Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Too complicated!

A picture of clouds that have nothing to do with the post.  : )

I had a week off planned for last week. (End of term break) The week before that I was convinced we didn't need a break and should just work on and take it later in the month (or days as needed). But, God made it very clear within hours of deciding no break that we certainly needed it. He even told me I needed to start my break early and  have the boys only do independent work for the rest of that week. ; ) Seriously! We even extended our break an extra day when our field trip was canceled due to snow (Tyler did do a math lesson).

I was really not looking forward to school today. I haven't sat down to teach a lesson in well over a week. I enjoyed the time off! We really spent a lot of time at home "resting". I wasn't as productive as I hoped but maybe it was suppose to be a time spent on thinking through things, which is was.

The day started off bad (no morning basket since the alarm didn't get set, bad attitudes in math, teenager telling me we shouldn't do spelling and math first thing even though that is how we've done it all year, 10 yo telling me that he isn't in a math mood today, etc.) and by afternoon my mind was in an uproar. 

Why is this so complicated? We just need simple! 

We are doing a writing program and spelling program and they are both complicated and take a lot of time. These methods are certainly not Charlotte Mason approved. 

Are they helping? No, they are not. Especially the spelling. I'm spending 50 minutes a day teaching spelling and it's not making much difference. The time spent is not justified. 

I gave up on Caleb's writing program a couple of weeks ago but I had printed out some sample lessons to try of another. It was just too much busy work. I had planned to work on it with Caleb today and read through it and was overwhelmed. I finally got to the main reason of the lesson and it was to write a narration and make sure it had a beginning, middle, and end. So, we did that for a book he read just before the writing lesson. Simple! 

I know what Caleb needs to work on to improve his writings. I don't know why I think we have to have a program to do this (at least before high school). Especially programs that are meant to be done everyday, the whole school year, every year. There are simpler methods with equal results. I had a good writing education from my public school (one of the few things I learned!) and we didn't have a "program". I'm not a great writer but I went to college and was able to write at that level that was expected of me.

Where do we go from here? I imagine we will keep spelling simple with just using dictation. We haven't had much luck with dictation in the past but at least it will only take me about 10 minutes a day to teach instead of 50 with the same results.

Writing I'm a little less uncertain. We will work on improving written narrations and I think this will be perfect and exactly what the boys need in this season. Oh, and lots of rich reading!

I don't think I would have realized all of this unless I had my mind off daily lesson as long as I did.



  1. Love reading your thoughts, going through something similar myself.
    We ditched WWS cause daughter hated it, which was a same as I thought it had potential
    re dictation, we did it for years but wasn't quite coming together and then... Jen's method filled in the missing parts
    We were consistent with dictation with my newly graduated son in his last couple of years and he went from a terrible speller to a reasonably decent one (though we won't talk about handwriting)

    1. Erin, I'm glad to hear results from a few years of dictation. I know my youngest will be successful with dictation. My oldest, who has tried dictation before, struggles with it and that was the reason we went to a spelling program. Perhaps I just need to give it years! I've learned a ton about spelling in the last 7 years and feel more confident in using dictation now. I can usually explain why a word is spelled the way it is (not always though) and I couldn't have done that 7 years ago!


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