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Category: Spelling

My first real “homeschooling” post in a month and a half! We’ve been quietly continuing on in about half of our subjects. I’ve uploaded a few photos of Satori’s spelling lesson she did today, as they show multiple progress on various things – spelling, handwriting, and writing.

Today we hit the middle lesson in our Level 2 AAS book. These lessons (when we do them) just fly by, she learns certain things so quickly and some spelling things she picks up on her own. Today’s lesson was the double-e “ee” vowel pair making the long-e sound. The only word she spelled wrong was “dere” instead of “deer”. But she does correctly spells the word that doesn’t follow the rule, which is “been”.

You can see she understands sentence structure and sentences with capital letters and ends them appropriately. We do need to work on doing this in her random journal entries and letters to people though. Her letters are pretty much all formed correctly. But I have failed in getting her to use a correct tripod grip. She doesn’t think she writes as neat when she uses a proper grip. Frustrating, but I think I will move on from that.

Yesterday we finished our spelling program, All-About-Spelling Level 1! Satori got to put her last sticker up on her AAS chart and I presented her with her Certificate with Achievement.

I framed her certificate and hung it up on the wall above her desk. (I erased out her last name for privacy purposes.) Satori was so excited we had to call Daddy and tell him the news!

Here’s a brief summary of what Satori learned in Level 1, which we started last June, when Satori was 4.5 years old. First off, All-About-Spelling is a vertical phonics program, so right away we started learning all the different sounds for each letter. Some vowels have 4 sounds, and some consonants had some tricky ones to remember, so this took a while! What she didn’t master right away simply went into our Review file. Next up we learned to segment words, how to hear the sounds in the words. We familiarized ourselves with the alphabet – its order, vowels and consonants. We went quickly through the lessons that taught how to spell words using their basic sounds, and the easy digraphs and blends.

Eventually we learned tougher concepts, like when to use a C or K for beginning sounds, when to use K or CK for ending sounds, when to double letters at the end (like “tell” or “dress”)… We learned consonant teams (“ng” and “nk”), compound words, plural words, and lastly, open syllables. The end of each lesson requires the child to spell our phrases or sentences, which was great practice to hear it orally and apply everything learned.

Here’s a sample of what Satori can now spell successfully.

Tomorrow we will pull out Level 2. I’ll have to do a little bit of organizing first, such as updating our AAS tile whiteboard with new sections such as “Vowel Teams” and “The Sound of /er/”. We’ll be starting a “Jail” to hold our spelling Rule Breakers. First lesson will be a review of Level 1, as well as learning more about open and closed syllable tags.

I’m looking forward to furthering Satori’s spelling skills. She always writes books and letters and will greatly benefit from learning more spelling rules. We have progressed far enough in our Reading subject that she already knows how to spell many things, but by systematically learning the rules, she won’t forget to add her silent-E, and so much more.

Here’s a sample of words we’ll learn in All About Spelling Level Two.

We’ve finished spelling compound words in our All-About-Spelling program Level 1. Just 2 more Steps to go and we’re on to Level 2.

Before we started Step 23 today we did a review. This program has a great system for review. In our Spelling Review box we tackle things we need to review. She has all the rules, Key Cards, phonograms memorized except for a couple like all the sounds for the letter “o”. AAS is a vertical phonics system, so we are to learn all the sounds of a phonogram right away. At first it can be daunting to be presented with all these sounds that even the parent didn’t have memorized, but in the end, it makes reading and spelling so much easier. It’s certainly paying off now that we’ve moved beyond the basic short vowel and consonant sounds.

I keep all the words Satori struggles with and we start out by spelling them. Here she is spelling them on her hanging white board.

Any words that are not spelled correctly get filed away in the Review tab of our index card box. Toward the end of Level 1, here is the remaining words she has a hard time spelling. Most of the time it comes down to pronunciation issues – instead of “drink” we pronounce it almost like “jrink”. “desktop” she wants to spell as “desctop” but I think she is catching on now. “pink” is always spelled “pick”, but I know she knows most of her -ink words, so this must be a pronunciation thing for her. “windmill” often forgets the double “l” at the end. Our hint:

Remember to floss!

I admit our spelling lesson went past 20 minutes today, I wanted to get a very thorough review done. I guess we’re usually so excited to start a new level, that the Review session gets truncated prematurely. This time, we covered everything. She got bored after the 30 minute mark and started writing random phrases down. This is what it says:

chase the frog

Mat gulped. He scared the pig, ran to the pond.

Not quite a story but I love that she spelled “chase” correctly and we haven’t covered that yet.

We finished Step 21 today (out of 24) in our All About Spelling program. In about 3-4 weeks, we’ll be on to Level 2! Here is what the AAS board looks like at the end of Level 1. You’ll have two sets of letters (vowels are in red, and you’ll notice “y” has one red tile). You’ll see a blank consonant (blue) tile and a blank red tile to assist with spelling words when we need to apply a rule first. The Consonant Teams we’ve learned so far in spelling are: th, ch, sh, ck, ng, and nk.

Today we finished up nk words. At the beginning of this lesson you’ll line up all the vowels EXCEPT e, as e never goes before -nk. (Maybe it does in very rare words…)  Same as the -ng rule, where e rarely goes before -ng.

Each Step takes us about 3-4 lessons, usually 3. Since we strive to do three spelling lessons a week, each Step takes us a week to finish.

The first day we review, and All About Spelling has a pretty great system for review. We tackle the review cards in our AAS file box. Then we learn the current step’s lesson. We use the tile board for spelling out the first 10 words. These are the same words that we store in our Index file box, and we’ll put them in the “Review” section. The next day we’ll spell those 10 words on paper. Usually this doesn’t take too long, so we’ll also spell a few “More Words”. The final day we’ll spell the rest of the “More Words”, and a list of Phrases. Usually the phrases has the  original 10 words in the phrases, so if Satori gets them right, I can move them into the “Mastered” section. Only in a great while will we take out our Mastered cards and review them.

Then, once a lesson is done, we put up a sticker on our chart! (Stickers don’t come with the program, we chose the most happy stickers we had at the time.) Our hopping frogs are very happy looking, so we do our Happy Hoppy Frog Dance!

Satori and I had so much fun this week! I love having a daughter, I can’t wait to have more children (most likely adoption).

We just finished our Story of the World history lesson, the very first chapter about History and Archaeology. We actually had gone over both very thoroughly way back in May 2009, and one of Satori’s dream jobs is an Archaeologist. Our Archaeology Dig was last spring, which would have been messy to do indoors anyway this winter. Here’s a few pictures from back then, or you can click the above link.

Coming back to the present day, I pulled out our SOTW book. As I read the story, she started doodling on her whiteboard.

A bit worried that she might not be paying attention, I asked her to describe her drawing. She proved she listened to every word, as the items on the ground where from an ancient civilization and the person shown was an archaeologist finding the artifacts in the ground! She also remembered me saying something about learning about the Egyptians soon, as she also included an Egyptian mask, an Egyptian fossil (I don’t think she doesn’t know about mummies yet, or maybe she does), and more. She then begged to learn about Egyptians, but I was not prepared to jump into that yet. We’ll start our Egypt studies in two weeks, have patience honey!

Our spelling lesson started out with her distracted, but I used a bribe of one Nerd candy for each word spelled correctly. (I haven’t used candy as a bribe for half a year, so don’t think this is typical!) At first I didn’t think she was going to get our new spelling rule of how to know when to use a “-CK” or “-K” at the end of a word, but she proved me very wrong as this turned out to be a very enthusiastic lesson of lots of dances, hugs, and of course, a few sugary Nerds! Once she started, she spelled every word correctly – mask, elk, duck, thick, milk, etc…  She begged to spell more and more, and we finished almost 3 Spelling lessons as a consequence. When I said “no more”, she ended with this phrase:

Obviously we haven’t covered the word “great” in our spelling yet, but at least she understood the long e! We have covered “great” in our reading, so I switched the vowels around to show her how to spell “great”, and not a frame of metal bars. 😉

Satori injects humor into her lessons, which is great because I need the laugh now and then. On Monday, in our All About Spelling lesson where we spell on paper, I had asked her to spell “spell”. She doesn’t want me to watch her in the act, so after she wrote it out, she had it all covered up. She then uncovered the “SP” and I said that’s not how to spell it! She giggled crazily and uncovered the teeny tiny word “spell” at the bottom of the page! Lol!

It’s the little things like this that make every day so much fun. I love my family! I love homeschooling!

I had been eyeing this Bananagrams Game which looks like a fast-paced Scrabble in a fun and compact (of course banana) package. My family (from Great-Grandma to Grandparents to David and I) love to play Scrabble, so anyway I could get my 5 year old more interested in such word games is a bonus.  Up pops Pairs in Pears while surfing Amazon, which is meant for the younger kids (5+), so it was a no-brainer purchase.

It arrived yesterday afternoon so last night our small family set out to play! Skimming the directions, I see that it has some very simple versions that I bet homeschoolers from age 3-4ish could even play, such as rhyming, letters in order, consonants/vowels, names, and such. But knowing my little speller girl, I knew she’d want to go straight to forming the words!

The game is simple. 4 alphabet sets come in a cute little  zippered pear pouch.  There’s also a little gadget that you can write words on, but we didn’t use that much, nor did the instructions mention it. We divided the letters up equally between the 3 of us, each got about 34 letters. After I spelled a sample word “bug” for Satori, she set out spelling all kinds of words. I didn’t even have time to read the directions and follow one of the suggested games.

To my surprise, Satori didn’t stick to the simple CVC type words like “cat”. She went ahead and experimented with words that we have gone over in All About Spelling – such as beginning and end blends, double letter endings, “-ck” words, and more. She got almost all of them right on the first try. Every time we looked over, Satori had a new word which both David and I thought was above a newly-turned 5 year old ability!

Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for their gift this Christmas of this art table that we used for the game! The art table has a white-board top, a spot to put drawing supplies, and a roll of drawing paper underneath that can easily be torn off once a picture is drawn. But it also makes a perfect small gaming table! We had a spot to use a dry erase marker to tally up our word count (good math practice for Satori).

Pairs in Pears was a good investment for our family, it will get Satori even better at reading and spelling. I imagine Bananagrams might be a good idea next Christmas and soon after that, the real deal – Scrabble!

Satori was excited to show us in a video on how to spell /k/ words tonight. I should’ve done this last week, when we first learned these rules and words. Now she just knows them.

At first I wanted her to spell Ken, like her Uncle Ken, but she was supposed to use a blank tile for the /k/ sound. I guess she has most of these c/k words memorized by now. Oh well!

(After watching the video back, Satori is embarrassed that she mis-read “cid”, she should’ve pronounced it as “sid” instead of “send”. I also really need to take these videos during the day so they’re brighter!)

I think Satori would love to teach the whole world how to spell!