Jump to content


What do I do and where do I re-start!!! Help

Recommended Posts

Hi Ladies


I am new to this forum, but not new to the well trained mind. I have 2 girls 10 and 11 that have been though First Language lessons 1 and 2 a few years ago. I then continued with copywork as the main LA instructions. I now have very bad Spellers, horrid writers and they have just basic knowledge of grammar. Please help, I have failed:confused:


I have just finished reading WWE and love it. I be going through the fundamentals of workbook 1 and 2 of WWE. I really need to see where the girls are at. They are great at copywork but not so with dictation.


I have no idea what to do with Grammar! should I start with book 3 of FFL? The girls are both great readers. Their narration is wonderful too (a little too long).


For their Spelling, I am using Sequental Spelling, but not quite sure about it! Should I go back to Spelling workout E or G?


I have so many questions! I feel as though I have been a horrid homeschool mom :sad:


We will be starting Sonight Core 5 with them in August. We have wandered far from what I had in mind for them. I went through 2 years of planning unit studies, lapbooks, notebooking and such. I had no time for the fundimentals! What have I done? I now know what I did wrong but I am looking for ways to fix it.


I also have a 5 almost 6 and 4 to be 5 in then new school year, I will be doing Core K with them and FFL with my 6 year old in the new year.




Thank you so much.


Heidi Jo


PS I live in the BAHAMAS and thank the Lord for forums like these! Not much help here and no resources.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First off, I think you need all of us to come visit and help you out! A few days on the beach and I bet we could solve any problem in the world (or just not care about them anymore)


Second, at a homeschool conference here, a speaker told us that he always asks his audience who thinks they are doing a great job. No one ever does. We all feel like we are doing a rotten job sometimes. When I feel like this, I go back to my main goals for homeschooling: raising my kids to be strong in their faith, having time together as a family so we can be close, allowing them the freedom to learn at their pace, etc.


Ok, on to your actually questions - my kids hate spelling (I just posted about it) They aren't bad spellers, just bored spellers. Most people I have asked who have kids who aren't "natural" spellers love, love, love All About Spelling.


We love R&S grammar. Lots of oral work which my kids like. There are lots of good grammar resources out there. Looking forward to reading the recs that you get.


Just remember - you haven't failed. It sounds like your girls just need a little extra practice in spelling and grammar and they'll be just fine.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have used and loved FLL 1 & 2 with all three dc, but I start R&S in 3rd, since FLL 3 wasn't available when my oldest was that age. All the R&S books start at the beginning (what's a sentence, what's a noun, what's a verb, etc.), and go from there. Every one of them. Now, the later books move MUCH faster, but they all begin with the beginning.


SWB says that you can start R&S at the student's grade level up to 5th grade (e.g., a 6th grader doing grammar for the first time should not start with the 6th grade book, but the 5th). I tend to agree with that, but a lot of people on the board would recommend backing up to the 4th grade book. That would be okay, too, and they can do that together.


Megawords has done WONDERS for my struggling speller. Book 1 is designed to be started as early as 4th grade, but we didn't start it until this year (6th). You need to start with book 1, though.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

:iagree:with the Rod & Staff grammar. We used for 2nd-4th, and will use it again next year for 6th & 7th grades. I love it, my boys didn't complain about it, and they retained everything.


As far as the spelling, we used SWO and my sons never complained about it. One was a natural speller the other not. It worked well for both of them. Another option is Spelling Power. Here is a link where SWB discusses it http://www.welltrainedmind.com/O00SpellingPower.html. I have never used it, nor really seen it, but I know people who do use it and they love it.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

You guys are great!


I actually looked at FFL 3 and it looks like something my girls can use. Is that too young? It has a great intro to digraming. The girls passed year 3 of WWE so I think year 4 is good for them. Do you know when years 3 and 4 will be done for WWE? I see there is a year 4 for FLL.


So, If I am doing year 4 WWE and FFL3 with the girls along with a Spelling Program that is enough right? For Spelling I was looking at going back to Spelling Workout only because my girls don't know the "rules" so I think that is their main roadblock to becoming better spellers. I have read that Spelling Workout does well with the introduction of Spelling Rules? Or is there another one that is better for that.


Would I have a need to order Sonlight LA5 for my oldest? I have always struggled with Sonlights LA. I am not sure why...but....anyways. I am using Writing Tales 1 now (my 11 year old is almost done and the 10year old just started) they have to do a lot of rewriting of the story in their own words, which is a struggle. It does not have enough grammar instruction IMO that is why I was considering FFL3. But, maybe I can make Writing Tales work for my Writing Program (since I have it). It deals with Narration but not dictation so I can just at that.


Ok I am thinking outloud as I write this LOL. Thanks for all the information and can't wait to see what else is to come.


Bahama Blessings


Heidi Jo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Heidi Jo~


Dictation will really improve your spelling issues. I used Spelling Workout for one of my children. She was a good speller. I have found that more "traditional" spelling programs do not help my struggling spellers. The words are too challenging for them if I place them "at grade level". I did find some success with Spelling Power. My son had no retention with Sequential Spelling. The best program we have used for spelling has been All About Spelling. The rules are solid and the retention is very good.


For grammar we use Christian Light language arts. I have used R&S in the past as well. If you start R&S with inexperienced grammar students I would have them both in the 3rd grade book.


Best wishes, and it is not too late.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the Bahamas.

I think we were on Grand Cay in the Abaccos Islands.


Anyway - you have not failed them.

There are SEVERAL folks here who are just now (with kids 10/11) starting to make the formal introduction to math and grammar.


Speaking correctly and reading are what set grammar foundation. Now you just need to start reviewing parts of speech and diagraming sentences.

Walking around the yard counting, adding, subtracting, studying bugs sets math and sciece foundations.


Learn the rules for spelling slowly and deep so they carry it their entire lives.

I like Seq. Spell. but you need the spelling rules to go along with it.


Continue to nurture and support their love of reading.

Play with money. We play cash register. She can count back change. This will make you feel very far ahead of anyone who goes to school. Nice ego boost for everyone.


Because they are older it will be easy to teach grammar AND THIS TIME THEY WILL RETAIN IT. It's probably deep in their heads already but they just need to get it one more time. To really understand it. I mean, can most 6 year olds really get the grammar? I think it's much easier to introduce it at 9 or 10 yo. Takes less time.


Have you looked at Growing With Grammar?

Also - sometimes folks here link to really good OLD Grammar and Spelling textbooks that you can print.

Edited by Karen sn
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heidi Jo,


Sonlight LA for Core 5 will give you: dictation passages, a variety of writing assignments, and there are exercises on mechanics and style. Some writing assignements are linked to whatever readers you have on the go. Sonlight LA for Core 5 does not include a vocabulary program, spelling program, or a grammar program. These are optional workbooks/resources that you can add in, should you want them. Within these optional LA compenents, SL may offer more than one resource. For example for grammar you could choose Grammar Ace or Winston Grammar.


I have the LA for Core 5 (2008/2009 version and none of the optional workbooks) and I use only parts of it to supplement my LA. The parts I mainly use: dictation passages, a few mechanics and style exercises, the odd writing assignment. Why don't I use the whole kit and kaboodle? A number of reasons, I guess ...


- not enough teacher helps

- not enough clarity/guidance for the student

- we're not fans of their natural approach to writing, and there's a little too much emphasis on creative writing. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just not a good fit for how I wish to teach composition, and it's not the best approach for my son. Also, Core 5 was my first go with SL. Had we "grown up" with SL's LA, maybe it would have worked out better.


I believe SL has tweaked their Language Arts again this year (2009/2010), but I haven't seen it, so I'm no help there.


If you feel your 10 and 11 year olds are weak in their composition skills, I'd stay away from SL's LA for Core 5. Just my opinion, but I'd think they'd be overwhelmed, and Mom might be too ;). You won't need Core 5 LA if you end up going with FLL, WWE and Spelling.


For my son's Grade 5/Grade 6 years I used the following for LA:

- no formal spelling program (he's a natural speller so I incorporate this with dictation/copywork/vocab work)

- Vocabulary from Classical Roots

- finished off Wordsmith Apprentice (good for reluctant writers)

- began IEW (love this and so does he!)

- dictation 1 - 2 times per week

- Analytical grammar (JAG)


Hope this helps you out some!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

:seeya: Hi, Heidi,


I don't have much advice. We actually switched to textbooks this year, but I wanted to say I miss you (((hugs))).


Both my dd & ds are enjoying WT. I'm debating between Spelling Wisdom & Spelling Workout for my dd. Spelling comes pretty easy to her. We are going to go over all the rules using The Phonics Road over the summer with Josh, so I though Annette could sit in.


Anyway, great to see you here :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have another question. What if I only use Sonlight LA 5? is that enough grammar and writing? the samples don't give you a good idea of what the whole program includes. I heard the new LA is better then the old.


What are yours thoughts on this (Sonlight LA)


Heidi Jo


Grammar is pretty much non-existent in SL LA. There isn't much instruction for writing either. In your situation, I would stick with your other ideas (WWE, FLL). I don't like the new LA very much but have never tried the old. I have heard from other SLers that there was a lot more grammar in the old.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, so you're going back to the main highway after taking the scenic route a little too far.


I've been very happy with all of the FLL books. It does take teacher time to sit with them during the lesson, but there's no prep time. I'd have to dig out level 3 and compare it to 4.


Lots of people like R&S English. You'd likely start them in book 3 and go from there. Feel free to go faster through the stuff they find easy so you can catch up. Same applies to FLL.


Writing... you can use WWE, but there are no workbooks yet for levels 3 and 4, and those save oodles of prep time. For dictation passages, you might want to look at The Harp and Laurel Wreath. Lots of good stuff in there for multiple ages of kids, but it does seem a little heavy on Robert Louis Stevenson. (Not a really bad thing, but anyway...)


Megawords is great for your older kids. I've given up on SWO after having tried it several times. I'm trying out Apples and Pears.


I'm using IEW SWI-A with my fifth grader and it's going very well. It's been great for getting my dd to focus on the most important points of a passage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have another question. What if I only use Sonlight LA 5? is that enough grammar and writing? the samples don't give you a good idea of what the whole program includes. I heard the new LA is better then the old.


What are yours thoughts on this (Sonlight LA)


Heidi Jo


Heidi Jo,


I think FLL would be a great start on grammar. For writing I think you could either do WWE or WT. I would lean towards WWE because it would be good to have them learn how to summarize vs. just retell. Then go back to WT. You could even consider starting with WWE 2, though it would be nice to just go to WWE 3.


For spelling and dictation I would also suggest All About Spelling. It teaches the rules, and it is loaded with dictation at the same spelling level, so it easily solves two problems. It is also scripted so it is easy to use.


I wouldn't go with SL LA 5, for several reasons. First the level of dictation is probably going to...well it is just going to be more difficult to pull off because the spelling level is going to be a challenge, thus it will be easy to drop it. The writing philosophy of SL is the opposite of WTM, and not developmentally appropriate, IMO. You wouldn't be doing much narration at all, unless they have added that in the last few years. They suggest you do it once a month, but it didn't happen here. I needed something more concrete (like do it right NOW, LOL!). The grammar is light, on purpose, so you will continue with the grammar problems not solve them. Nor does SL have spelling in their LA, but they recommend Sequential Spelling which doesn't teach the rules. I am a dyslexic and I just don't get SS (and yes I bought it and used it at one time), I need explicit instructions and lots of repetition to get things. I am good at patterns (and so are my dyslexic kids), but that just allowed us to do well with the words at spelling time. It did not carry over to remembering the patterns later when the word was spelled in isolation. Ok off that soap box. ;)


Just remember that a lot of skills take time to master. You still have a lot of time and you will get there.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

We tried Sequential Spelling to no avail. I too think All About Spelling might do the trick. I bought megawords and from your description think you would do better to start with AAS bc/ megawords begins at 4th grade spelling and AAS teaches all of the rules carefully. I asked for a comparison of AAS and Apples and Pears here recently and people who had used both prefer AAS. That helped me.



Oh, and I too think we could help you if we headed over there for a week or two ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd consider All About Spelling for your struggling spellers. It's an evidence based multi-sensory, sequential, comprehensive spelling program. It's the best there is.


Personally, I'd continue with FFL 3 but I haven't looked at much else.


Deep breaths. They'll soak it up in no time.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

btw, if you decide to try AAS, it seems to help to get a material packet (but not tiles) for both students. that way you can keep your cards sorted by student for practice. if one girl knows a word, it goes in a certain place in the index card box. but if the other needs to practice it then it goes in a different place. so it is just easier to have 2 sets of that I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions.


This is my plan for the summer


WWE 1-4 (I am using the text only as a reviewing tool) I found out that my girls just need extra help with dictation, and that alone is improving their spelling

FLL 3 (a few lessons a day)

Spelling workout B and C (review, so to start D in the fall) they love this spelling series right now, so I will stick with it

Latin's not so Tough 2

math flashcards

God's design for Life - Plants

Bahamain History books 1-6 (review)


For the Fall School season this is the plan for the girls (ages 10 & 11)


Sonlight core 5 (bible reading, history, readers and read alouds)

Teaching Textbook 5 & 6 (one for each dd)


Spelling workout D & E

RFH (handwriting)

God's Design for Heaven and Earth (Science)

Greek 3

Latin 3

Art, Piano, Home Ec, computer skills


for my 6 year ds (just turned last week)

OPGTTR (work through)



sonlight K (history, literature, science, bible, readers)

Advantage Math 1

Responsibilities for boys

Greek reader


for my 5 year old ds (will be in Sept)

start OPGTTR

Advantage math K

sonlight K (history, literature, science, bible, readers)

Greek letters


So how does that look?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...