Tag Archives: homeschool

Teaching Spelling — Your Opinion Sought*

*your informed, considered opinion, that is

Victoria, nearing 6 1/2, is a fine reader, and once again I have dodged a bullet. I have no idea how to teach a child to read, I am suspicious of phonics except for children who are struggling to read, and I have no experience.


She cannot spell. At all. With Violet, I have never done any spelling work, formal or informal. I guess the Word Within the Word is as close as we come, but she has some kind of supernatural instinct for spelling, and always has.

I have often heard that you should not correct young children’s spelling, as that experimental spelling is part of their language learning process.


Victoria would like to be able to write. She enjoys writing letters and wants to write stories, and is somewhat hindered by her inability to spell. That is, she is quite asynchronous in her language abilities — her expression and her reading are far beyond her spelling. That does not always bother her, but sometimes it does.

So, do I intervene? And how?

I am wondering about doing some kind of simple spelling practice, but then leaving the rest of her writing alone, unless she asks for a specific spelling for something she is writing.

Were she in school doing “language arts” at some level approximating her current reading level, she would definitely be doing spelling. Then again, I think Violet had spelling words in kindergarten — which was interesting, because some of the kids could barely write. So school practices are not the most helpful guide!

I have always had a vague belief that reading is the best kind of spelling lesson — and that is probably true.

But what do you think? If you are going to do some kind of specific spelling work, when and how do you start?


Filed under Gifted Ed, Our Philosophy (such as it is)

Straight Talk Express

No this is not a post about presidential politics — I’m just lazy when it comes to making up post titles.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you may have seen this, but if not, I recommend to you a series of posts on gifted students and traditional education (i.e., “Why Gifted Students Hate School”) at Lorem Ipsum, the blog of smart homeschooler and teacher Adso of Melk.

Hope you like your educational discussions blunt, straight up, and a little fierce. 😉


Filed under Gifted Ed, Gifted Heart and Soul

Stay Back — I’m Bad News!

Here’s the latest: I fell down the stairs.

No broken bones, just lots of bruises and and a really sore, swollen hip/thigh area.

What is going on with me?

I fell the entire length of the staircase, which gave me plenty of time to injure my arm as I tried to grab something (what?) to slow my fall, and time to think — “Wow, this is really not good.”

So that’s three nights so far given over to random pain and misery. I’m a little afraid to leave the house tonight, but we’re taking Victoria to another show of Violet’s play. Oh, I will be glad when that play is done!!

In other news, Victoria continues her stealth learning, alternately saying she doesn’t know how to read and then unscrambling the word “hyena” while playing a PBSkids.org game (this report from the nanny, naturally). She also surprised me with a little “skip counting” this morning — I was feeling really lame for lying around icing myself and not schooling, so I started asking her:

“How many eyes does the dog have?”
“How many eyes do you have?”
“How many eyes do I have?”
“How many do we have all together?”

And so on with other parts of the body.

[To PG-parenting friends: recall that for an average 4yo the skip counting and learning to read is pretty cool!]

Victoria is also showing a lot more interest in “school-y” stuff: she willingly spends time with her math workbook (at this age, I don’t do “unwilling,” which of course strikes Violet as unfair) and she asks for lots more stories. She is just 3 months short of 5 years, so maybe some kind of developmental change is occurring (how sad that with my 1st, I would have had 2 or 3 books at my side to confirm this instantly — this is why I can’t have a large family — 2 puts me over the edge!).

But the sitter is here so I can make up a lot of my lost work time, so I guess I should get to it. Interesting topic today: Civic Pageants during the Renaissance.

[One last thing: I had my “History of English” book with me during my Dr./Hospital sojourns Wednesday, so in addition to lots of knitting I made some real progress on planning our unit study — finally!]


Filed under Home Preschool, Oh Mother, Schoolday Doings