While on a walk
Somehow my best educational conversations happen while walking the dog. My son, Liam (11), asked me if I would help him with spelling. This is how it went down:
“Why do you want help with spelling?”
“Because I want to be good at spelling.”
“I thought you were a good speller.”
“Well, not for all words. And plus I don’t know how to use semi-colons.”
“Oh, do you mean punctuation?”
“Yeah, that too.”
“Well for spelling and punctuation, copywork and dictation work best.”
“Well, I won’t do those.”
“Okay, how about we do a spelling bee while throwing a lacrosse ball?”
“Yeah, that would be great.”
“And for punctuation, we could do reverse dictation… how about that?”
“Oh that would be awesome.“
We got home and I started throwing the ball with him calling out words like “convenient” and “loquacious.” He needs no work on spelling, we discovered. 🙂 But he sure enjoyed the challenge!
Then that night, at about 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, we began reverse dictation (a process by which I type up a passage from a book without any capitals or punctuation and he has to edit/correct the copy). Yes, this is how it works in my house – weekends, middle of the night kind of stuff.
We did two passages together from Harry Potter and he so enjoyed them, he is begging to do more. We covered more grammar and punctuation during his hour of real interest and enthusiasm than we have in the last four years of home education.
Finally I had to ask. “Why the sudden interest?”
“Well, my online gaming community did a recent survey and found out that only 49% of the users spell correctly most of the time. I want to start spelling right. And no one uses punctuation, but it seems like a good idea.”
And there you go. I swear this child’s entire education is coming from computer games. 🙂