The sweet Colombian princess and I have been diligently learning the phonograms to sound out the English language for two months. She almost mastered the frist 26 (single letters) but as she wrote them…. I came to the realization that she is already programmed for printing the letters incorrectly, holding the pencil totally rigid and straight up, as well as copying over the letters two and THREE times each before lifting her pencil. Drove me nuts.
After many prayers and whining sent heavenward, I remembered that one of my sons had difficulty printing so I started him with cursive first. It worked brilliantly. Thanking God for the wisdom from on high, I decided to switch Nora over because she had no bad habits to overcome in cursive… well, almost. The rigid pencil grasp made all her letters tilt backwards and look like a lefty wrote them. After saying 4,678 times, “Tilt your pencil back,” I resorted to taping her pencil down to her hand. One of my insightful friends recommended this… and it worked. She fought it all that day (technically for about 15 minutes), but from then on she was determined never to be taped again and carefully tilts the pencil back before writing now.
Another lightbulb went on one day when I realized all the phonogram cards are in printing, not cursive. So I made a set of cursive phonograms and we STARTED ALL OVER AGAIN… with hardly any recognition. Oh my. That was two or three weeks ago and she is getting it…. slowly. A cursive n does look like an m. And a cursive k does resemble an r. I get the confusion!
We have finished the spell-to-write-and-read list A from Spaulding. Twenty little words. And I mean little… do, go, is, am, my, run, etc. We talked through them all. She sounded them out. We clapped the syllables. She printed them quickly in left-angled letters and then carefully in right-leaning cursive in her Spelling Book. She is doing so well.
Alas, today she had her first spelling test of the twenty little words. The results were not pretty. Only three were correct. It was disheartening for me. I realized today that she is still translating from Spanish to English with the letters and sounds. I shouldn’t be surprised by this, as she has only been speaking English for seven months. This is English as a Second Language afterall! But still, I assumed she was understanding more than she is. I texted the principal of our homeschool and told him how frustrated I was. Being ever the compassionate parent, he asked how she took the news. I replied, “I didn’t tell her.” Then he added that at least I couldn’t blame him that it came from his side of the family! hahaha! After I secretly marked the test, Nora and I played some card and sound matching games and then put it all away for another day.
That is precisely what we have…. another day. One baby step at a time.