Sunday, November 11, 2007

Spelling and Writing and Grammar - Oh my!

With all the reading and writing going on here it became very evident that Nightowl was having some trouble. Now part of this has to do with her personality - she simply loathes getting things wrong. Incorrectly spelling words, sounding them out when she reads aloud - this was causing loads of stress.

What to do?

I thought for a while and then searched my Waldorf inspired lists and my unschooling lists
and finally decided that simple is best. We don't have many more hours in the day and I want to capitalize on what we are already doing. So, I turned to McGuffy.

Nightowl loves these old-timey readers. She finished the Primer early during our first month of Grade Two. I handed her the First Reader and she brought it back two days later - finished. Wow. She's now working through the Second Reader. But in the meantime.....I have started giving her assignments. We started with recitation. Each week she picks a lesson and then reads it aloud on Fridays. I also started creating spelling packets made up of words from lessons in the First Reader. It's a simple list of 20 words with directions to write the words and use them in sentences. On Fridays we have a low stress quiz on the words. Any she can't remember are transfered to the next week's list.

For writing she has been doing weekly practice on capital and lowercase letters. She works on these projects as I'm putting the Bearcub down for a nap and when she has free time.

So far so good. Nightowl is learning to budget her time and to prepare an assignment. She likes it ok, although she needs lots of encouragement. My plan is to continue this activity at a lower intensity during our math block.

Finally, with all of the spelling and handwriting, I decided to try a little grammar. Using the first lesson from Dorothy Harrer's book: An English Manual I told Nightowl the story of the four types of words. She was completely engaged by this fairy story and copied it into her main lesson book. I feel that it laid a good foundation for further grammar work later in the year.

Whew, the end of our first language arts block. On to math!


Here they are, all ready for our first math block.
Left to right: King Equals, Plus, Times, Divide, and Minus