How will my child ever learn how to spell without a spelling curriculum? Do you find yourself wondering this? I did! It’s hard to ever imagine a child learning to spell without using a traditional school-house method. It’s completely possible for your child to become a great speller by adapting a Charlotte Mason approach to spelling.
Some kids are naturally talented with spelling. They can pick up spelling words with great accuracy in no time! However, there are some that need a lot of extra attention with spelling.
Spelling at our house became something that was hated. I never wanted to do a spelling lesson with my kids because I had a child who was not picking it up the way I thought he should.
That’s when I tried 9,000 different spelling curriculums to no avail. (OK… maybe not really 9,000… but it sure felt like it.)
The Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling in general has been a breath of fresh air in our homeschool, and that includes spelling! Here’s how you can apply the Charlotte Mason approach to spelling in your homeschool, too.
A Charlotte Mason Approach to Spelling
As I mentioned before, spelling is not something that comes easily to every child. So, it may look like your child will never be able to spell. Just give it time.
Copywork & Dictation
Daily copywork will improve your child’s spelling! During early elementary years and beyond.
Start small. With one of my sons, I started giving him a few simple words to copy. After that became too easy for him, we moved up to sentences. After sentences, we progressed to short paragraphs.
You get the picture! Don’t start your little ones out on a paragraph when they aren’t ready for it. The goal is not to overwhelm your child. You want them to retain what they’ve learned, and not just mindlessly copy endless lines and words that mean nothing.
Dictation can be used for older children. Reading off a passage or two as your child writes it down.
Let the writing lesson be short; it should not last more than five or ten minutes.Charlotte Mason
… the lessons are short, seldom more than twenty minutes in length for children under eight …Charlotte Mason, Home Education
What should they be copying or writing from dictation??
- poems (short to start and gradually make them longer as they get older)
- paragraphs or sentences out of your favorite books
- Bible passages
Letting your children read great books
This sounds a little far-fetched for some people, but letting your child read good quality literature can actually help them become great spellers.
When a child is exposed to good writing and spelling on a constant basis, the grammar and spelling starts to sink in.
Have you ever closed your eyes to remember something? How about to remember how to spell something?
Our minds are amazing things. We can remember how to spell words by just looking at them frequently.
‘the whole secret of spelling lies in the habit of visualizing words from memory… The gift of spelling depends upon the power the eye possesses to ‘take’ (in a photographic sense) a detailed picture of a word; and this is a power and habit, which must be cultivated in children from the first.’Charlotte Mason
I have my children read a chapter (at least) out of a book of their choice each day. (This is on top of their reading that is assigned for school.)
Make a custom list of words
Make a list of words that you notice your child is mispelling often. Then take time to practice those words with your child.
Here’s some ideas for practice
- practice writing them on a whiteboard or chalkboard
- add them into your copywork lessons
- spell them out loud with your child
Here’s a quick tip: Don’t stress over this list of words! Don’t make this something that has to be checked off by a certain date or your child will fail. That’s not the goal at all with this.
Ditching your spelling curriculum
Ditch that spelling curriculum that is causing tears and heartache in your homeschool! You don’t need it! You don’t have to stress over lists and lists of spelling words that your child needs to remember by the end of the school year.
There are Charlotte Mason friendly spelling curriculums out there if you feel more comfortable going that direction.
Spelling Wisdom by Simply Charlotte Mason is one of several that I’ve hear wonderful things about.
Here’s a great post on their blog about teaching spelling. >>