Posts Tagged ‘advice’

Homeschool Advice: Should we correct our children’s creative work?

Should we critique our kids' creative work?

How much correction should one do on a child’s creative work? My 8 y.o. daughter has a delightful continuing novel/journal/thing that contains all (if not more!) of the typical misspellings and grammatical errors of the age. We do separate spelling lists but I frequently see words that are spelled perfectly on a quiz misspelled in her work. {{exasperated sigh}} She is a reluctant writer and I am hesitant to put her off her work by “mining” it for spelling errors, even though it would be the most targeted approach.

What would you do?


Great question!

Let’s get things in perspective first. Your daughter is eight years old. That means she’s been talking for about six years. It also means that she’s been reading and writing for maybe a year or two at most. The number of spelling errors she’s making ought to be about the same amount (maybe even more) than she made when trying to construct a sentence in English at 2-3 years old.

In other words, she will have atrocious spelling at age eight!

If she is writing for love and is only eight, leave her alone. Read her writing. Better yet, let her read it to you. Enjoy the content. Laugh in the right places. Say, “Oh no!” when danger threatens. Ask her to reread your favorite section. And then ask her to read that same section to her dad in the evening.

If she can read her own spelling, you have nothing to worry about. It takes about ten years to become a fluent speller. She is eight. She’s got until she’s eighteen to “get it right.”

If she wants you to read her writing and you simply can’t because the spelling is so bad, you can suggest to her that she help you decode her spelling so that you understand how she is thinking phonetically. Ask her if you can jot down the words as you know how to spell them so that you can read her work properly (you might want to put those words on a separate sheet of paper so as not to mar the original work).

The point is this: Her active self-expression in written language is the act of growth in spelling. It shows itself by spelling errors. She will learn to spell more and more correctly by writing and reading, reading and writing, sharing her writing and explaining her spelling. This will take time. Lots of time. Years of time.

Your child’s active self-expression in written language is the act of growth in early spelling.

Click to Tweet

In the meantime, make sure you don’t squash that exuberant, carefree, interested written expression. To regain enthusiasm for writing once it’s been crushed by zealous error corrections is far more difficult than naturally growing as a speller.

And remember: copywork is the better place to work on spelling anyway.

Again, great question!

Click to get oodles more copywork resources for your homeschool

Image of girl writing by anthony kelly