Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Some independent work while we were away; and thinking about spelling

My girls had a doctor check-up today, so I made a to-do list of school work for my son to do while we were gone. (My husband often works from home, and was home today in case J needed anything. Duh.)

I gave him a short list:

  1. His handwriting page for the day
  2. A drawing lesson on DVD
  3. Read a chapter of a book I selected from the library and narrate it to me when I returned
  4. His choice of playing a Wii game or something electronic as an incentive to see it to the end. He chose Wii Sports Resort.

It went well. His work was completed, except for the book. I wondered if the book I chose was too much, and I think it was. Full text, no illustrations. He just isn't quite there yet. He can read complex words, but when there are too many words on a page he gets overwhelmed. That's fine, it will come with time.

He was able to tell me about the 2 pages he did read, and I do think he gave it a good effort.

Next time, I will choose another type of solo reading assignment.

I know it's challenging to have much independent work at this age. I could have printed a page from our Math Mammoth since that is self-contained. I could have him listen to an audio book. Or, I could tell him to complete a project with his Snap Circuits or Gyrobot or something like that so he could follow instructions (or create something, I suppose) to show me later.

By the way, J and V? They are SO HELPFUL! SQUEEEE! First of all, Vivie was a model patient today at the doctor's. She was proud to show her sister how it worked, and held her hand while the doc was looking in her ear, whispering in her other ear that she was safe and she was fine. Be still, heart!!

Also, I asked if they would help me collect the bathroom trash. They did, and I got distracted by something and was shocked and happy to see they took all of the trash to the curb, including the 65-gallon recycling bin. WHAT! Awesome!

They are happy to help, and I am thrilled to have actual helpful helpers.

Johnny has been hinting that it's time to add spelling lessons to his daily work. Ugh, spelling. Whatever way I was taught spelling, it was ineffective. Usually just memorizing spelling lists with no reason behind them and a spelling test on Friday. Worksheets where I would fill in the letters according to their size in letter boxes.

I learned nothing. Spelling was my lowest score on all standardized tests, always. Pfft!

I want better for my kids. But oy, the spelling philosophies out there, and the curriculum choices!

I own the first level of All About Spelling. I'm a big fan of the All About Reading program, so I bought level 1 of AAS without even giving it further thought. All About Learning press advises to begin spelling shortly after completing level 1 of the reading program, and they have their reasons for suggesting that route.

J is more than a third through level 3 of AAR and we aren't yet doing spelling. Whoops. I tried AAS back when he finished level 1, but it just didn't seem to be the right time.

I ought to pull it out and just give it a shot, since we already have it.

Part of me is really NOT interested in using the letter tiles. J doesn't seem to need them that much (we don't use them for the reading program, but I might use them for another child if she needs it). If I have magnetic letter tiles out while my toddler tornado is on the loose...nopenopenope.

This stage is relatively short, but I do need to anticipate her actions.

So...part of me is wondering if I can modify it without the tiles, or if that really is a big part of the program. Part of me also does NOT want to spend 20 minutes/day on spelling. Not sure if it will actually take that long.

ANOTHER part of me is adding up the price to finish the 7 levels of AAS and I'm like ugghghg I will do it if I have to but what else is out there? AAR is such a solid program, I have been able to see that first-hand.

So many thoughts.

IEW has a Phonetic Zoo program with an audio component. That is pricey. Like $300 for all of the levels. But. Is it then more self-directed? You can buy a budget option for $29 with no audio, and you'd need to read it to your child, have another child do it for the student, or heck record it yourself.

Part of me wonders if J would be able to assist the younger girls with their own spelling later. If Vivie then gains proficiency as a reader, perhaps she could assist J with his spelling. It's easier to read than to spell, imo.

I don't know! These are early thoughts. Brain dump over. Time for Gilmore Girls and a glass of wine.

One more thing -- it was rainy today, but warm enough and no thunder. I invited my kids to play outside. They loved it! There's usually thunder in the area. They found a giant worm, made some puddles and mud pies. Good stuff.

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