Today’s guest post comes from Merry Marinello, a homeschool mom who uses All About Spelling with her own kids and is part of our Customer Care team.
As a Customer Care rep for All About Learning Press, I think I have one of the best jobs in the world – talking to other moms about teaching their kids how to read and spell.
Moms often ask me what a typical day with All About Spelling is like. I thought it might be helpful to show what happens in our homeschool and give you a peek inside our lessons.
Right now we’re in Level 6, and a step (lesson) usually takes us a week to complete. (In the early days, a step often took only 1-3 days. We went through Level 1 in about three weeks because my kids were older and already had all the words memorized – they just needed to learn the concepts.)
Here’s how we divide up our week:
I actually set a timer for the lessons: 15 minutes for my seventh grader and 20 minutes for my ninth grader. Each day starts with 2-5 minutes of review. Here I am trying to review the Phonogram Cards with my jokester.
After the review, we begin the New Teaching section. This section is scripted, so I know immediately how to demonstrate new concepts with the letter tiles on the magnet board.
When my kids were younger, we set the magnet board against the wall or couch because I didn’t have room to hang it in our school area. After the first year, I realized I could reorient the tiles vertically, so now the magnet board hangs on a nearby closet door.
I make sure that the new material we covered yesterday is totally understood, and we do our 2-5 minutes of review. Then it’s time to meet the ten new spelling words.
I dictate the new spelling words and several sentences that contain the spelling words. After the dictation, I put the new Word Cards behind the Daily Review tab in the Spelling Review Box so we can review them tomorrow.
All About Spelling has a philosophy of “we don’t just teach it and forget it,” which I totally appreciate. I mean, after I put in the time to teach my kids something, I want to make sure that they remember it later, and that’s where the built-in review really helps.
We review older flashcards with just a couple of the new ones mixed in, because I like to spread the new ones out over a few days. Then we quickly review the new concept we’ve been studying, followed by reinforcement words from the More Words section and more of the dictation exercises. If my kids miss any of the reinforcement words, I make Word Cards for them and put them behind the Daily Review tab.
Here’s where we fit in the Writing Station activity (which starts in Level 3 of the program.)
In the Writing Station, students make up their own sentences with words that are dictated to them. Sometimes my kids like to make a little story using the words, sometimes they try to be funny, and sometimes they try to squeeze all the words into just one sentence! Here’s one that my daughter wrote:
This exercise makes a nice bridge between dictation and longer writing assignments that kids will do outside of spelling. I love how AAS gradually prepares kids for writing.
Whatever we don’t get done on Days 1-4, we complete on Day 5.
If my children misspelled words in the dictation exercises during the week, I tucked those Word Cards behind the Review divider. If any concept needs to be re-taught, now’s the time to do it before we move on to the next step of the program. All About Spelling is mastery-based, so if my kids are confused about something, we fix it before moving ahead to the next lesson.
So that’s our typical week with All About Spelling. You may go faster or slower depending on your child’s needs and ability…and that’s the beauty of using a fully customizable program!
What about you? Are your days with AAS similar to mine?