When I was asked to write a blog post on how to switch to Spelling You See, my first thought was “as fast as possible, and don’t look back!” Laughingly, I realize that my impulse to make that statement might lead you astray. Let me give you a more thorough answer about HOW, in the context of WHY.
I am a veteran homeschool mom, with four children who graduated high school under my supervision. Those children all have degrees of one sort or another and have done well for themselves. Two of them are stellar spellers, and two are still hesitant to spell without assistance from a good proofreader. (Note I said proofreader, because spell check is not all it is cracked up to be. It does not check for context, for homonyms, or for syntax errors. It only looks for proper letter patterns, so spell check will not catch your mistake of writing to when you meant two.) I have asked myself for years how I managed to instruct four children the same way and have two entirely different outcomes.
With the advent of Spelling You See, I finally learned that the differences between my children were borne of the fact that half of them had cultivated a visual memory for commonly spelled words and half of them did not. I did not realize that I had a visual memory for spelling until I understood the research that underlies Spelling You See.
How to Switch to Spelling You See
How do you transition from another program to Spelling You See? First and foremost—read the handbook. I cannot stress this enough, especially if you are a veteran homeschool parent. You will think you know how to implement the Spelling You See process, but I assure you that you will NOT get the best advantage out of the program unless you do it as it has been designed.
And a further word on that design—do not add to the program or shortcut the program. Don’t add a “challenge word test” in the middle of the week. That introduces stress and negates the process of building visual memory. Don’t assume you don’t have to read the passages out loud to your child—daily—because those readings, exactly as they are written, are vital components in success. In short, don’t start the program unless you are willing to set aside your preconceptions about how to teach spelling and embrace a new way of spelling instruction.
I would encourage you to promote the fact that you will no longer have spelling tests and that you will no longer be putting the emphasis on the misspellings. What you are going to be doing instead is setting out on a program that has instruction in a positive context—you are going to find what your child is doing right and encourage them to do more of it.
Once you have carefully read the handbook associated with the level you have selected, then I encourage you to make a celebration of the fact that you will no longer be “testing on spelling.” Believe me, that attitude change alone will encourage your child tremendously. Know that once you truly understand how the Spelling You See program is organized and implemented, there will be no further preparation on your part except to implement the steps of the program daily with your student. That attitude change on YOUR part will be a bonus. I promise it will be a win-win for you both!
We Are Here to Help
Placement in Spelling You See is really important, and it is nuanced. It’s designed this way because we want a child’s spelling experience to be easier than their reading experience. In order for us to do that successfully, we have a set of guidelines.
If you experience any hiccups with placement, we encourage you to get in touch with us so that we can help you. We want you, and your student, to be successful in your spelling journey.