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« Learning to Read: Did Your Child Learn to Read Differently? | Main | Measuring Up »

March 14, 2007



Does this way of thinking about reading apply to spelling? I have to say I imagined substituting the word(s) read/reading for the word(s) spell/spelling as I re-read your article and it helped to give me the gift of perspective. However I do tend to have homeschooling "freak-out moments" when it comes to my 10 year old (almost 11) and her lack of ability to spell well. Do I dare confess - - we are unschoolers, so I feel concerned when or if I share this with others. I guess my ultimate question is do other unschoolers have this concern and how if at all do they address this lack of spelling skills?


Hi Susan,
Spelling is an interesting issue. Here is what I have found with three daughters, with different learning styles.

The daughter who is NOT a visual learner (and was my reader at age 4) - learned to spell without any problems - it was natural - happened without any effort on my part - and she remains an excellent reader, speller, and the same with grammer.

The other two (the ones that gave me grey hairs) - are both visual learners (and some other learning venues) - they both have spelling issues. They were both late readers. My middle daughter (now 20) - still has spelling and grammer issues (but reading, comprehension,analysis and memory - no problem). My 10 yo - struggles with spelling - but - she is a phonetic speller - so it is very easy to see the logic behind her spelling. Last night was an example - she was reading the word: chaos. She pronouced it with a "ch" as in church. We then discussed why "ch" is most times like church, sometimes like a "k" and sometimes like a "sh". I suggested that if she is not sure to err on the side of the sound like church.

I noticed that remember the rules of spelling comes with more struggle for my visual learners.

But the bottom line for me is this: some people (in spite of rote memorization, learning rules, etc) are simply bad spellers. In today's society - there are several simple solutions: type stuff into the computer and let the spell checker help; or carry a portable speller helper (electronic dictionary).

And of course there is the old fashioned way (which I used with my 20 yo when she was a kid): a spell checker book (list of words with correct spellings) - or a dictionary.

In any case - I would not stress over spelling at all.


Thank you so much - I value your words of wisdom! You have given me some great ideas and things to think about, I appreciate it!!


You mention that your daughter was learning to read and write 2 languages at the same time... I have an 18 mo who will most probably be unschooled and at least bilingual, so I am really interested in hearing experienced bilingual unschoolers' experiences. Does your daughter now read and write equally in both languages? Did she learn to read/write in both languages simultaneously, or one came first, and then the other? Does she have a preference for one language, and if so, do you know why that is?

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