My oldest daughter is so funny. She started, maybe last fall, sending me texts when something happened that triggered a memory of the things we did when she was little. She sent me a text yesterday that had me cracking up because I had JUST done the same thing to her brother.
When she was little, she did the typical, “How do you spell…?” When they were little and just learning to spell, I spelled things for them, but as they started having a grasp of letters and sounds, something clicked in me. Um, why am I spelling these words for her?
So, I stopped.
The question would come, “Mom, how do you spell…?”
My answer, “How do you THINK you spell it?”
Yes, I could’ve totally said, “c-o-w” (ei-ei-o) but I felt that spelling the word FOR her was doing her a disservice. What would she learn by me spelling out the word for her? It would’ve been easier, but honestly, it defeats the purpose of her figuring those things out.
You know what the next question was, right? “What does it start with?”
Let’s say the word was “spelling”. I would say, “Do you think it starts with a q?” to which she would reply, “No.” I would then ask her what she thought it started with. From there, she would probably spell the entire word out on her own.
At first, it wasn’t easy because she was little and I would definitely help her with words. I didn’t want her to struggle or get frustrated. The point with this was to not do the work for her. I think kids look at a word as a whole when they try to spell it and choke before they even get started. I wanted to build her confidence up so she would trust herself to begin trying the words on her own and then come to me if she couldn’t figure it out.
On the drive home from church Wednesday, Buddy asked me, “How do you spell…?” I can’t remember what it was, but the above conversation was had with him, just like it’s been done with all of his other siblings.
Later that night, I get this message from my daughter:
You know you always used to make me sound out words and spell them out loud? I’m a great speller. And good at just spelling words out loud and quickly when people ask. I normally don’t even think about it. But it just made me laugh.
It’s so nice to find out I’ve done something right…especially if it’s academic because that isn’t/wasn’t my strong suit. hahahaha
What do you do as a parent that you know will help your kids in the future?