As I sat watching my oldest child write from dictation this morning during her spelling lesson (using Spell to Write and Read), I shuddered inwardly in horror. There were words run together, very little punctuation (including, in some cases, no periods at the end of sentences), capitalization in strange places, and of course, many spelling errors.
As much as I share success, here is an example of the opposite:
“onse on a ridingLesonIhad a mad horse he ran off the track and Jopt above four fenses.Iheldonto his nec likoney to a jar andprayed. He final ly stopt and pusht his nose in som levs.”
Now, I’ve written before about Child #1. I refer to her as “pencil-phobic.” She hates writing. She’s always had poor handwriting, although it has improved tremendously. She’s not a natural speller and has limited “mental memory” of words she has read. For example, she is flying through the Trixie Beldon book series, so she sees the main character’s best friend’s name all the time: Honey. One of her spelling words today was honey. She tried to spell it “huny.” Even when I directed her with the “hon” part and went over the phonogram “ey” again with her, she didn’t want to put “ey” at the end – just an “y.” I specifically pointed out that this word was spelled the same as the name of Trixie’s friend Honey. No dice.
So, then I turned to Homeschooling Year By Year to see how badly I was failing in her language arts curriculum. When poring over the second grade section while the children were eating lunch, I was reminded again that it recommends Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL). So, I dashed to the computer to look up the program. I’d never looked at it seriously before.
I zoomed through some sample assessments, scope and sequence pages, and sample lessons, then returned to the lunch table full of thoughts. I was planning on using Writing With Ease 2, Growing With Grammar 3, and Spell to Write and Read for next year’s language arts. I have WWE 2 workbook, but did not use WWE 1. I have not yet purchased GWG 3. I’ve been using SWR for a couple of years already. Now, I was wondering if I should “combine” grammar, writing, spelling, and literature in one “all-together” program like LLATL or Christian Light Education (CLE) Language Arts.
We headed to homeschool PE where I was able to talk to another “curriculum junkie” mom who didn’t help out matters as she suggested I look at two or three other “all-in-one” type literature-based programs. But, she did help me think through why I would jump a ship I hadn’t even boarded yet. The only dictation or grammar we do is integrated into SWR and I’ve been more focused on the spelling aspects than any other part.
After “school” was over, I was able to do a little more research into LLATL on the Well Trained Mind Boards and found out that most people suggested that “struggling spellers” supplement LLATL with a stand-alone spelling program. I also saw some people indicated that CLE’s spelling wasn’t very rigorous either.
I think I’m panicing because I’m looking for some less teacher-(time-)intensive programs to use next year. I was thinking that instead of using three separate programs, I could “get it all” in one in less time. It sounded great. Upon reflection, I’m not sure I would “get it all” and I would probably spend just as much time as I will using three separate programs.
Since I already have two of the three programs purchased, I am not going to throw more money out to get LLATL. At least, not right now. 🙂
While the crisis in my head isn’t over, I’ve come to the decision that my previous decisions stands. Child#1 does need to have the instruction and work in GWG 3 & WWE 2 as well as a rigorous spelling program (like SWR). I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it helps out her language arts progress next year.
P.S. We might be starting GWG & WWE in the summer instead of waiting until the fall. But that’s for another post.