Friday, February 25, 2011

Homeschooling KC

I love homeschooling.  It is a good thing, because the schools in my community are over crowded, over burdened and fundamentally incapable of effectively teaching  children who have different needs.  Different learning styles?  So what, they have to teach to the test and to the myth of "no child left behind." 

But this post was not really intended as a rant.  It was more about how fascinating it is to me to watch how differently kids learn.  Now I think I have mentioned before that in many ways KC is an easy kid to teach.  He taught himself how to write.  He essentially taught himself how to read.  I take credit for reading tons of books to him and playing with squishy letters on the floor when he was a baby. The rest of the credit pretty much goes to him. 

He is great at math, he wants to "get" stuff, so he will make himself practice as a general rule. He loves science and poetry.  And since he reads above grade level, I thought spelling would be a cinch.  Hear that sound of screeching brakes?  That would be the educational train de-railing!  LOL  That's right, my son who can read and comprehend a good  year or two above his school grade is the.worst.speller. on.the.planet. 

The first week we did spelling words we gave him 10 words.  Age appropriate first grader words.  We practiced them with copying, finding them in word searches, filling the correct word into a sentence.  He did all of those things wonderfully.  And wrote 8 of them incorrectly on the first quiz. 

Thankfully the other benefit of homeschooling is that such a situation doesn't carry social stigma.   But Kirsty and I spent plenty of time figuring out how we could teach spelling words differently.  KC is a chatterbox so I decided to have him also spell them orally to me in the mornings, and to say them aloud as he wrote them. This improved things greatly.  Quiz scores became about 80 to 85 per cent accurate.  We have a "train" of the words that he has correctly spelled in railroad cars going around the top of our dining room and there are steadily getting to be more box cars on the train. 

However though this was better than average, and definately better than where we started, we continued to hunt for the holy grail of successful spelling.  Kirsty hit upon it one morning as he was struggling to remember how to spell  "table." T-A-B-L-E she sang as she walked through the dining room.  He sang it back, swaying a little with his body as he did.  Ever since, we sing the words that are hard to him.  He loves music and it resonates for him in a way that nothing else seems to.  I noticed today when he did his quiz that the two words that were hard for him this week he sang softly to himself as he wrote them. The others, he could just say and write.  And his quizzes have all been 100 per cent correct since we did it this way!


Lisa said...

Thank you so much for this idea!

Sunday Koffron Taylor said...

He can't possibly be the. worlds. Worst. Speller. Ever. Because. I. Am! Even spell check has no idea what I am trying to say most of the time. I will have to try singing. ; )

Congrats on the 100% KC, keep working hard!