Posted by: Cid | August 30, 2009

Thinking outside the book…or…”How can I still be stuck in that box?”

so…..DC mentioned awhile back that he’d like to be a better “speller”.  So I, in all my schooled-self wisdom, got online and ordered a spelling book that had been mentioned in conversations at the park. The said book came in the mail, I showed it to my son…we leafed through the booooooooooooring pages and set it aside (to come back to it later, of course!) Since the book was not interesting or fun to either of us, it stayed where we put it. For weeks.

A couple of days ago, DC mentioned spelling again…as we were driving home from a friend’s house. I suggested we get out ‘the book’ and he says “nah, I threw that away.”    uh, WHAT? (caution: this is not one of my better parenting moments coming up)

“Buddy, I spent like $15 on that book and we hadn’t even used it yet! Next time, just give it back to me and we’ll donate to the co-op or something…” I said in that disappointed tone I remember from childhood. Blah, blah, blah…I continued spewing forth parental wisdom for another minute or two. The result- he is upset, I am upset…all over a $15 book!

Finally, my loving, rational parent voice makes her way back to my heart (and voicebox)- I apologized and we talked about reading and spelling and what exactly he wants to do with spelling. We brainstormed ways to delve into the English language…ways to annotate those (many) words that don’t follow the rules…ways that his little brother T can benefit as well (he’s in the process of learning to read). We talked about word journals, googling “spelling rules” and where we’ll begin…

When we got home, I pulled out a $1 spiral bound book that I’d bought for each of the boys earlier in the week (I’d envisioned them as gratitude journals of sorts, to add to our evening ritual) and we used the google. We decided to start his word journal with “words with short vowel sounds” and true to character, start with the ‘short u sound’ instead of at the beginning of the alphabet.  -uck ending words, to be specific 😉

We’ve had a blast since then… I actually located the spelling book that he’d thrown away- it was right where we’d left it. (He thought I was talking about another boring workbook thingie that’d made it’s way into the boys basket.) I plan on donating it to the newly opened homeschool co-op in our area. We’ve been using his word journal… finding and spelling short vowel sound words as we go about our busy lives. We are enjoying the exploration of the English language! We plan on writing down “exceptions” as we come to them, and all the words we can think of before we move on to another category (long vowel sounds? words with two vowels?).  For now, the “uck” words are still our favorites…



  1. Ummmm . . . I have to say that I enjoy that he threw the boring spelling book away! I don’t know if Nathan would actually throw something away, since he never throws *ANYTHING* away, but we have many items that have remained untouched over the years ($90 reading books, anyone? the box of Spanish flashcards that are also going to live at the co-op . . . ?). Funny, funny boys. 🙂

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