Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This is Not Your Parent's Homeschool!

My academic education began and ended in public schools. My teaching career began in public schools and ended in private schools. Since I retired I have met more and more families who home school. Just as public and private schools have changed through the years so has the concept of a home school. It is estimated that about 3% of U.S. students K-12 are homeschooled. This is an estimate for several reasons, one of which is that some states, such as TX and California, do not required students be registered.  But did you know . . .
  • Parents consider homeschooling for a variety of reasons. Parents may want their child in a school that follows a specific religious or educational philosophy. Some parents realize their child needs more individual instruction than is available at the local school. A family may find themselves transferred for a short time and decide to home school. A parent might feel an immature child needs another year at home to get the most benefit from the public school. There are many individual reasons parents consider homeschooling.
  • Parents aren't necessarily the only teachers in a home school.A small group of parents may decide to share the teaching. Some parents hire tutors to teach some or all of the subjects. Students may be taught by other family members such as a grandparent.  Parents have formed part-time private schools that are open two or three days a week. These schools hire state certified teachers and provide a curriculum. Students go to school a few days a week and learn at home the other days. Parents pay a low tuition and students get individualized attention at home. Here is an example of such a school started by a group of parents.  http://www.tcshouston.org/about-tcs/about-tcs---overview
  • The Internet has a plethora of offerings for the  homeschooler. There are states that provide a free curriculum and classes through the Internet. Parents take advantage of Internet offerings such as those presented on Khan Academy and communicate with other parents through home schooling groups. There are even tutors available on-line.
  • Children may be home schooled a semester, a year, or several years.
  • If you think your child has learning differences(LDs) I strongly recommend you contact a local LD advocacy group. If there is not local group, contact a state or national group. Make sure you receive the services required by federal law even if you home school.
If you are thinking of homeschooling do your research. Know your state's laws, check  the availability of charter and private schools, and know your own abilities and limitations. A child with a learning difference needs a skilled teacher. Some parents do a wonderful job working with a child with LDs, some parents find someone who will do a wonderful job, and some parents discover that it is beyond their abilities. Home schooling is not for everyone, but those who want to try it should not limit the vision of school.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Quick Spelling Tip -- V

Poor spellers often have a difficult time determining when to place an E at the end of a word. One quick rule is that English words don't end in the letter V.  If a word has a V sound at the end, it is spelled with a VE.

Some example are solve, gave, above, believe, and dove.  The few words that end with v are names, or shortened, slang  forms of a words such as luv, which my spell check determined isn't a real word.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spelling and Writing Redo

If your child's written sentences look like chicken tracks filled with misspellings, it not too late for improvement. The two old-fashioned skills of cursive and keyboarding(touch typing) may help a child improve his spelling and writing. To work, however, the skills must be taught correctly.

Cursive seems to be a dying art. Many school do not teach it. Others give it brief lip service. Taught in a specific way, cursive can help a child with LDs improve in spelling and make writing readable. Why? With cursive:
  • A child gets to feel the word as a whole. Children with LDs often misspell short, non-phonemic words such as said, of, or one.  Cursive gives a child an introduction to the feel of a word as a connected entity.
  • When printing some children have a terrible time with spacing between letters and words. In cursive, it is more apparent when a word stops and a space is needed.
  • Cursive can be taught so that each letter begins on the line. This consistency helps children with spatial problems. (Fig. 1, Initial stroke)
  • Reversal of letters tends not to be as much of a problem in cursive as in print.
  • Although learning cursive slows down writing, it is faster than printing once learned.
My personal opinion is that cursive letters should be taught to a child with LDs with an entrance and release stroke. (Fig. 1) I know there are methods that just make cursive a rounded form of printing, but that still results in crowded letters for some children. My favorite method of teaching cursive is using Diana Hanbury King's workbooks, but there are other methods in which all lower case letters start on the line. To teach cursive
  1. Write a large letter to show the child how the letter is written.
  2. Have the child write the letter in the air while saying the letter. Guide the child's hand if she has difficulty writing the letter correctly in the air. 
  3. Have the child trace your letter on a large sheet of paper. (Newsprint folded in half is a good size to start.)  Make sure she starts on the line and traces the letter in the correct direction. This large letter will now be her reference model.
  4. Have the child write the letter while looking at the model. If she can do this correctly turn the paper over and have her write the letter saying its name. 
  5. If he writes the letter correctly have him write the letter with his eyes closed. 
 If your child starts getting confused go back to steps one and two.
Figure 1

Some children get confused where they need to change direction in cursive. They may end up going round and round like a traffic circle with letters such as o and g.  Other problems are bridges such as ow, ou, oy, oa, etc. (Fig. 1, Bridge) In the beginning mastering the letters may take more time than you might predict, but with effort and practice your child should learn how to correctly write all the letters.  Start with very large letters. Move to smaller letters when the child has mastered writing the large letters correctly.

In touch typing the first goal is to use the correct fingers. With touch typing a poor speller can also feel a word. I have seen children who touch type, move their fingers to give themselves reminders on a written spelling test. I like the book Keyboarding Skills because it quickly teaches children how to type the alphabet. Just as in cursive, children should say the letters aloud as they learn to type. The key is making sure the student says the letters and uses the CORRECT fingers. I let the child look at his fingers as he is learning. Although there are computer programs to learn to type, I have found that children with LDs often need a human encouraging them to use only the correct fingers and say the letters. Remember the goal isn't just typing but re-learning spelling. 

After a child knows all the lower case letters in cursive, or the correct fingers in keyboarding, let them practice the alphabet.  In cursive give them a model and some practice before you time them for a minute. On the keyboard have them practice without looking at the keys. Tell them if they finish, they should start over at "a". Most children are delighted how well they do and how quickly they improve within a minute. Another practice should be writing or typing spelling words while saying the letters. After writing or typing the word correctly two times, say, "Hands on home keys or pencil on line, close your eyes and begin. " These practices work best if they are short and frequent.

Despite predictions of no need for cursive or typing in the future, right now they are tools to open new doors for a child with LDs.  Children have at least 12 years of school facing them, and adults should work at giving them tools to make the journey enjoyable.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tykes and Technology

Many, many years ago I taught computer classes to grade school children.  This was a time when computers were new to the classroom. Most students were enchanted with computers,  and parents were bedazzled by a classroom filled with Apple IIc's. Fast forward to the present and parents are still enamored -- students not so much.

Yet our schools put more and more money into technology. It is estimated that over 2 billion  dollars is spent a year in K-5 public schools for technology. Having worked in private schools I know most parents love it if a school has smart boards, smart phones, computerized instruction, and a couple of computer/laptop labs. The reasons given for this enchantment include:
  1. My child is being prepared for the future.
  2. My child has access to this at home, so he will get bored if he doesn't get it at school
  3. It looks so cool.
  4. It can be individualized and she can learn at her own pace!
  5. He can go to places and see things through that computer that he couldn't do with just a teacher and books.
Let's consider these reasons:

1. Preparing for the future? The technology will change before your kindergartner reaches middle school.

2. Has it at home? Why yes, and your nine-year-old  is no longer fascinated by it at school. In fact she may be bored and annoyed that school doesn't let her play the neat games she has on her personal tablet.

3. It looks cool. You are right, it does! Just as cool as a butterfly coming out of a chrysalis, or the new wooden castle on the playground, or many of the other delights a child might find in a school.

4. It can be individualized. Maybe. It depends on the program, the teacher, and the school. Remember an individualized program isn't synonymous for an interesting program. The percent of completion by adults of online courses is reported at less than 7%.

5. Virtual field trips are fun! That can be great if a class takes a trip to Antarctica or Mozambique.  But a younger child might get more from a trip to a local site than an interactive TV show. 

Computer educators rave about the use of technology to help children create, control, and collaborate. Many schools, however, use technology to control, placate, and give the teachers a break. Does this mean technology is useless? Of course not.

Technology allows some children to bloom. It gives schools opportunities to open far away worlds to their students. Technology allows and encourages collaboration which may help students become interested in a project or responsible to a group. (The ones who don't, however, tend to bring down the group and create  kids who hate group work.) Technology never gets tired or bored and so can deliver structured, repetitive practice better than humans. (We won't talk about what repetitive movements do to a child's hands.) There are many pluses for using technology in schools.

For young children, however, technology isn't a substitute for good teachers and tactile materials. Children still like a human telling them they are doing something correctly. They still need someone who notices they are having trouble understanding or are having a bad day. Children need to touch, and move, and make messes. They need to focus up close at an ant and look far to the distant clouds. Too much screen time can upset a sleep cycle, or take time from playing with others, or make one a couch potato.

Technology is not going anywhere, but parents and teachers need to communicate how much time a child spends in front of a bright screen at home as well as school. We shouldn't be beguiled by the hype presented by companies that are becoming rich through selling their newest technology to our schools. Those who worry about the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of children know that children should have more than the virtual worlds presented by technology.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Remediation vs. Modification

If your child has learning differences (LDs) a school may offer remediation or modifications. Remediation is re-teaching a skill in the hope that the child will learn to read, write, or improve in math. Modifications are actions done to help a child work around the absence of a specific skill.

In a perfect world a child would receive remediation to improve a poor skill and modifications to insure that he is able to keep up with the rest of the curriculum. A poor reader would be in a reading remediation program, and be given modifications for the reading required for math or science class. Modifications might include more time for tests, a scribe to copy items off the board, books on tape, or a word bank for a test.

Modifications are not a replacement for remediation. The Orton Gullingham method (a structured, multi-sensory, language-based method that stresses phonics) is often suggested for a child with dyslexia. This method usually includes writing and spelling instruction. This program, and variations of it, are offered at many schools and private tutoring services.

A child with a math learning difference, dyscalculia, is often offered tutoring. While it is true some children need a quick round of tutoring to get through a new concept such as long division or a new class such as algebra, a child with dyscalculia needs a different method of teaching. Currently there is not as much research on teaching methods for math learning differences as there is for dyslexia. Schools may offer a resource program that is little more than a repeat of what is given in the  "regular" math class.  Some parents seek out private math programs such as Kumon Math.

It would be great if all that was needed was a quick round of remediation to help a child with LDs be successful at academics. Unfortunately, much can go awry. A school may not offer true remediation but rather some help in a resource room. Schools may suggest remediation but don't really remediate through a different method of teaching. Some children end up being dropped into a program, taken out when test scores improve, and then dropped in again 18 month latter when scores go down. Sometimes the resource room is a place for learning problems and behavioral problems and may have many interruptions to the learning environment. Often remediation programs are given to a group of students with widely different LDs. Some children in the program may need much longer period of time to learn or a different method of remediation than their classmates.

The best remediation is individualized for the child. It should offer a different method of teaching than what child has had in the past and extra time to learn the material. It should enable a child to learn that she can succeed in that subject.  

Finally, remember your child is a person. He is not a learning difference. Find areas in life where he can shine such as sports, art, theater, or cooking. Be proud of a child's kindness, creativity, or ability to find the humor in a situation. Many successful adults had to overcome difficult obstacles in their childhood.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Things Change  

I have written about academic expectations for the young child. The following link gives a glimpse of how expectations change with time.  1979 first grade expectations  I found it interesting that 35 years ago we expected more independence and less academic abilities from our 6-year-olds. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fingers and Math

I doubt there is anyone who has not used their fingers sometime when figuring a math problem. Some people will tell a child not to use their fingers, but I encourage it for the younger child. Using fingers helps a child feel math.

If your child (1st - 4th grade) is having trouble with arithmetic, ask him to hold up seven fingers. If he can do this without counting, ask him to hold up seven fingers without holding up all the fingers on either hand. I have seen five-year-old children do this easily and nine-year-olds who had to count their fingers to show the correct number of digits!

If your child had a difficult time with the above exercise, and is over five, here are some hints to help her feel numbers.
  • Call out a number and have your child practice holding up the correct number of  fingers.  Start easy: 1, 2, 5 and 10. Go to 6, 9  and 3. Next try 4 and 8 and finally 7.  
  • See if they can demonstrate the even numbers two different ways. For example: 6 is 5 and 1 and also 3 fingers on each hand.
  • Write a number and see how quickly a child can show it on his fingers.  
  • Have your child do the first three activities under a table or in some way so she can't see her fingers.
  • Hold up a number of fingers and have your child say how many fingers she sees.  
  • Hold up a number of fingers and have your child quickly write the number.
  • Practice addition facts with answers of 10 or below using fingers.
  • Practice subtraction facts with top number 10 or below using fingers.
All activities should be done as quickly as possible. These are short activities. Many can be done for two to three minutes in waiting rooms, at restaurants, etc. They should be done frequently until your child has mastered them.

After a child has a feel for the numbers 1 through 10 he can learn to add a larger number using his fingers.  For the problem 13 + 5.  Gently tap the table with a closed fist and say 13, then open your fist and count up 5 fingers 14, 15 ,16 ,17 18. This does not eliminate the need to memorize math facts. It is a method to demonstrate the concept and give your child some initial tools if needed.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Start with the Vowel

(One of the Best Tips in this Blog!)

Quick Reading and Spelling Tips

When a child mispronounces a short word or doesn't even attempt to read it, we are inclined to tell that child to "Sound it out."  The child then dutifully starts at the beginning of the word and will say ca -aa- kaa - eee?   The problem is usually the vowel sounds. So here is one of the best hints I have found for poor readers.

Sound it out from the vowel!

A prerequisite for this method is that a child has to recognize vowels and know their sounds. For children with learning differences (LDs) exposure to a rule does not mean they will apply the rule while reading. Sounding out starting with the vowel gives a child practice in applying the rule. 

As an example we will use the words:  spit, split, and spite.

Start from the vowel and read to the end of the word. (see how-to examples below) Some children may need to be reminded of the rule: vowel consonant e (examples ake, ope, ite, ute ) makes the vowel long (say its own name) and the e is silent.  Most children will see this pattern if the vowel is read first. Then go back letter by letter to read the entire word.

  • spit is read:  it,  pit,  spit
  • split is read:  it,  lit,  plit,  split  (Reading it this way helps a child who might have difficulty with blending the consonants spl at the beginning of this word)
  • spite is read:  ite,  pite,  spite
As a child's reading improves this method can be applied to multi-syllable words. Obviously, a word has to be phonetic when using this method. This method wouldn't be used with non-phonetic words such as once or where.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Expectational Awareness

School is easier for all children if they know what teachers expect. This post is about behavioral expectations in the classroom.

If a teacher likes you, or at least doesn't dislike you, the day will be better. You can help your child have a good day.

School is a group activity. Have you ever been to a birthday party with eight screaming children running around?  That is usually less than half the number of students in many elementary classrooms. Good teachers are excellent group managers. They spend a great deal of time at the beginning of the year showing children what to do and rewarding their efforts. Unfortunately, your child is not guaranteed a great teacher every year, any more than a teacher is guaranteed a great class. Your child can, however, contribute to making a positive learning environment.

Some major expectations for a student are to listen,  follow directions,  try to do the classwork independently, and to ask for help if it is needed.  

Listening is a prerequisite to following directions. When children are spoken to by an adult, they need to stop what they are doing and look at the adult. This simple act helps a child understand what is being said. 

Listening to directions, however, does not always mean a child can follow them. The younger the child, the simpler the directions need to be. Children who don't always stop another activity immediately and look at the teacher may end up missing the first part of a direction. Many  teachers repeat directions once or twice and/or write them on the board. This still requires a student to pay attention.

If a child has no idea what an instruction means, she needs to know to raise her hand and ask what to do. Tell your child to glance around before they ask. The actions of others may give a hint about what the teacher just said. Maybe the child didn't realize everyone had a spelling book out, but once he sees that, he knows what to do.

Every classroom seems to have one child wondering when recess is or unaware that math class is starting. The purpose for a day's schedule seems obvious to adults, but some children have no idea what a schedule is for.  By second grade a child should know that math follows lunch or that recess is in the afternoon. If there isn't a schedule posted in the classroom, the student should have one on their notebook or binder. 

Finally, remember  'school is a group activity', and a teacher cannot repeat instructions individually to every child in the class. A child needs to attempt the work on their own.

Some home hints to help your child:

  • Games such as Simon Says
  • Asking your child to look at you when you say something important
  • Asking your child to repeat what you said
  • Telling your child to look at his teacher when she talks to the class

Follow directions
  • Giving your young child simple two-step directions at home and have her repeat the directions 
  • Give your child oral (and if they are old enough written) directions on preparing to do homework. Example: Have two pencils that are sharp. Have your books and papers. Check to make sure you have other materials such as crayons or markers if needed.
  • Teach your child not to argue about every request. It is a bad habit to get into and whining or complaining will not be appreciated at school. A child who argues about a simple request usually is thinking about their argument rather than listening.

Attempt to complete work without help
  • Some children are very tentative about new things.  Encourage your child to try something that he has not done before, but give him help if he needs it.  
  • Praise your child for neat and complete work. Have reasonable age-appropriate expectations, but have expectations.
  • Encourage your child to do things on his own. He can work at getting ready for school, preparing a sack lunch or  rinsing his breakfast dishes. 
Ask for help
  • Most children have no problem asking a parent for help. but asking a teacher for help is difficult for some children. The easiest way to help a shy child is to give them some practice talking to adults outside of family members. 
  • Talk to the teacher if your child is very shy. A smile of encouragement, or praise when a child asks an appropriate question goes a long way to encourage asking for help. 

If a child is having problems in school, talk to the teacher about the above behaviors. If the child appears to be doing everything right, other areas need to be checked. Perhaps your child has difficulty hearing or seeing. Children with learning differences often have trouble following directions. Perhaps the teacher is new to teaching or new to teaching that age group. Perhaps there are major behavior issues with some other students in the class. 

Yes, there are several factors to consider if your child is having problems with learning. You need to be your child's advocate, but first make sure your child is aware of and follows classroom expectations.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Quick Reading and Spelling Tips -- QU

  • QU sounds like kw.
  • Q is almost always followed by a U in English words.
  • Exceptions to the rule are usually words from other languages. One example is the word Qatar. 

When reading, many young children confuse the words: quick, quite, and quiet. If they cover the 'qu' with a finger they should see that the words are phonemic. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Time is a constant haze which distorts our view of childhood. To a young father walking his crying infant, the night seems endless. At his daughter's college graduation the same father is amazed at how rapidly the years went by.

"Hurry up," insists a mother as her child dawdles getting ready in the morning. "Slow down," admonishes his teacher when the same child turns in a poorly written assignment.

Time places judgements on parents. "Many children make reversals. He's OK, mom. It is too early to put a label on him,"  is heard by the worried mother. 

"Here are the early signs of dyslexia. I wish we had caught it earlier. I can't believe her parents didn't notice!" are the murmurs heard after the diagnosis.

We live in a country in which the delight of the present is pushed aside by the worries for the future. A kindergartner is asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" A first grader is warned that she can't act like that in second grade. The third grader is cautioned that all the students know the multiplication facts in fourth grade. The fifth grader's year is permeated by the upcoming expectations of Middle School.

But we know childhood is made of precious time-stopping moments. Moments for delight in new experiences. A child's priceless look of wonder for all those things a teacher has shown her class every year--since caterpillars become chrysalis, and baking soda and vinegar turned into lava flowing out of paper mache volcanoes.

Let's remember to give each child :

Time to Learn. True learning takes time. One exposure to an idea isn't learning. To learn something takes time. For a child with learning differences it may take much more time than expected.

TIme to Understand. Sometimes things need to be explained differently. Sometimes they need to be shown. Sometimes they need to be delayed before true understanding is possible.

Time to Practice. Motor and cognitive skills are honed through practice. A child needs practice to throw a ball or write the letter Q. He also needs practice to write a coherent sentence and master subtraction.

Time to Relax.  A child may have difficulty with the question, "What did you do today?" but she still may feel tired, tense, hungry, or worried after school. A child needs time to get rid of the energy, listen to the quiet, or do whatever works for her to relax. 

Time to Slow Down. A child rushed to a multitude of activities needs time to ponder and experiment. Children truly do need to learn to smell the roses. Down time also helps a child learn self-discipline.

Time to Work. While many children are rushed through a day, too often they are given large breaks of time from academic learning. New skills in reading, writing and math get lost during a lazy summer. A travel journal, a good book, or a budget for the lemonade stand give time to understand, learn, and practice. 

And finally...

A Child Needs Time to be a Child. Children are not miniaturized adults. They do not need to be burdened with adult problems. They aren't here to fulfill our own unrealized dreams. They get hurt by minor slights and don't realize the seriousness of some situations. They act like children. That's okay, for with the passing of time they will become adults.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Random Reflections - Testing

According to The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)  only 32% of males and 38% of females in 4th grade scored proficient in reading on their 2013 test.  http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2013/#/ My first thought was who decides what is proficient at the 4th grade? Are our students really non-proficient or are the standards unrealistic? Someone, or a group of someones, had to decide what a 4th grader should be able to do.

Think about it: 4th graders probably range in age between 8 years 11 months to 10 years 9 months, depending on the state’s age requirements and a child’s birthday. This age grouping doesn’t take into account the child who was held back or who skipped a grade. The slow maturing 8-year-old is a far cry from the fast maturing 10-year-old. Published test results includes scores by race and poverty and (surprise!) that makes a difference in scores.

So I checked on the validity of this test. In other words, is it measuring what it says it measures?  A  2011 Washington post article quoted two experts associated with NAEP’s National Assessment Governing Board as saying, “The proficient achievement level does not refer to “at grade” performance. Nor is performance at the Proficient level synonymous with ‘proficiency’ in the subject. That is, students who may be considered proficient in a subject, given the common usage of the term, might not satisfy the requirements for performance at the NAEP achievement level.”

According to Fair Test http://fairtest.org/naep-fair-and-valid-benchmark  “The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) oversaw setting of NAEP levels. A set of experts hired to evaluate the results were fired after sharply criticized the levels-setting process. Subsequently, the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Education, General Accounting Office and many independent researchers all reached the same conclusion: the levels-setting process was flawed.”

My personal opinion is our school children are exchanging valuable learning time for testing prep and test taking. This in only one test (for which our government has spent billions on in the last 20 years), but how many other state and national tests have proficiency levels determined by some faceless group, many of whom have never worked in a classroom or even meet a 4th grader?

The sad thing is I believe many children are not getting the education they need. However, to   build on the quote “Quality cannot not be tested into a product,” I would say it also can’t be tested into a child.

Monday, March 2, 2015

How Well Do You Spell?

If reading is divided into word calling and comprehension, elementary spelling can be divided into spelling tests and application. After working a week on the words many a child can spell them correctly on Friday. The next week, however, when writing a sentence the same words are misspelled. This post is focused on the weekly spelling test. This doesn’t mean you can’t help your child be successful on the weekly spelling test. Teachers often schedule daily spelling homework. Sometimes it is a given that Monday is definitions, and Tuesday is sentences. Other teachers have a variety of activities from which to chose.
Some children are naturally gifted spellers. You know the ones who win spelling bees with words such as  cymotrichous or appoggiatura. Spelling ability does have a genetic component to it.  "Around 60 percent of the variation in the ability to spell lies in our genes," says Tony Monaco, a scientist at the Wellcome Centre Trust for Human Genetics at Oxford University.  http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/7449

It is important to realize that spelling homework is not the same as studying to learn the words. If you want to help your child learn the words for the weekly test, remember children often have a specific way they learn new items.
A visual learner needs to see the words. They are students who look at a word and decide if it looks correct or not. The auditory child focuses on hearing the sounds. The may do best spelling orally to themselves as they write the word. The tactile learner is helped by feeling the word. This child might practice writing the words in sand or shaving cream. That does not mean that a child should only use one method to learn. However, it is the best way for a child to learn that difficult word that just won’t stick.
Another way to remember a difficult word is to give the child some hook to help learn a word.  For example, a child who doesn't remember if ‘their’ is spelled with ei or ie might be told that all three  theres (they’re, their and there) start with the letters “t h e”.  That makes the ei easier to remember.  
Using fingers to count out the sounds helps some children, but they first must have the ability to break a word down into sounds.
One way to use fingers to count out sounds is as follows:
  • Sit next to your child.
  • To spell cat, start with your left little finger and tap it for c, tap the next finger for a and the next finger for t.  Then have your child do it with you.
  • For a word in which one sound is made by two letters,  tap two fingers together.  Example DUCK  - little finger tap d, next finger u and next two fingers for the k sound or ck.
  • Have your child do it with you.
Several other tricks to spelling the sounds with fingers, as well as spelling rules, will be covered in future posts.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Random Reflections

I guess reflections, physical or mental, aren’t random; but alliteration is always catchy in a title.

I have lousy vision - 20/200 to be exact. I tend to be a visual learner, which makes me wonder how many children with bad vision are visual learners. I also wonder how many children with numerous ear infections are auditory learners. Maybe mother nature is more ironic than we realize.

When I became a teacher I was surprised at the many rules for spelling and math. Were those rules not taught when I was a child, or was I just not paying attention?

Many adults are delighted to learn that there is a rule when to use c, k, or ck or to discover some other spelling guideline now being taught. But we are looking at these rules with adult minds. Obviously the rule helps some students. I have a feeling, however, many children hear the rule and view it only as another thing their teacher wants them to learn. They don’t see the connection to what they are doing. That ah ha moment, ”I get it now!” comes several weeks, or even several years after it was taught.