Simply Charlotte Mason Homeschooling - Your Questions Answered: Questions about Dictation

Today we want to dive into a few questions that we’ve received from different home educating parents who have questions about Charlotte Mason’s method of dictation. If you’re not familiar with that wonderful method for teaching children spelling, then take a look at that post, How to Do Dictation. The corresponding video will walk you […] Your Questions Answered: Questions about Dictation originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.

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Welcome to the simply Charlotte Mason podcast. I'm Sonia Shaffer today that we received from readers different home educating parents who have questions about Charlotte Mason method of dictation know if you're not familiar with that wonderful method for teaching children spelling then take a look at our video how to do dictation that video will walk you through the process in the method. So, you know exactly what we're talking about today. We want to address some questions on that message and to join me is my friend and co-worker Karen Smith care and thanks for joining us on this wonderful question episode. One of the first questions we get is from parents who are just starting to taste with a younger child and the child might get everything correct on the dictation lesson, but then in their written narrations or when they're right.

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On their own for something mistakes crop up and I know some parents that just terrifies their heart. So let's talk about that first.

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The act of writing and getting your thoughts down on paper is a great effort it is and when a child is doing a written narration, you want the focus to be on getting their thoughts on the paper rather than did he spell every word correctly. Did he put the punctuation and correctly?

00:01:35
When he gets more when he gets used to getting his thoughts down on paper, then you can start addressing the spelling issues and the punctuation issues and that type of thing. I know when I'm trying to write something it especially if I'm very involved in what I'm trying to get across I often do typos and and don't even notice it until later. Like if I'm if I'm sending an email to someone and they reply back after you sent it you notice exactly they reply and I go back and read what I wrote was like because I was so focused on what I wanted to say. They're going to make those same type of mistakes that we do as adults when we're getting our thoughts.

00:02:24
So how do we give them Grace I guess in this without encouraging a sloppy attitude toward it how what are some tips we have for that particular situation. I think bad at first when your children are first learning to do written narrations give them lots of Grace and you don't don't be too picky about

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the mechanics of the writing

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And as they become more comfortable with writing their thoughts, then you can choose one thing for them to work on maybe have them read it over to themselves before handing in their work to you soon. See if they can catch some of those mistakes now that they're not concentrating on the thoughts and getting those down or even reading it aloud can sometimes when they hear it is like, oh I didn't mean to say it that way or something but for spelling purposes. Yeah, they do need to see what they have written. That's true. And and I think the same applies to when they're writing just for their own pleasure now if they are a budding author and they want to they love to write.

00:03:44
Fiction or other types of things we want to be careful to encourage the thoughts. Yes, and not squelch that desire and that enthusiasm by getting out AR red pain and bleeding all over it. Yes, but what about okay if they're writing a letter to someone and it's going to go outside the family and other people are going to see this I've had mom's talk to me about that's a representation of our homeschool and we don't want to the only term that comes to mind is air our Dirty Laundry to other people, you know, we want them. We want to present our best work. So one thing that I've mentioned maybe you have another idea one thing that I've thought about is If the child can capture their thoughts what they want to say

00:04:38
And then let's go through it together and make sure we don't have any typos in it because that is a presentation to someone. Yes. It's a gift to someone so we can go through it together or if the child wants to if they're very young they can dictate it to you and you can write it with the correct spelling punctuation and they can transcribe it if it's a special situation like that. If it's if the parent is really concerned about that now in my case, you know if it was going to Grandma and I know Grandma supports me grandma is not critical of the message. I'm using Grandma knows we are going to we're going to progress and spelling but we're not perfect at it yet. Then no big deal. Let the child spend it as is special true. But if it's a thank-you note to someone who is not a real.

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Never not a close relative like that. I got a supportive. Really. Yes. Yeah, then you may want to have the child maybe write it on a separate sheet of paper first before they write it in a card or whatever stationary or whatever paper they're going to use to write the letter on so those mistakes can be corrected before the final rating. Sometimes get is from a child who is pretty fluent in there right in there reading. So let's say your 10 year old is reading at a sixth grade level.

00:06:17
The question that usually comes our way is do you select the dictation passages that are for the 6th grader or do you go ahead and start with the 4th grade level and usually the questions refer to our books of spelling wisdom and often it also involves the using language well grammar component, which is built off of the spelling dictation passages.

00:06:47
So let's talk about that question as well. So reading ability and spelling ability may be two different things. I agree a child who can read. Well it's not necessary necessarily a child who can spell well, so you need to choose the level that fits your child spelling ability.

00:07:12
We recommend that when choosing a spelling wisdom level that you find the level where your child has about no more than four words for unknown spelling unknown spelling for yes, and that will be the sweet spot to start at so disregard.

00:07:35
The grade levels on the books and find the level that your child fits at for his spelling ability along with that in a related question the using language. Well one that goes with the spelling wisdom one covers mechanics and punctuation capitalization usage things like that.

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Sometimes parents say my child has already learned all of that. So can I just start with book to instead?

00:08:10
I think that that is also a potential hang up because number one you don't know if your child is ready for that higher level of dictation passage, correct and number to your child might have learned the rules.

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But the approach is a little bit different and using language. Well, for example, they might know the rules that each sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a. If it's a statement something like that. But one thing we do when using language well book one is we will say here is the passage identify every punctuation mark and tell why it is there sometimes that flips it around and you see your child doesn't really have a good grasp. And that's the important point that they should not only know where to put them but why they are putting those punctuation marks in those places. So I guess we want to encourage parents with the younger children.

00:09:18
Give them Grace don't expect perfect spelling across-the-board from the very beginning. The spelling learning spelling is what is a lifetime skill descendants and didn't the students at Charlotte Mason schools. They still had spelling errors in punctuation errors, and they're written narrations. We have examples of that where they did not correct those they were put in the volumes in their original state so we could see that those were still part even of the older children sometimes but Charlotte did not let that become an obstacle or let that downgrade the celebration of what that child learned. I've been able to capture his or her thoughts. So we want to give Grace to our children still going to encourage them and keep them going in this in the right direction help them grow.

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SM shield into going to grow at a slower Pace than others and some by Leaps and Bounds. That's right. But each child is an individual we're going to respect each child, even as we give them the resources that will help him. Take the next step in their spelling Journeys.

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