Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Third Grade: Handwriting/Copywork and Spelling

In our homeschool, we still need to spend some time working on handwriting and continuing to develop some of those motor skills.  We tend to work on these skills while practicing our memory work through copying.  Every day, Jonathan works on a copywork assignment that may be our history sentence for the week, a section of our Scripture passage, or some other statement or passage we are working on committing to memory.

I mentioned before that I use the Start Write software.  I really like this software because I can type anything I want, choose a font and line styles, and print my own handwriting pages.  I can even save them, so I can print them over and over.  The lines make it a bit easier to focus on forming the letters properly while copying things.  I don't know when we will graduate from using the lines, but it may be a little while yet.

At times, we copy sentences and passages and focus on reviewing punctuation and capitalization, but usually we work on those things more during out English grammar time.  We still pay close attention to them whenever we are doing copywork because we learn from following the example of the passages...and through repetition.

We did begin the year with one of the Classically Cursive handwriting primers from Veritas Press to solidify some of those cursive strokes.  You could really do something like this on your own, but it was worth the expense to me to have one less thing to come up with on my own.  I wish I had started with some of their books sooner.

Spelling is an interesting subject for us, and we honestly don't spend a ton of time on it.  Jonathan is naturally a pretty good speller.  Any struggle he has with spelling comes when he is forming words as he is writing.  Because of this, we are working through the Spelling Plus word lists focusing on memorizing the phonics rules.  We work on the lists and test on the words, but we really focus on those spelling rules for long term success.

Because I am trying to help Jonathan get better at spelling words correctly as he is writing, we focus on dictation one day a week.  On Thursdays, I dictate several sentences that contain spelling words for him to write.  Sometimes I use the Dictation Plus companion to the spelling book, but often I just make them up.  We focus on correct spelling as well as good overall mechanics in the sentences.

The Dictation Plus book is a great reference for a lot of basic information you may need to know about mechanics.  It's worth looking at if you might use something like that, but I have found that the CC EEL guide has just as much good information if you have access to that.

I am still thinking through how I will approach this subject with Benjamin if he performs similarly with spelling, so I may have some other ideas to share about that int he fall.

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