Friday, October 15, 2010

Eclectic Thoughts of My Own~ Copywork, Transcription and Dictation

A favorite site of mine Simply Charlotte Mason has been running a series of articles on Charlotte Mason's Methods toward Language Arts. ( scroll below to see all the articles in the series. )
I found this series really interesting and even ended up purchasing the latest handbook they had advertised entitled "Hearing and Reading, Telling and Writing: A Charlotte Mason Language Arts Handbook".  ( as I find more time to read through it I plan to post my thoughts and ideas here)

This week's article ( #7)"Copywork, Transcription and Dictation.

I thought I might share some of my own thoughts while reading over this great article.  I really can appreciate the analogy used for this being a homeschool version of a multi-vitamin, it is indeed and much more~! which is why I wanted to comment a bit further to share "our own" experiences and hear from others either here or my facebook page on how they find these specific methods helpful.

The primary level focuses around grades 1 and 2, but for many of us who do not follow grade level but age/development this can vary in my opinion.  I still fail to see a significance in using CM methods according to grade levels. I just feel like this is counterproductive and still trying to mimic a compulsory school model and that doesn't usually work for children who learn at home in my opinion. Home learners are free to work at their own levels as far as age and ability.
Copywork in our home is still being used with our son who is now 11 years old. This very simple yet comprehensive exercise really helps my special needs learner.  He is much more attentive to detail with this own work and writing and has made significant progress with capitalization and punctuation. I really believe it is because it has given meaning to these necessary duties in our writing.
It also helps so much in learning our language. When copying from well-written "works" my child has learned how written language should sound.  It is a great modeling method for new writers.

Recently our older son, now a teen has graduated from copywork to all written dictation.  We decided to do this very slowly since there is a language disability.  Writing is a huge component of language.  We opted to go very slowly and for him copywork was painstakingly slow and hard.  For our special needs learners with ADHD, CAPD or VPD this method can be very helpful in training and disciplining the mind for accuracy and detail.

Transcription~ Primary focus was for grades 2-3.

For our 11 yo who had struggled quite a bit with spelling this has proven to be so helpful. Patience and care needs to happen during this transition to be mindful of their confidence and ability. Short lessons are very helpful with this and not overwhelming them with who paragraphs too quickly also helps too. We right now are transitioning my 11 yo from Transcription into Dictation at this point.  A slow process indeed. But very comprehensive because it works on so many others skills at the very same time.

Children with specific learning disabilities will often spend more time in this area for various obvious reasons. But understanding that this is still extremely helpful and information stored now will be very beneficial later.

Dictation, Grades 4-12
Currently our youngest ( 11yo ) is working one sentence at a time with dictation).  Unlike your regular spelling program where you are given a list of words to study for the week and then tested on them at the end of the week, only to never go back and work with them again till they come up in a story they are writing etc.. is not how dictation ( used for spelling specifically ) works.
Through Dictation the boys learn to have the attention to what they are writing, the need to be able to auditorally process the information they are hearing and write the information exactly as they hear it, punctuation, grammar and all.  It is not an easy task. But intensely productive. 

Our teen now works SCM's Spelling Wisdom Program and is doing wonderful.  Having worked several programs in the past for Spelling, none seemed to work as well as this program.  Using Dictation and also adding ISL words to his Dictation book really has increased his own spelling abilities.

I really feel the ages on using Dictation should/do vary from child to child. Just because the grades are there I feel as though it should only be used as a guide. Many special needs children are not yet ready by fourth or fifth grade to do full dictation and need to stay in Transcription far longer to gain more time and skill.

I really don't think I can stress enough just how powerful these three methods are.  I have seen more success using these methods than ANY other method/modality I have tried in all our time homeschooling.

I hope some find these thoughts helpful. I remember considering a few of Charlotte Mason's methods in the past with my boys but decided against it because of their learning needs/differences, but now having tried and found such success using these methods with my boys I feel compelled to share that these methods CAN work for special needs children, something I find that is less often talked about in Charlotte Mason circles.


GinaG said...

Tracey, I agree with you about the age/grade recommendations in CM. I tend to just ignore them other than in very general terms. We have to remember that much of her later work was written for schools and not governesses (which is more homeschool like)which is why the age/grades component was so important. I've noticed that her earlier writings (when she was writing mostly for the governesses) don't emphasize age/grades quite as much. I may have to go back and read through the SCM series with an eye towards my youngest.

Learners at Home said...

Thank you Gina~ your so right. I just feel, I suppose a need to tell others to do just that, ignore them as you mentioned, keeping in them in mind just as general terms.
I appreciate your input/insight since you have much more background knowledge of CM than I~ :)

Guiding Light said...

What a great site with lots of useful information! Thank you! Have a wonderfully blessed day! (Visiting from Homeschool Blogger Haven. I am now following you too!)

Learners at Home said...

thank you ! :) (waving to my Homeschooler Blogger Haven buddy) thanks for following~ :) I also have a fb page where we can "CHAT" easier, lol ;)



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