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Is anyone doing AAS with 2-3 kids?


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I'm thinking through my Spelling options for next year, and can't seem to make a decision. You see, I'm not content with any spelling options I've used/seen thus far. We have been using MP's Traditional Spelling for 1st and 2nd (and like it), but those are the only two grade levels they have. MP recommends you continue on with Spelling Workout, and I'm just not jiving with that.

I've also considered Building Spelling Skills from CLP, but not sold on that either. 

And so, I'm looking at the 6 levels of AAS that I have on my shelf. I used this with my older kids when they were the only 2 doing school. Now I have 6 and I need something for my upcoming 2nd, 3rd and 4th grader. Putting them in 3 separate Spelling workbooks would be a lot of correcting/spelling tests for me, and we're already doing quite a bit of workbook type learning. And so, I'm considering using AAS, but wondering how/if they would work with those ages. My 2nd grader is at a much different level than my 4th grader. But then again, if we started near the beginning then they could all get those foundational skills/rules learned. 

Pros: Could teach them together, not a workbook, nothing to correct

Cons: Teacher intensive, can't meet them at their level

Would what you do? 

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I actually don't find it particularly teacher intensive. I have 3 children in various levels and will probably start a 4th child in the next year. A lesson day takes 5-10 minutes. Then practicing spelling words and sentences pretty much just requires me reading them out loud and checking when they're done. I can usually do that while helping another kid with math or something. Occasionally the girls like to give each other their spelling words or sentences. We do a lesson day (over 2 days of it is especially long) then the main spelling words day 2, 6 sentences day 3, 6 more sentences day 4, and the writing section day 5. (sometimes an extra day or 2 in there if there are a lot of extra practice words). 

I have found the tile app to be infinitely better than using actual tiles. We also ditched the cards and I just buy the teacher manual any more. I just teach the lesson and do the spelling words as given. I'm not a fan of very teacher intensive programs, but I've found AAS to be very doable with multiple levels going at once. It averages out to about 10 minutes of active work for me on any given day and is one of the easier programs for juggling. 

Edited by MeaganS
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I'll have 4 kids using AAS next year.  They each do their own level.  I usually do level one 4 days a week, but the other levels we only use 2 days a week, completing half of the lesson each day. I've never tried combining them, but they all started level 1 in kindergarten or first grade.

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I have done it with only 2 kids from 1st to 4th grade....and nearly lost my mind by February/March EVERY year.   In my experience, a lesson did not take 5-10 minutes per day.   And in my experience, I was not able to help other kids with math while helping another kid in math. 😉  (But obviously, your experience may be different as you can see from the other posters.  I'm just sharing my experience.  I think you other mamas are just amazing btw!).  In my experience, I was spending a FULL HOUR of my day on spelling between just two children when you added in transitions, those tiles, review etc.   Which may not sound like a lot, but spelling was only one tiny piece of our language arts program.   The longer I have homeschooled, I have realized that my devoted time is one of the most precious resources that I have to give my children.  I have to be very wise with how I spend it.   And spending so much of it on spelling was not perhaps the wisest use of our time.   (Don't get me wrong!  I find spelling incredibly important.  My point is that there are lots of really important things.  Being intentional about my use of time was an important skill for me to learn.)

SO---We switched to Spelling Plus in 4th and 5th grade.  And I've never looked back.   I purchased the workbook PDF and the recorded lessons/diction sentences.  (Still cheaper than a single AAS lesson and I can reuse them for all children.)  I loaded those recordings on an old iPad that we had, and moved to an assign and check method.   They now do spelling and dictation completely independently and it is usually completed in 15 minutes per day.   I am seeing the same amount (if not more) spelling progress with Spelling Plus as I was seeing with AAS.   (Keep in mind that my kids had both been through AAR so the knew their phonograms and spelling rules REALLY well.  I wouldn't have done this if they didn't.).  (I also forgot to mention that the spelling pretests can be downloaded online.  We use these a lot as review throughout the year and at the start/end of each school year.

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I should also mention that my children are not natural spellers.   Just reading or looking at a list of words does nothing for them.  They need an incredible amount of practice to see any improvement in their writing.   

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TheAttachedMama's post is interesting to me. I recently switched our oldest (almost 10) to AAS from Spelling Plus. He is not a natural speller. We'd barely made any progress in Spelling Plus. It just did not work for him. AAS, OTOH, seems to be going better. DD8 is still using Spelling Plus, but I am seriously contemplating switching her too. She, however, is much more of a natural speller, and will probably just fine spelling-wise in life no matter what program I choose. (Heck, even if I never did spelling with her, she'd probably be fine in the long run.) So I don't envision running 2 levels as that complicated with these 2. 

I'd agree our oldest needs lots of practice to remember spelling things. That's why Spelling Plus wasn't working here. It just wasn't enough practice. And the rote writing the same words over and over bored him to tears and turned him off even more. AAS though, offers variety (using the tiles, writing, etc...). 

Just thought it was interesting how the pp and I had/have such different experiences with the same programs with not-natural speller kids.

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1 hour ago, barnwife said:

TheAttachedMama's post is interesting to me. I recently switched our oldest (almost 10) to AAS from Spelling Plus. He is not a natural speller. We'd barely made any progress in Spelling Plus. It just did not work for him. AAS, OTOH, seems to be going better. DD8 is still using Spelling Plus, but I am seriously contemplating switching her too. She, however, is much more of a natural speller, and will probably just fine spelling-wise in life no matter what program I choose. (Heck, even if I never did spelling with her, she'd probably be fine in the long run.) So I don't envision running 2 levels as that complicated with these 2. 

I'd agree our oldest needs lots of practice to remember spelling things. That's why Spelling Plus wasn't working here. It just wasn't enough practice. And the rote writing the same words over and over bored him to tears and turned him off even more. AAS though, offers variety (using the tiles, writing, etc...). 

Just thought it was interesting how the pp and I had/have such different experiences with the same programs with not-natural speller kids.

 

I agree!  Very interesting.   Because, to me, Spelling Plus gives WAY more practice than AAS.   If you actually do the daily spelling practice as described in the teacher's manual, the student is doing SIX guided practices for each word each day (some visual and some auditory and some tactile by writing),   PLUS the words are practiced many many times in the dictation sentences over and over again.  (There are 5 dictation sentences M-Th, and Friday has the child dictating a paragraph one sentence at a time.).   PLUS, the words are again reviewed in the cumulative "pre-tests" multiple times per week.  (Like I said, we administer all of these pre-tests for each passed level as a way of reviewing.   And any words missed on any of these pre-tests are put back on a spelling list until mastered.).    By the end of the program, the student REALLY knows these words.   According to the material in the front of the book, these words make up 97% of written English (or some high percentage.)

Now take a typical AAS lesson from level 3:   (https://www.rainbowresource.com//pdfs/products/prod044011_smpl0.pdf).  1) You do a word analysis.  (GREAT practice and I really like this.)  2)   You review all of the ways to spell the long a sound in English and some general strategies for knowing which to use using letter tiles.  (ex. long a at the end of an open syllable, and English words don't end in "I"..... BUT---the child also discovers that spelling takes a certain amount of memorization.   So that brings us to 3.   3) Read through a word bank of words with long a spelled with "ai" or "ay".   Now, if your child has a strong visual memory, reading through this word bank might actually help them!  But, most kids who pick up the spelling of words from reading don't really struggle with learning to spell.  They know when a word "looks" wrong.   My kids never internalized these spellings no matter how many times we would read through these word lists.   4) Next the students spells some ai/ay words on paper.  5). Finally the student spells even more ai/ay words on paper.  6) Next there are some dictation sentences, but not near as many as in Spelling Plus.

Again, every student is different.   I just share my story in case there are other families out there who have been investing hours and hours into spelling and aren't seeing results.   

I totally agree with you that All About Spelling has more variety.  However, I am not too worried about making every subject super fun.   I think that some things just take practice, and not all practice has to be super interesting.  My kids would trade the "fun" of the letter tiles for an efficient 15 minute per day lesson.   Again, every student and human being is different.   We all learn differently and process information.   For example, I think the word bank method of learning to spell in AAS might be very effective if you have a good visual memory.   

 

 

 

*1) Look at and

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On 6/1/2020 at 10:11 PM, Meadowlark said:

I'm thinking through my Spelling options for next year, and can't seem to make a decision. You see, I'm not content with any spelling options I've used/seen thus far. We have been using MP's Traditional Spelling for 1st and 2nd (and like it), but those are the only two grade levels they have. MP recommends you continue on with Spelling Workout, and I'm just not jiving with that.

I've also considered Building Spelling Skills from CLP, but not sold on that either. 

And so, I'm looking at the 6 levels of AAS that I have on my shelf. I used this with my older kids when they were the only 2 doing school. Now I have 6 and I need something for my upcoming 2nd, 3rd and 4th grader. Putting them in 3 separate Spelling workbooks would be a lot of correcting/spelling tests for me, and we're already doing quite a bit of workbook type learning. And so, I'm considering using AAS, but wondering how/if they would work with those ages. My 2nd grader is at a much different level than my 4th grader. But then again, if we started near the beginning then they could all get those foundational skills/rules learned. 

Pros: Could teach them together, not a workbook, nothing to correct

Cons: Teacher intensive, can't meet them at their level

Would what you do? 

 

If you go with AAS, I might try 2 lesson times instead of grouping them all together. Put the 3rd grader with the one he or she is closest to (2nd or 4th) or the one that student might work the best with. Sometimes a 1-year age gap is easier to bridge than 2 years, though I know people that would group them all together too. Here's more on teaching students together--that might help as you think through what will work for you. 

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