Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Words for Wednesday - On Spelling

Spelling is one of the outward and visible marks of a disciplined mind. - James J. Kilpatrick
How flattering. I am - if I do say so myself - a natural speller. My brain thinks in words. I've tried to explain this to Prince Charming more than once. He doesn't get it because, apparently, he thinks in images. I don't get that either, so I guess we're OK.

Seriously though, it surprised me when he informed me that not everyone has a ticker tape rolling in their heads. Fine then. But I do. Though even it fails me sometimes. And then I ask him to confirm my spelling.
Take care that you never spell a word wrong. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well. - Thomas Jefferson (written to his daughter)
Now I have to confess that I do not use a spelling curriculum with my daughters.

Please don't take away my official homeschooler card. (Actually you can't. My papers are in and my dues are paid. So there.) I spend time (much, much time) teaching them phonics. I spend even more time reading aloud to them, making sure there are literally hundreds of books available to them in our home, encouraging them to write their own stories, to read to each other, to tell us about what they're reading.

All that to say, I know there are different schools of thought on spelling as a subject. One, of course, is that children ought to memorize list after endless list of isolated words. ("Write these ten words three times each") and then there is another school of thought that spelling is primarily a visual skill. This asks the child to visualize the word in her mind. And then there's my school of thought: if they need to spell a word, spell the word, since some folks seem to be natural spellers and some don't. By the way, vocabulary is taught in a similar fashion here at Chez Charming: as they come across a word in their reading, not isolated out of all meaning.

I reserve the right to change my mind on this in the future and implement the most intensive spelling curriculum you've ever seen. Until then, we'll muddle along. And you'll be watching this blog for any and all spelling mistakes this self-professed "Natural Speller" might make.

And just for one more view, don't forget what our seventh president thought about the subject:
It is a d**n poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word. - Andrew Jackson


Julie Munroe said...

I am on your side here. Picture me here, holding some pom pons, cheering you on.

Elisabeth said...

This year (1st grade) Hannah brings home a new list of spelling words every week that we practice every night. They are words that are used in the story they spend the week focusing on and reading daily in class. Along those lines, this week the story is about dinosaurs and I have to give them praise because nowhere in the story does it talk about dinosaurs living millions of years ago or how they were killed by a big meteor shower or something.

Amy said...

No spelling curriculum here either. Seeing as the oldest just turned 7, I'll let you know in a couple of years how that no-spelling thing is working out for us.
I know one thing for sure - I'm going to keep that A. Jackson quote from him as long as I can... going form the over-all idea of it, I think they'd have been great friends! ;)

Pastor David Pitman said...

God must luv badd spelers kuz He mad alott uv im. if peepul doant unndurstendd my wrds i jest figger thay ar stweppid

Karabeth Baptist Homeschool said...

At the risk of sounding like a horrible American, let's just say that's one more reason for me not to like Andrew Jackson.

And for the record I love visiting The Hermitage and I'm grateful for the victories Old Hickory scored against the British in the War of 1812. Otherwise, not so much.

Kelly said...

I'm panicking (panicing? Oh no!) a little now because I can't figure out if I think in images or words. I think I might think in Twitter updates. What is that?!

Oh, and for the record, in sixth grade I was the first kid out of the spelling bee out of the entire school. I spelled "aromatic" a-r-r-o-w-m-a-t-i-c. :)

Vicky said...

I could read Pastor Dad's comment.....I hope that doesn't mean I'm that bad word he said.....the "s" word at the end! :D

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