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Topic: Looking for Spelling Help

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Subject: Looking for Spelling Help
Date Posted: 11/16/2007 9:36 AM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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Ok guys, currently we are using Spelling Power for spelling, which I like very well.  However, it has run to the point that my 7 year old is sooooo over spelling that he could just DIE!  We are on grade level 4, and he spells most words correctly, just by listening to the sound, breaking down syllables, dividing compound words, etc.  I did discover two areas that he needs help in...the IE/EI rule and homophones.  These I want to work on in a fun way, because usually, you present the rule to him, and with just a little fun practice, he has it under his belt. 

Now here is my plan (need a little feedback on this, as well as books, websites, etc. that would help).....

Instead of dragging him thru more and more levels on spelling at this stage, I have stopped spelling practice for right now until we can work on these two key areas.  I am thinking that he needs more help in the handwriting area right now, to develop confidence in printing and then move on to cursive (which he is already doing some of on his own anyways).  I think if he develops more confidence in this, then thru us writing out stories, correcting spelling thru dictionary lookup of misspelled words, noting areas he needs help in....I can do all this thru his storywriting.  Then that way he learns on his own how to look up words he has misspelled, and develops confidence enough that it is ok to look up a word that you are not sure of the spelling of in order to make sure it is spelled correctly.   Then, instead of having to drag him thru day after day of forced spelling practice, he is doing it automatically by writing books, telling stories, writing comic books, etc.  (I also want to do Grammar this way too).  Then, use the Spelling Power book every so often as an assessment tool to make sure he is staying on track and not regressing, but actually PROGRESSING.

Now, the tools that I would like to do this are some sort of spelling rules book (complete and thorough) for me to use as a guideline, as well as books/websites, etc. that offer fun ways of studying/practicing the rules instead of boring, mindnumbing repetitious writing and rewriting of each word until he gets it right.  Mind you, I am not against that way either, and do use it where I feel applicable to help show him with just a little practice, you can get it!!  Now, with these tools in hand, I think we could move off of spelling in such a forceful way and move on to more concentration on storywriting, comic writing, etc.

Any advice/book suggestions/websites/ or books you may have yourself that would help would be greatly appreciated!

A little background on him to help with types of books I am looking for:

He LOVES Scholastic books, but is over the thin book types (he calls them babyish now)...go figure....However, he is not quite ready for chapter books yet, as he still thrives on all the colorful illustrations.  Comic books he adores.  He likes entertaining puzzles, but none that even have the appearance at all of a "public school" persona (and he is REALLY good at sniffing those out! lol)  I have a smaller baby also, and work from home, so things can't get too involved (i.e. something that gives a shopping list of stuff, then the how-to of how to do it is about as far as I can go right now).....Son is not quite ready for the public library yet....We tried that one a while back, but it didn't really crank his tractor right then, so I am gathering books here for him for a home library where we can learn about public libraries from here before we go back again.  Then, he can go back there with confidence.  (He is very independent and wants to do as much on his own as he can, so Mama helping a lot in public places is an ABSOLUTE NO NO!!! LOL)

Any help here would be greatly appreciated!

Date Posted: 11/16/2007 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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Oh, yeah...also forgot to mention that he loves Garfield and Pokemon and really responds in that area :)

Date Posted: 11/16/2007 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2006
Posts: 88
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You might want to look at Tricks of the Trade Spelling.   It is a book that your son could use to list his misspelled words under the appropriate rule/pattern.   He will then end up with his own dictionary of sorts that has the words HE needs to work on. 

Here is a link ( BTW it is sold in a lot of places this is just the first to pop up in my search)  http://homeschool%20curriculum%20at%20discount%20prices.www.thedowsschoolroom.com/tricks.shtml

Of course he could just use a notebook and start his own lists.  

I want to mention that I tried this and it did NOT work for my kids.  LOL  I know it is wierd to reccomend it when I didn't use it but from how you explained your son the independant aspect might just fit him. One thing I have learned in 11 yrs of doing this...... What works for one might NOT work for another. 

I also want to add -  if your 7 yr old is doing 4th grade level spelling...... Don't feel guilty just relaxing and letting him have fun with words.  Write his stories as you were saying. Let him enjoy it.  Be his human dictionary so he won't be afraid to use words bigger than he can spell.  That would be great too!


Last Edited on: 11/16/07 10:23 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/16/2007 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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Thanks!  I found that book.  I also found the Scholastic Spelling Dictionary...which may be one that I need...I want as complete a source as I can get so it can cover all the rules and we won't have to go back buying again and again....(which may or may not happen, as I am learning FAST that what may work for him today, may not tomorrow....lol)....But the listing reference area...that's more of a guide for me than him.  After all......I have been thinking...if they are learning how to use a dictionary at this age, as well as a thesaurus....aren't they essentially learning then HOW to look up words that they have misspelled on their own?  And from one place that I read....which I agree with this woman a lot, so I guess that makes me more of an "unschooler" of sorts.......She said she was just more or less the provider and researcher of what her son wanted to learn about and provided him with the info to learn it, and he learned it on his own.  She also said that children are NOT like trains, where if they miss a station now, they can NEVER again go back and learn it...and all children are different and learn in different ways at different times....(This was from a woman whose son taught himself at age 3 how to do square roots! WOW!)  She said if she had wrapped herself up in the "scheduled" system, then she may have caused him to miss that station because she would have discouraged that learning because, according to public, he was not ready to do that yet and should be concentrating in this area over here....which would come naturally for him later on.  I myself have done that to my son, being so concerned that I wasn't teaching him in the "correct" order in which he "needed" to learn, according to some book somewhere...I have missed out so far this year on the great opportunities of teaching him multiplication (cause of course he COULDN'T be ready for that yet, because he was still in addition/subtraction, and hadn't completed that yet....OH GEEZ!!! KICK KICK in the butt there!!)  And missed out a lot on teaching about weather, clouds, cloud formation, how to use your senses to tell what the weather is going to be RIGHT where you are (my dad taught me all that)...However, we did get the water cycle one day when I STOPPED stressing that I didn't have a book right in front of me at that point in time and just told him what came naturally to me at that point....(even though it might not have been "politically" correct at that point).  

Here's the story.....

He was looking out the window and we started talking about how the sun makes the water on earth start basically "boiling" in little bitty spots, too small for the eye to see.   Then, I told him, as that water boils, like the pot of water on the stove I had going, that water turns into steam, which goes up into the air and is caught into clouds.  After a while, the clouds get to where they can't hold any more water at that point (which, by this point in time mind you he had his legs crossed and was needing to go to the bathroom) and I said.....Yep, those clouds are just like you, they get too full of water and then they have to go pee-pee and that's how come it rains.  Ok, so, that wasn't the most "politically" correct way of doing,....maybe not the nicest either, but who cares?  We were in our own home with no one else around, and I explained to him afterwards what words he should actually use to describe this process to someone else without actually saying the clouds are peeing, but he got the whole point of the water cycle in about 5 minutes....Then he played being the sun by drinking a bunch of water, then was a cloud who had to go to the bathroom and pee it out!  Ok........lol....That's my story on the water cycle.


Date Posted: 11/18/2007 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2007
Posts: 2
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I confess I didn't read your whole post but I have a question about Spelling Power - did you have him take the placement test?  Maybe you need to move him along to a higher level.


I have been using SP for a number of years and I really like it.  I have made one change for my 9th grade mediocre speller that might help you - when he gets a word wrong, instead of just making him get it right once before leaving it behind, I write it on a piece of paper - I keep a list in the book - and he has to get it right five days IN A ROW - so if he gets it right three days and then misses it, I start counting back at one again.  He missed fewer words on his last test so I think this may be working for him.

Date Posted: 11/18/2007 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2006
Posts: 184
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My son spells things wrong just to tick me off.  Like he wrote horrible - harible - the other day.  I read it, and said ..."Now how do you spell...." and he got it right.  I asked him why he spelled it so bad, if he KNEW how to spell it, and he said "I like to see if you are reading my emails."

He is hopeless.  I'm trying to figure out how you teach a child that knows IT ALL.  lol

Date Posted: 11/19/2007 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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Romanshopper.....when you figure out how to teach the Know It All...let me know....cause I have one of those too!  Did me that way the other day in math.....Had me stressing for 2 weeks because I thought for sure he was having real trouble with carrying in addition.  Then one day he just up and did it and said oh yeah...so-and-so showed me how to do this!  And I said WHY did you do that??? He said, Cause I just like to aggravate you once in a while...to see that look on your face and your nose flare.......


So there you go!  LOL

Also, yes, on Spelling power I gave him the placement test...which he may have been fooling me on it too...I don't know....but I plan on keeping using it with the placement test part as more of an assessment type thing as to where he actually is on his spelling ever so often, instead of drilling as I have done in the past.

Thanks! :)

Date Posted: 11/20/2007 1:01 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2007
Posts: 469
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My son is like this too. (Of course, we know that my 8yo is high-functioning autistic... does yours happen to be as well? Just curious.)

After he finishes his spelling book (it's a ps text, for 4th grade, and he seldom if ever misses a word on his pretest), we plan on nixing the spelling stuff and just doing vocab studies. :) The child knows the phonics rules better than I do.

And, btw, I have a fantastic book on the rules - "The ABCs and All Their Tricks" is great. We actually didn't 'use it with him; he was in ps through the first grade and just asorbed the rules because it stated them in each chapter of his text.... BUT, I do plan on utilizing it with my youngers. It does even go through the letter combinations etc. and then lists all of the words that are the exception to the rule, and which rule those follow instead.... (Like, it's pronounced this way because it's French, and the French rule is yadda-yadda.)

For grammar, we're using Rod & Staff. He's diagramming sentences. There is a review lesson every 5 lessons, and actually I've started going through and having him do the review first, so we don't bother messing with anything he already knows. If he misses more than a couple on any given section, we go back and do just that lesson. I figure, since it's his strength, it's fine for him to delve so deeply into the rules that he can out-diagram a college sophomore. LOL He knows the rules too, but Rod & Staff is pretty deep and intense - they KNOW grammar after that. ;-)


As far as games and such, I'm afraid I'm no help there. My son enjoys crosswords, word finds, and those types of things. (He likes workbooks to begin with, so I just find them cheap at the dollar stores or walmart.) Hope you find something that works, and when you do, please share! :D

Date Posted: 11/21/2007 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2006
Posts: 184
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No, mine isn't autistic - he's just headstrong.  And thinks I am to be just at his beck and call.  I was busy listing books a few minutes ago, and he was like "come help me size this picture"  and I told him I couldn't, and he got mad!  And his dad was like "why don't you go help him?"  I was saying I had 50 books to deal with and I didn't want to get timed out while listing.  So I called to him "look, I've taught you how to do that at least 3 times." 


"Yea, but I wasn't paying attention."


That was his answer.  UG.  I told him - go file, save for web.  He got it done no problem - he just wanted me to drop all and run. 

Uh, NO.