lesson one day and then record yourself reading the words and sentences for the other days and let him listen to them with headphones as he writes. You can check his work later.

 

You might check to see whether there is some kind of spelling flashcard app that would allow you to type in word lists where the app reads to words to your child instead of showing the words on screen.

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I would also return to AAS and just revamp how you use it so it works better for your family.  You can work on his logic and following directions separately, if need be.  My middle kiddo is a natural speller, but we still work on AAS at the pace of 1 lesson per week.  Monday I teach the lesson, which is our longest day.  She doesn't need the tiles, so we just use a Boogie Board.  Tuesday I read her the words and she writes them, same for Wednesday.  Thursday she writes the words again and I dictate a few sentences and the writing station words.  Friday she writes the words again and does a couple more dictation sentences.  As another poster said, you might find it easier to make an audio of you reading the words and sentences.  This would make it more independent from Tues-Friday. 

 

We could very well move at a more accelerated pace with her, but I find the 1 lesson a week really cements things for her and it carries over to her other writing very well. 

 

 

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We just finished AAS 5, and I did not like it as well. A lot of the book seemed to be "look at this word, and help your kid figure out how to spell it." I am going to R&S this next year for my son because of that as well as I like the idea of him spending more time on a word list than what we were doing. He is the kid that likes to figure out the easiest way to do work, so he would memorize the rule in order to pass the spelling list just to move on. With R&S, though, I am going to incorporate the AAS word review box by making flash cards of all the words and then reviewing previously learned words each week with him. I hope some of this helps!

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I'm not sure how you use AAS, but you may be able to teach the initial lesson one day and then record yourself reading the words and sentences for the other days and let him listen to them with headphones as he writes. You can check his work later.

 

You might check to see whether there is some kind of spelling flashcard app that would allow you to type in word lists where the app reads to words to your child instead of showing the words on screen.

I wonder if Spelling City would do this. I've never used it. I did wonder if I could just get away with basically teaching the lesson one day and testing another, and leaving him to do exercises on his own th spelling city or just with my pre-recordings, in other words, make AAS more independent. I just wasn't sure how well that would work, and it would still take lots of prep time for me.

 

As a side note, I just spoke with my husband, and he suggests sticking with R&S for my sanity's sake. He says it's good enough and not to base my decision to much on what my son wants. 😃 then I spoke with my son, and he just seems concerned at the workbook exercises in R&S and the amount of time they take him, especially when he gets frustrated at not figuring out the correct answers occasionally. I had been trying to get him to pay attention to the spelling rules, so I made him copy the rules (3-4 per week); I asked if he'd feel better if we cut that portion of his spelling jobs, and he was much relieved.

 

Anyway, I'm still thinking about whether or not I should go back to AAS. I'm trying to juggle through the ideas of simplifying and "teaching from rest," but also having several children to train and teach, and wanting to do "rigorous" academics with each one. In the back of this question of AAS vs. R&S is a question of how homeschoolers with large families manage everything. I'm wondering if there are times when you sacrifice "ideal" for the sake of saving time and getting other things done. Sometimes I think of switching curricula in other subjects, but the learning curve for me to teach it takes time and stress as well, so it has to be worth it, kwim?

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I'm trying to juggle through the ideas of simplifying and "teaching from rest," but also having several children to train and teach, and wanting to do "rigorous" academics with each one. In the back of this question of AAS vs. R&S is a question of how homeschoolers with large families manage everything. I'm wondering if there are times when you sacrifice "ideal" for the sake of saving time and getting other things done. Sometimes I think of switching curricula in other subjects, but the learning curve for me to teach it takes time and stress as well, so it has to be worth it, kwim?

Yes. :-) I am only teaching 3 out of my 5 next year (2 are too young) and I have had to let go of what I thought our homeschool would look like not just because of the time I have to teach, but also because of my children's personalities. I am moving my soon-to-be 6th grader to a more independent curriculum and slightly straying from the 4 year rotation. I combine when possible, delay grammar until 3rd, and just aim for exposure in Latin. I am also starting to use workbooks more than I ever thought that I would. It's not my ideal, but I know it's still a lot better for our family than anything else would be!

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My son is not a natural speller, which I discovered while using ABeka's 1st grade spelling. We switched to AAS and used levels 1-4. Then this year in 4th grade, I have him using R&S's grade 4 spelling. I needed something independent, since I have many little ones who need my time as well, and I just didn't feel I had time to devote to his spelling as well with something so teacher-intensive as AAS. However, I loved AAS and felt it worked for him.

 

He has requested to go back to it. He doesn't like R&S so much. I don't feel he's retaining the words that he had a problem with. Most of the words he already knew, but if he didn't know them, he often still misses them. I don't like how R&S covers so many rules in one lesson, and wish they would be more focused like AAS. DS often makes mistakes in the workbook, mainly because he doesn't read directions well. So I wonder if I should keep him with it, just to help him learn to follow directions carefully and use logic! I'm really not sure if I should go back to AAS or not. It seemed to help his spelling more, but I really fear I don't have the time, and wonder if I should just stick with R&S, which is more efficient, cheaper, and still thorough (and he's not missing a lot of words on the tests, just one or two about every third week.)

 

Keep doing Spelling by Sound and Structure. The exercises are more important than the spelling list. And as you say, you need something that is more independent.

 

There are things about SSS that make me twitch, because they mess with my Spalding sensibilities, but it's a good alternative, mainly because of the exercises, not necessarily the spelling rules that are presented in the first section.

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I wonder if I would feel better about sticking with R&S if I had some sort of handbook for spelling that would help me teach the rules for spelling more coherently. I look at the samples for AAS levels 5-6 and wish I could teach that stuff to my kids without having to buy 6 levels of AAS. (things like the two clues for when to use the -ance ending, clues for /shun/ words, words ending in SS, etc.)

 

Is there a handbook for spelling that includes things like this, very specific spelling helps, beyond just when to use c, k, or ck in a word iykwim?

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Thanks! I just looked it up on Amazon and two other books were suggested: Uncovering the Logic of English by the author of LOE, and The Complete Guide to English Spelling Rules. The ABCs book was 300-something pages, the LOE books was 200-something, and the latter was 142 pages. The reviews of The ABCs book mentioned that it is sorted by letters alphabetically, including all of the sounds the letters make, etc. However, in spelling, often you need to know all the spellings of a different sound. So I wondered if it would be helpful, or if the Complete Guide to Spelling Rules might be more helpful. Has anyone used these? As far as the LOE book, that also looked good, but a reviewer mentioned something like Eide doesn't say when to use the ci, ti, or si spellings, just that they can all say "sh." I'm not sure if that's true or not, and I recognize that there aren't explanations for everything in spelling, and AAS does that sometimes as well, but IF there are clues to how to choose certain spellings, I want a book for that; not so much for phonics, or for the importance of phonics in today's world (of which I'm already convinced.) Has anyone used these? Thanks!

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  • 7 months later...

I had the same issue with my 3rd grade DD this year. We did AAS last year and she loved it but to save some intensive mom-teaching time this year I switched her to R & S. Big mistake. She hated the exercises and retained very little. The style is just too dry for her and too scattered. She is not a natural speller and needs the concentration on one rule at a time. Needless to say, I am back to AAS and all is shiny here again.

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I know that this is waaaay old (I hope that it's still okay to reply), I'm just wondering what you ended up doing.  I'm in the same boat right now (started with AAS, switched to R&S, and trying to decide if I should go back).  :)

 

 

I know this is an old thread, but I was in the same boat this year. My older dd did AAS 1-4 and then switched to R&S and did 4-6. ds was not ready to do R&S independently so I had him try PZ (which didn't work for us). This year I switched both of them to Megawords and we are thrilled. It is the deliberate teaching of AAS in a mostly independent workbook...We are big fans!

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Perhaps this has been asked but have you looked at the Phonetic Zoo by IEW? It is an independent spelling but it is phonics based like AAS. It might be a good fit. I think they have example recordings on their website, and there is a placement test. It is designed for you to go into it after completing AAS4 (they sell through AAS4).  

 

AAS only takes us 10 minutes per kid four days a week. I am not sure how everyone else is doing it, but I write down when we start and 10 minutes later we finish, regardless of how much we got done.  Some lessons take many many days to complete. If you have multiple children doing it, that is really going to add up, but if it is just one or two, 10 minutes is really my lowest investment for any curriculum we are currently using.

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  • 7 months later...

I know that this is waaaay old (I hope that it's still okay to reply), I'm just wondering what you ended up doing.  I'm in the same boat right now (started with AAS, switched to R&S, and trying to decide if I should go back).  :)

 

Oops, sorry! Bumping a waaay old thread again, because I just saw this. I did stay with R&S, and I bought the book on kindle, Complete Guide to English Spelling Rules. Then before the year started, I went through my entire R&S 5 book, and made lesson plans for each lesson. It is more annoying than AAS because they cover so much in one lesson sometimes, but it made me feel better to try to approach the lessons more carefully, intentionally, in a more AAS style. I also downloaded the free samples from AAS's site and plan to use those lessons if we get to similar words or rules in R&S.

 

If anyone wants my R&S lesson plans, let me know. I typed them up in a format small enough to glue in the margin of the TM, so they're there for all of my kids. They coordinate with the Complete Guide. (I actually printed them on label paper and stuck them in.) I'm happy with it, outside of having so many different things to cover at times. But I'd not heard of Megawords! I'm going to go google it. :)

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I know this is an old thread, but I was in the same boat this year. My older dd did AAS 1-4 and then switched to R&S and did 4-6. ds was not ready to do R&S independently so I had him try PZ (which didn't work for us). This year I switched both of them to Megawords and we are thrilled. It is the deliberate teaching of AAS in a mostly independent workbook...We are big fans!

Could you share some o f the pros and cons and how you use this? How much time/days do you spend teaching it and how much is independent work? How many levels do you go through in a year? Do you need the TM? If we already completed AAS1-4 and R&S4-5, should we start at level 1 with MW or a higher level? Thanks for any time you have to share!

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Could you share some o f the pros and cons and how you use this? How much time/days do you spend teaching it and how much is independent work? How many levels do you go through in a year? Do you need the TM? If we already completed AAS1-4 and R&S4-5, should we start at level 1 with MW or a higher level? Thanks for any time you have to share!

 

 

We are in our second year of MegaWords. We are still very happy with it as I have seen great improvement with my kids' spelling. That said, I have found that my children learn anything better if I play an active part in teaching them. That said, the reality of 3 children is I cannot do that for every subject. Spelling is one we have chosen to remain independent as much as we are able.

 

My kids do 2 pages a day 4 days a week. It takes 10-15 minutes usually. 

 

My dd did AAS 1-4, R&S 4-6 and then I switched her to MW 3. It has been painless. She completed books 3-5 last year and will probably complete 6-7 if not 8 also this year. 

 

ds Completed AAS 1-3, PZ (part of A) and then switched to MW 1 in 4th grade. He completed 1-2 last year and will do 3-4 this year. 

 

My youngest will complete AAS 1-3/4  (she is currently on 2) and then move to Megawords 1. 

 

I am mostly hands off with MW. I am available for questions, spot check every once in awhile to be sure it looks like they are putting effort forth. I don't grade/correct every page. I expect that if they have a question they will come to me. There are quite a few dictation exercises. I dictate words and check those. The dictation is found in the teacher's manual so you do need the TM for those. 

 

Hope that helps!

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