Just so you know: this is not a paid, nor an intentional advertising post for All About Spelling - it's a post about our journey to date with this spelling curriculum.
Here goes ......
Daisy (9) has completed her All About Spelling book after a good 12 month stretch of steady go, pause, restart, go, pause, back up, pause, go, pause, etc.
Monday rolled around and she mastered all the review and nailed the last lesson down!!! No pause, or back up, or restart - just nailed it.
I was so excited, and pleased, and proud, and thankful. Our Monday was a pretty high emotional buzzy sort of day in our house.
Why such emotion over completing a spelling book?
Well, Daisy who is a very strong reader and skilled at narrations struggled with spelling. Spelling was just flat-out hard work for her, so I went looking for a spelling guide (a good while back) to help me to teach her with tools that would encourage memory retention, was hands on, systematic, and interactive with a capital *I*.
The tools that work for her; little coloured tiles, rules with review, cards to handle and shuffle, a white board and marker, a mumma right there "helping", and a lessons completed chart to colour -those tools would have to include ones that make me struggle as a teacher to use. All those tiles and index cards; and a semi scripted text (shudder).
The process used in All About Spelling is just the extreme opposite to how I learn or like to teach. But the issue at hand was not about me and my preferences. The issue was using what works for Daisy, to help her to start mastering spelling.
After going back and forth, and reading through Merry of Hope for Homeschooling's sonlight forum posts, which detailed her success with All About Spelling, I caved in on a really rough spelling week and made a desperation purchase.
♥Thanks Merry, your posts and generous advice have been such a help to us!♥
Product then in hand, I sat down to cut up and assemble all those "lovely" AAS titles and organised the cards.
AAS was my hair shirt - I did not enjoy using it - Daisy loved it! She started to make small spelling leaps forward using AAS so ........ I gritted my teeth and carried on.
I've slowly adjusted the way I use AAS (sipping aromatic cups of coffee also helps) and it's no longer a hair shirt, just a necessary part of my spelling journey with Daisy.
The learning area that has been the hardest for Daisy is the subject she enjoys doing with mum the most. She thinks spelling is fun - we do laugh a lot through her spelling lessons; one of *her* favourite spelling rules, she made it up, was " If in doubt try 'e' ".
Success leaves such a sweet taste in one's mouth too, and that has helped to make AAS a favourite time of her day.
For anyone wondering about the benefits of using a program that seems to have so many pieces and parts, and incorporates so much review - if your child is like Daisy, for whom spelling is a very tricky logic puzzle, All About Spelling may be an option for you to seriously consider.
We've used the same program for Jay, our natural speller, as a rules based and overview tool. No fussing around with tiles, just the white board, the book (an occasional card), and a good deal of auditory interaction. Great program when you can use it this way ☺).
2012 UPDATE: Daisy has found her platform and is completing a lesson a day (!!!) in her AAS book this year. Having a solid base, of all those rules, means she is now able to think in syllabic chunks and apply the rules to each syllable to master them.
I'm one very happy marmee .... & no, I'm still not fussed on using this program ☺, yet the benefits are huge so I persevere.
2013 UPDATE: Daisy is completing a lesson over a 2 day stretch and is applying the rules she has learnt in AAS to edit her own personal diary entries. I am so proud of her and her steady progress; and yes, spelling is still a subject she 'works at' but is mastering - from one AAS book to the next AAS book.
ETA 1: A quick post about using AAS, and spelling in general, with our older student.
ETA 2: For those looking for an AAS New Zealand supplier, Engaging Minds is an agent.