Here’s a peak at what the box looks like with the new AAS Level 2 cards inside. There are enough new cards that I was able to toss two of the blue Styrofoam spacers.
Here’s the accompanying progress chart. As you can see, Bruce is not very interested in stickers. He’s really taking the AAS Level 2 “Wild West” theme to heart, and drawing cowboy stick-figure vignettes over each step he completes.
Here are some of the other materials that come with Level 2. The jail is going to be introduced in an upcoming lesson, and is going to be where we put words that do not follow the rules. I’ve heard these referred to as Outlaw words before.
The spelling board is one of the really magical parts of this program, as far as I’m concerned. It allows children to learn how to spell in a kinesthetic way, without their handwriting holding them back. This doesn’t mean that writing out the words with pencil and paper isn’t part of AAS Level 2, because dictation is also a component of the program.
Here is Bruce’s work from Step #1. All of the Classical Education Homeschooling families reading this post are probably cringing right now, after seeing my son’s handwriting! As an Afterschooling family, I have not chosen to work on handwriting with Bruce at all, because it is a battle-ground area with us. He is supposed to be starting a formal handwriting program in his public school’s first grade.
By Step 4 you can see a little bit of improvement, at least in writing things on the lines. I am at least insisting on that.
What I am really noticing about AAS Level 2 is that each step is taking us longer to complete than Level 1. Bruce use to be able to finish off a Level 1 step in 15 minutes. With Level 2, each step is taking two to three 15 minute sessions. His progress is slower, but he is learning a lot. Bruce enjoys spelling, and regularly asks to do an AAS spelling lesson. Of course, I reward him with a bit of computer time afterward! All in all, I continue to be really impressed with this program, which is why (full disclaimer!) I signed up to be an Affiliate with the company.
I’m writing this on the last day of my first grade son’s Christmas vacation. Bruce was halfway through AAS Level 2 when school got out, and after two weeks of working on this consistently every day, he has now finished the book. Since we are an Afterschooling family instead of a Homeschooling family, I told my son that we will hold off on Level 3 until Spring Break.
For the most part, Bruce has really enjoyed our AAS lessons. But admittedly, cranking through the book at breakneck speed these past two weeks hasn’t been the best way to go about it from a “fun” stand-point. As my Dad would say, “Tough noogies”. I know that AAS is really helping Bruce, and a good compliment to the Evan More Grade Two spelling book he is doing at school (only way better).
At the start of vacation when we were still on Step 15 I quizzed Bruce on the remaining Word Cards in Level 2, and pulled the ones that he did not know how to spell. For me as a teacher, this is one of the truly amazing things about this program. I don’t know if the picture is big enough for you to see (you could try clicking on it), but that fan of cards was like a visual slice of Bruce’s spelling brain. I could tell just by looking at the cards, the type of words and word patterns Bruce needed the most help with. That didn’t mean that I only had to teach Steps 23, 24, and 25 though. The spelling rules and patterns that were important for those steps were introduced or “pretaught” in earlier Steps. So we still went through Level 2 step by step, but I was careful to put some extra emphasis on what was needed to complete Steps 23, 24, and 25.
My husband and I were having a causerie about AAS Level 2, and in our brief chat I told him about the fan I made from the green cards. I said I was tempted to purchase Level 6 and start using it myself! I am such a horrible speller, that I would love to see what the Level 6 fan of green cards I couldn’t spell would look like for me. The nice guy that he is, my husband pointed out that only doing Level 6 wouldn’t help me very much, because there have been rules I have been unfamiliar with in both Levels 1 and Levels 2. My spelling knowledge is like Swiss cheese, and that’s why I’m so awful at it. Maybe by the time I’ve taught both Bruce and Jenna I’ll know longer feel so stupid. 🙂