Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spelling Words of Life

I love making up acronyms for spelling words for my youngest, Caroline. Spelling is her worst subject. Lately, though, my ten-year-old gets a kick out of the creative ways we've devised to help her memorize her spelling words.

Take the word, "language," for example, which was on her spelling list when she was in third grade, two years ago. For some reason, it didn't click. She couldn't get it.

"I hate spelling!" She wailed! "I quit!"

The tears fell onto her lined notebook paper, and her anxiety quickly mounted. As much as I tired to help her, I was running low on ideas and patience.

"Well," I began calmly, "let's think about it differently." After playing around with the letters a bit, we came up with this acronym for the word "language:"

"Let's - Ask - Nice - Green - Unicorns - About - Green - Eggs." Once she'd mastered this saying, her damp eyes smiled with delight. She looked hopeful, almost immediately. Wiping away her tears with the back of her hand, her anxiety evaporated, and I could sense her strength and determination shining through.

The other day, two years after the birth of that particular acronym, I overheard Caroline saying that silly sentence as she penned the heading - Language - onto her paper. She'd remembered how to spell it. I remembered that day when she cried.

Last week, another word tested her capability: "disciple." This one was more of a challenge than the word language had been. But never wanting to be quitters, we came up with this acronym:

"Did - I - See - Cats - In - Puddles - Last - Evening?"

You know, sometimes, the simplest things can put a smile on our kids' faces. She was beaming as she pulled out her slightly wrinkled spelling test, which was sandwiched between the notebooks within her backpack. A score of 95% was written on the top of the page, in bright red ink. Caroline smiled. I did, too.

She may not remember everything that I try to teach her throughout her lifetime, but at least she'll know how to tackle some of the problems as she grows: taking on the challenges one small letter at a time. No matter how difficult the "words" in life become, I hope she keeps trying. Quitting? That's one word I hope she'll never need to spell.


Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer said...

Such a sweet entry...she's lucky to have a mom like you!

Debby said...

Behold the power of 'SUPERMOM'!

Anonymous said...

My kids can't spell at all. My oldest is in 3rd grade and has it the hardest. I will remember this! Loved the post. It definately made me smile. :)

Kerry Osborne

Daria said...

I remember having trouble spelling the word language ... however I used to use the phrase ... Little Anne Never Goes Under A Goose Egg.

Hopesrising said...

Thanks Karen..for you kind comment and prays! I love this post and oh how I remember days like this with my children. I agree she is so lucky to have a mom like you.xox

WhiteStone said...

My trick was to (mis)pronounce the word as spelled. For instance, I wrote it down. I still say Fe-bru-ary so that I remember the BR and Wed-nes-day to remember the DN when I write those words.