How can I work dictation into our homeschool? Do I need a special book?
Here are a few tips and suggestions for you:
1. Pick a passage from a literature book that you are reading for history or for a family read-aloud.
2. Read it out loud and have your child write what they hear.
3. Go over necessary spelling and grammatical mistakes.
4. Talk about the uniqueness of the sentence. There are sure to be some grammar pointers in there somewhere. Often, I get questions about punctuation marks (: or ; for instance) and anything I can’t explain, I simply look these up in a grammar reference.
Dictation does not have to be limited to novels and history books, however. You can pick a poem that you are currently memorizing – or start memorizing one! Or, pick a well-loved poem and have them copy it first, this may take several days. Then one day dictate it and have them write it. Go over the poem as I mentioned above.
How about a hymn? Hymns have wonderful vocabulary. There are sure to be some words that you can look up (or have an older student look up on their own).
And of course, Bible verses are great for dictation too. Especially ones that you are trying to commit to memory.
How about science? Is there something really neat that you read about in science that maybe sparked an interest in your child? Something from a living book or a science encyclopedia would work well.
For younger children, some good ideas are:
- Days and months
- Short verse
- Sentence from a beloved book
- Names of family members
- A poem (do a little every day)
Get creative! You don’t need a book telling you what to dictate. Make it a more natural fit with what you are already doing. It will enhance your studies and seal a grammar lesson in the mind of your child.