I’ve got 5 boys and 1 girl. If there is one thing I have learned after having all of these boys especially, they don’t mind reading by the time they hit third or fourth grade, but they do not like to write, at least through their grade school and middle school years. As parents we have discussed their reluctance and have wanted to see them improve in their hand-writing and spelling skills. The kids say that “writing is not fun”. But I think it is not fun because spelling and English gramatical rules can be challenging. I am hoping their desire to write will change as they get older.
Thankfully there are companies creating fun products that can bridge the gap and inspire kids to write more and feel confident about their writing and spelling skills. We were asked to review a spelling and writing curriculum called Ancient Achievements (Level F) by Spelling You See.
Contains 3 soft cover books:
Instructors Manual $14,
and Student Workbook 1 and 2 and colored pencils for $30.
In Ancient Achievements, kids read about ancient events and far away places and build their excitement as they gain new skills with each story. The stories work as a bridge to get your student from point “A” to point “B” in their learning and helps them go from the Skill Development Stage to the Word Extension stage of spelling. Kids gain experience reading and writing and improve their basic spelling skills while learning interesting facts.
This curriculum contains 36 weekly lessons with nonfiction stories. Students need the colored pencils or highlighters and a regular pencil to complete the workbook assignments.
Historical subjects kids will read about in their workbooks cover a wide range including cave paintings, Viking ships, historical writing systems, the production of silk in China, mountain terraces in the Philippines, Marco Polo, Incan counting systems, archery and the English longbow, and more.
Three central activities are repeated through out this this curriculum and are the basis for the learning method of Spelling You See:
chunking – provides hands-on experience with irregular letter patterns
copywork – requires the brain to pay attention to written details
dictation – gives an opportunity to demonstrate decoding and encoding in a meaningful context.
The instructors manual is very helpful with an over view of the program, a getting started guide with layout of the lessons, a color coded answer key for each lesson, and more.
How we used this in our home:
I used Ancient Achievements with my son. He wasn’t to sure he wanted to do it, but I told him it was a must because his Dad and I want to see his handwriting and spelling improve. So he reluctantly agreed as long as I would let him work on it sitting on the couch. Fine by me, whatever works to help him be successful is what I say, and that is the beauty of homeschooling. Kids have the flexibility to learn the way they enjoy and are comfortable. I am really glad he was willing to give this a try, even on the couch, because it turns out he likes it and is self motivated to work on it! That is music to my ears!
This curriculum covers 36 weeks of learning and is to be done 5 days each week. The student activities for each day of the week Monday – Friday are labeled week 1A, week 1B, week 1C, week 1D, week 1E, in the student workbook and every week follows this same pattern. The assignments are somewhat repetitive and each lesson builds a new skill onto the last assignment.
Each week for the “A” assignment, he has a passage about ancient events or cultures to read aloud to me (or the instructor) and I help him with any words that are difficult for him to pronounce.
Letter paterns in the stories are assigned a color code. Then he is to go through the story and use the color code to “chunk” the patterns. This helps the student recognize letter patterns.
Each day of the week he re-reads the passage again and does the copy work assignment again. For the next 2 days, “B”, “C”, and he re-reads the passages each day and re-writes (copies) the story onto pre-printed lines on the facing page the best he can in 10 minutes just as he did on the first day. Then he is to mark the chunking patterns again like he did on the first day.
On day “C” he also completes the Spotlight activity in his workbook. It introduces him to ryhming words and associates words with similar patterns. It points out interesting facts about words that he didn’t know before. Such as not all ryhming words have matching letters, even though they often do. It also shows him how endings are added to words, and word relationships that can help him with spelling. The Spotlight helps him pay closer attention.
On the last two days of the week, day “D” and “E”, he is to write the passage from dictation. He is allowed to ask for help if needed on day “D”, but must complete day “E” without asking for help.
He is enjoying writing and learning spelling patterns with this curriculum. This is a whole new approach for our family and I can see this practice with chunking, cop-work, and dictation is very beneficial in addition to being fun to read the variety of stories. I would like to use additional levels of Spelling You See with my other children as I think this method of learning spelling patterns would benefit our whole family.
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