Saturday, April 19, 2014

In This Place

A few books arrived in the mail today. Sequential Spelling and Explode the Code. Not exactly Waldorf. At all. So...why are they on my table?


When E was younger, I used to freak out a little that he couldn't do this or that and shove a workbook or two at him. Gave him some forced direct instruction. Stuff his peers were getting. He should know this. All 8-year-olds should know this.....right? I didn't trust in the process. I didn't leave well enough alone. And it backfired every. single. time.


Which makes it all the stranger that these books are here. Except remember we use Teaching Textbooks for E's math. That's not Waldorf. That's on the computer- as far from Waldorf as one can get. Our move to Teaching Textbooks happened after much, much, MUCH thought, prayer, and careful consideration. It wasn't a move made out of fear, as the workbooks and forced instruction were. It was (and is) a success.


Likewise, these books have been in the back (and front) of my mind for a while now.


I've had many discussions with E about spelling. He gets a bit frustrated when he tries to use a search engine and has become interested in riddles and puns that play with homonyms/homophones, so I started thinking that perhaps it is time to give some extra attention to spelling. He is ten now and reads, reads, reads, but the words don't transfer from reading to writing for him. I looked into different approaches and showed him a few informational videos. The one that spoke to him was Sequential Spelling. No busywork, no lists based only on length of word. This approach takes a sound and builds (quite quickly) on it. Tests every day, each word corrected immediately before moving on to the next word. Working with sound and meaning. E isn't excited to begin, but he is looking forward to better spelling.


This program can be used for first graders on up, so am I also doing it with e? Absolutely not. E is ten. TEN. He is in a very different stage of development than e. e is just beginning her journey.


Explode the Code is for e. She can read. We've been reading Mouse Soup and Little Bear together. The only thing stopping her is confidence. (I think....she has en eye appt next week to make sure!)


Explode the Code is generally for teaching phonics rules. It is designed for the child to work through independently, and has plenty of silliness worked in to keep it light. I used this program successfully when I taught children with learning disabilities, and completely UNsuccessfully with E. Forcing it on E was out of fear (my 2nd grader can't read!!) and not well-thought-out. Explode the Code uses logic (pick the word that fits in this sentence). My E finds great joy in arguing common logic and would not pick the right word, EVER. I don't think we got beyond the third set of pages.


But back to e. She doesn't need the instruction; as I said, she can read. She just doesn't believe she can read. Sort of. It's complicated. :) The bottom line is that she needs a confidence-booster. My expectation is that she will find Explode the Code quite silly (as in funny) and easily work her way through it. It is not new material. If she doesn't like it, out it goes. Trial and error.


So here we are, in this place. I see us moving away from our unschoolish ways, guided more and more by Waldorf philosophy....and yet not. Blessed to be in a country where we have the freedom to homeschool with the method and curriculum of our choice.


Now to plan these last two months of first in the world is my baby almost seven?

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