Just about every week Brendan has spelling homework, and every week it’s the same thing. Monday they have to alphabetize their spelling words, Tuesday they write them three times each, Wednesday they have to write sentences using their spelling words, and Thursday they write them three times each again. I take a semi hands off approach to Brendan’s homework. He intitially does it alone, then when he’s finished (or if he’s struggling to get through it) I’ll check it over and we’ll work through any mistakes together and help get them corrected.
The week that was all messed up with the snow days the third grade teachers went ahead and assigned the normal weekly spelling homework, but gave the kids two weeks to complete it. We encouraged Brendan to work on it each day of the messed up week even though he wasn’t in school, and it wasn’t due for a while. He readily agreed when he realized that if he got it done he’d have almost 10 days without any homework.
The week was so hectic and crazy with the snow and the kids being home at times that I’m not used to them being home that I didn’t get Brendan’s homework checked after each assignment as I usually do. It wasn’t until Sunday night as I was preparing the document to be emailed to his teacher (Brendan types his spelling homework now–it’s reduced his stress and frustration levels to not have to do as much handwriting) that I finally checked over each of the 4 assignments.
There were a few spelling errors that would need corrected, and he’d misplaced a couple words in the alphabetical order. Both of which are fairly typical mistakes that we correct. His sentences are a bit more tricky to correct. They usually have quite a few spelling errors as he attempts to use words that he hasn’t learned yet, or names of characters and places from the stories that I read to him. In addition, he hasn’t mastered sentence structure yet so a lot of times I’ll help him reword a sentence to be more structurally sound. I generally don’t have him change the sentence completely, but on occasion there is one so poorly constructed that it’s just best to scrap it and start fresh. And of course in his spelling work for that week we found one.
12. My teacher is radiate.
When I first read the sentence I had no idea what he was trying to say. I read it a second, third, and fourth time still just as confused as I was at first. Then, out of no where, it hit me. He was trying to say “My teacher is radiant.” But his spelling word was radiate, not radiant. He was completely confused and thought that radiate meant radiant. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at this (Brendan was not with me yet. I make a list of corrections to go over with him before calling him over to correct them). I shared the sentence with Matt and he was quite amused as well.
We finally decided to do something we’d not done before. We left the sentence untouched. I did not list it in the corrections for Brendan, and sent it to his teacher as it was. I realize that we didn’t correct his misconception of the word radiate by handling it that way, but it’s one word. He will eventually figure out the difference between radiate and radiant. And I wanted to share this wonderful heartfelt sentence with his teacher, unaltered, exactly as he intended it for her. I was certain that it would bring a smile to her face. And I was right. She and I exchanged a few emails that day, both chuckling at the very cute mistake that he made. She said it absolutely made her day, and she made sure to tell him how much she’d enjoyed that sentence. Which in turn made his day.
On days when Brendan is melting down over the smallest little thing it’s difficult to keep in perspective what a loving and wonderful child he really is. He has a tendency (most of the time) to put the needs of others first and to do all that he can to be kind to them. Because he loves his teacher so very much she has the opportunity to see that side of him every single day. And I believe he enriches her life just as much as she enriches his.