Dictation skills help in many areas of your child’s schooling!
One of my absolute favorite Charlotte Mason-style teaching strategies is the way she uses studied dictation. This is because studied dictation encompasses so many skills within a short session.
What skills are included within a studied dictation lesson?
Before the dictating begins, studying the passage first encourages students to picture correct spelling and punctuation on their mental blackboards. As the passage is dictated, students hone their auditory and verbal skills as they listen and repeat the passage before writing. Correcting their own passage by checking it against a correctly written model practices proofreading skills. Immediately fixing any mistakes means errors in spelling take less root in the child’s mind. Repeating a missed passage once daily until it is written correctly helps students replace an incorrect model with a correct model in their mind. Through the studied dictation process, your children are learning spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills too.
How can you help your children carry dictation skills over into their written work?
Once your children are making progress in dictation, it is time to begin helping them carry these skills over to their written work. One easy way to help students do this is to begin having them read aloud to you anything they write for school. As they read aloud what they have written, they will begin to catch some very noticeable mistakes. These obvious mistakes usually include missing words, double words, or very long run-on sentences with no punctuation. As students read aloud their written work, it is important that you are next to them with your pencil in hand. As they read, gently point out a few things to add. Often these things include missing words, periods, capital letters, commas, and question marks.
How can you address incorrect spelling in written work?
After your child has read aloud his written work, go back and write in pencil the correct spelling above any word that needs fixing. Then, have your child erase the incorrect word, copy your correct spelling in its place, and then erase your word (leaving a clean copy). If you do this regularly, your child will start to notice errors more and more on his own.
Proofreading takes training.
Proofreading takes training, just like anything else. It doesn’t happen naturally. One side note of this process is that you may see the volume of your child’s writing decline for awhile. This is alright, as it is honestly better to produce less quantity that is well-done than volumes written poorly. So, try having your child read aloud his writing today, and let the training begin!
Make the best of the time you have left before school begins.
Do you feel the lazy days of summer beginning to wane? Are you getting closer to the official start of the school year? If so, this week’s tip encourages you to make the best of the time you have left before school begins again.
Begin developing habits, setting routines, and doing some skill practice.
The end of summer is a terrific time to take a couple of weeks to ease into the school year. It is a time to begin developing habits, setting routines, and doing some skill practice. So, here are a few ideas for each of these areas!
What are few habits to begin developing?
Habits take awhile to form, so why not begin now before the busy school schedule begins? I will just mention a few habits we need to work on at our house. Hopefully, this will get you thinking about habits you could work on with your children. Maybe your children need to work on basic habits like teeth brushing or making their beds. Perhaps your kiddos need to set a regular wake time to get up each morning. Or, maybe your kiddos need to work toward getting to bed a bit earlier in preparation for school. It could be that the habit of first-time obedience has fallen by the wayside and needs to be picked up again. There are so many habits worth developing. Simply pick the ones that bother you most and begin!
Which routines are worth putting in place?
Routines help school move along much more quickly. It is worth taking a few moments before school begins to see if you have needed routines in place. I always take a few weeks to ponder my routines for things like laundry, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and chores. If I don’t have a good routine for each of these areas, our school day can quickly derail. Check your own routines in these areas to see if they need tweaking. It will be worth it once school begins!
How do I decide which skills are worth practicing?
Skill practice doesn’t have to be time-consuming to work! As you prepare for the school year, perhaps there are a few skills that it would be wise to begin practicing now. Skills like math fact practice can be done in a just a few minutes a day. It can be as easy as having your child whip through a set of flashcards or practice an online fact practice game. Typing is another area that benefits from a refresher. Typing Instructor is great for typing practice. We have our kiddos practice 10- 15 minutes a day in the summer. Sustained silent reading is another easy area to practice. We have our kiddos read silently for 30 minutes a day. They can read on their own or at bedtime. You can even join your children and read your own book silently as they read to be sure it gets done!
Pick and choose a few areas that need work.
Rather than trying to work on everything, pick a few areas that bother you the most. Begin with those areas first. Be sure not to overwhelm either you or your children with too much at once. Just pick a few key areas. You can always work on the other areas as school gets underway.
A Charlotte Mason Moment:
“The power of reading with perfect attention will not be gained by the child who is allowed to moon over his lessons. For this reason, reading lessons must be short; ten minutes or a quarter of an hour of fixed attention is enough for children of the ages we have in view, and a lesson of this length will enable a child to cover two or three pages of his book. The same rule as to the length of a lesson applies to children whose lessons are read to them because they are not yet able to read for themselves.”
(Home Education by Charlotte M. Mason Vol. 1, p. 230)
The Habit of Attention
A Charlotte Mason Moment
“The habit of work, the power of work, rapidity in work, the set of the will to a given task, are ‘the making’ of man and woman; that the boy who has done the definite work necessary to pass a given examination is, other things being equal, worth twenty per cent more than he who has not been able to pull his forces together.” (Home Education by Charlotte M. Mason Vol. 5, p. 180).
Summer is good time to work on keyboarding skills.
Summer is a wonderful time to work on skills that will help your child during the school year. One skill that we’ve worked on with our older kiddos during the summer is keyboarding.
How much time is needed to see progress?
It is amazing how much progress can be made with just 10-15 min. of steady practice each day. We set a timer and have our older boys practice typing Monday-Friday during the summer months.
What can you use to teach keyboarding?
We happen to use and enjoy Typing Instructor, but you can use any program that works well for your family. Just be sure that your kiddos are placing their fingers in the correct positions on the keyboard.
What are the benefits?
Strong keyboarding skills are a huge help during the school year as students type their essays and writing projects! Teach it this summer and reap the rewards when school rolls around again.
Does everyone homeschool year-round?