When Koala was seven I heard of Charlotte Mason for the first time, her ideas resonated with me, in particular her teaching on Language Arts and Living Books. At nine Koala began dictation lessons, they have long been part of our learning.
Over the years we have used various resources, Bible passages, Psalms, Catechism questions, a current read aloud, excerpts from the Queensland School Readers(excellent quality literature) and more recently we have purchased Spelling Wisdom. The quality of literature in these books is incredible and truthfully they are making our days flow far smoother.
Despite years of dictation though, I still felt we were missing the result I desired. The habit of attention, discipline, attention to detail, an attitude of caring about the final result was still escaping us. Excellent spelling and punctuation were still a little elusive, the connection between sounds and the written word, the basics of punctuation were still not what they should be, for some children more than others.
When I read my friend Jen’s Language Arts posts I finally knew I had found the ‘missing link’ (perhaps had I re-read CM’s writings I would have found my answer sooner, hmm.)
Corrections we have made to our dictation lessons now include; the children studying the lesson the day prior, we discuss the passage and write difficult words on the whiteboard, being sure to make syllable breaks, underline phonograms and discuss spelling rules, we also take care to note punctuation and I carefully watch and ensure I stop the children immediately if they begin to incorrectly spell a word.
I am now far more disciplined and deliberate about our dictation lessons; I insist on correct punctuation and spelling and we are slowly working on the habit of attention. For the first time in thirteen years of homeschooling I finally can see real progress in this area:)