Surprising Request From difficult child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Bunny, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    School has never been difficult child's problem. Straight A student, all honors classes. I tend to give him a wide berth when it comes to school work because he always gets it done and gets it done well. The only thing that he was never very good at was spelling. He would do his homework and there would be spelling mistakes all over the place. I would try to get him to make corrections, but he would fight with me and say that the teachers don't care if it's spelled right. They just want to see that the work was done. Every year I would ask the teachers to tell him that spelling counts, but none of them ever would. "He'll figure it out eventually," was what I was told every year. How can you expect a child to learn how to spell something if you never tell him that he's spelling it wrong?

    He is English class read a book in school and they took a test on it. He came to me yesterday and told me that he did really well on the first part of the test (multiple choice, 97%), but on the secon part (which was an essay) he got "a really bad grade." I asked him what the grade was and he told me ( 67%, which IS really bad for difficult child) and he told me that his content on the essay was fine, but that he lost almost all of the points on (anyone want to take a guess??)...spelling and punctuation. So, he said that is "sick of losing point because of spelling" and would I help him work on spelling so that it gets easier for him.

    I'm going to send an e-mail to his English teacher when I'm done here to see if he can give me any suggestions, or at least point me in the right direction as to how to help him. If he's asking for help, I want to jump all over that before he changes his mind!
  2. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I ran into the same issue with my easy child when she was in school - used to drive me nuts! I once took the teacher to task for giving easy child a B (I think) on a paper that had at least 21 spelling errors. I had easy child look up each word in the dictionary and use it in a sentence and then rewrite the paper. The teacher didn't even bat an eye when I pointed out that my daughter should NOT have received a B on such a poor paper. She said, "At this age (5th grade!) we are looking at content, not quality" to which I responded, "How can you grade the content if the quality is so poor?!". Then I met with the principal. They eventually introduced another, their THIRD, spelling program. easy child still has difficulty spelling simple words - who wouldn't be confused after being taught three different ways?? The principal actually invited me to sit in on the teacher's day long seminar for the introduction of the newest program - Cast a Spell, which was essentially what most of us grew up with: memorization!

    When did schools stop using a spelling/vocabulary program????? OMG - this sends me over the edge!

    I am THRILLED that your difficult child has asked you to help him. He is realizing the value of knowing how to spell correctly so he can deliver quality work. Yay for him!
  3. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    You want to hear the funny part? He told me last night that he thinks that the reason that he does so poorly in spelling is because he was never made to correct his errors when he was younger. I told him that I know that is why he does poorly in spelling.

    He's in 7th grade now and in middle school they don't do spelling. I remember doing spelling and vocabulary all the way into high school! Nope. No spelling work once they hit middle school. I think it is to their detrement.

    What I have been told is that they know that the kids are all going to eventually use computers with spell check, so they don't emphasize spelling like they did when we were younger. That's fine, but how is that going to help them when they have to take a test where they actually have to write something? I think that difficult child is a perfect example of how that thinking fails the students.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Spelling is one of those things that Jett and husband both have issues with. In fact, I'm surprised that Jett has vocabulary lists. Or, well, I was surprised until I found out they are given the word itself and must know the definition. Whether they can spell it or not is a non-issue.

    I know this is partially dyslexia. For instance, when Jett wants Kraft Singles, he will write on the list "chesee". Right letters, wrong order. Onyxx used to write "sause" instead of "sauce" - I laughed (to myself) when she wrote "worcestershire sause" on the list and explained she looked at the bottle for "worcestershire". Back in grade school, spelling tests were a nightmare for Jett no matter how much we practiced, because he did have all the right letters.

    Punctuation is something that drives me nuts - especially on billboards or professional publications. "You're home's value..." (ORLY?) Jett hasn't mastered this, but he makes the effort.
  5. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    difficult child is a really smart kid and if he puts his mind to it, he can do better. He might never be one of those kids competing in the national spelling bee, but you get the idea.

    I just got a reply from the teacher asking for a phone number and a good time to reach me so that we can talk about this and work up a plan together. Apparently, difficult child took another test in his class today and the teacher said that he must have been trying on his spelling harder because he saw improvement.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    :happyguy: THAT is GREAT! Every little bit!
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    that is really cool, kind of mature actually. I like it.
  8. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

  9. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Buddy, that is EXACTLY what I told him when he came to me about this. He knows that he needs help in one area and he's smart enough to ask for help. I told him that there are adults in this world who refuse to ask for help when they need it, so the fact that he recognizes this is a big thing for him.

    It's actually helped in another way. A few weeks ago I posted about telling difficult child that easy child needs a little more quiet and time to get his homework done because it just does not come as easy for easy child as it does for difficult child. difficult child then turned around and told PM that "Mom said you were stupid." Yesterday we were eating dinner and I said to easy child that I was going to start to work with math flashcards with him because he's having trouble with his math facts. Later, difficult child asked why I needed to help him. I explained to him, "Well, you know how you need a little extra help with spleeing?" He nodded. I continued, "easy child needs a little extra help with math. Same thing. Different subject." All of a sudden difficult child (who is a math WIZ) jumped up and said that he would help easy child and he would make him flashcards and he was going to help him! I was so nice to see him finally understand it.

    Tiredmommy, thanks for that site. I'll check it out.
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As a teacher of 4th and 5th graders we let our students know spelling counts! We grade papers on a six trait method so while they may get an Advanced on voice, ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, if they aren't spelling correctly or using conventions well they can get an Emerging on that part of their paper (or on any other area).

    At the same time there are some children I've had that no matter how hard they try they still struggle with spelling (many with learning disabilities). That part of their report card might get a progressing but if they are doing well in other areas it is important to recognize that. Besides the regular rules and patterns we also try to teach strategies like using dictionaries, spell check (to a point-it doesn't catch everything), and using proofreaders.
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    that is amazing! Even more cool!

    Can I laugh with you for a moment (from me, the typo queen, haha, but this was too perfect given the subject)

    how prefect (intentional misspelling) was that?
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Bunny... THIS is stuff that is win-win-win, and will pay off big-time. THIS builds relationships, AND builds difficult children self-esteem.
  13. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Buddy, that just goes to show that I should read my posts before I hit that "send" button!!
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Awesome! He sounds like a great kid, on his way to becoming a easy child ... :)