My daughter brought home her first list of spelling words a few weeks ago. There was a quick note from the teacher- “Please practice these spelling words with your children so they can be prepared for the test at the end of the week.”
The remainder of the week looked like us working together to practice the spelling words, she is the type of student and child who needed to take the reins on her own homework and decide how much work and effort she was going to put in. And in true fashion, she put in all of the effort and work possible.
She set up a time to type out the words on a computer to practice and asked us to quiz her once she felt like she had them down better. She practiced spelling them out loud and on paper and took the time to notice patterns within the different words. She worked really hard and put in a lot of effort to learn this new skill, and I was proud of her for this! She even worked extra hard on her bonus words, one of them being the word school, which is a tricky word to spell!
The day of the spelling test she was a ball of nerves, completely anxious about what was ahead of her. We practiced a few affirmations.
“I am more than my spelling test.”
“I am a smart kid.”
“I worked hard on my spelling words.”
“I will do my best and that is good enough.”
I knew all of the emotions she was feeling as memories of my high school AP literature test, my college statistics final, and many, many more instances came flooding back. The feeling that you just spent a lot of time and effort studying and not doing well on the test would be absolutely devastating and heartbreaking.
The spelling test came and went, she came home from school and said that she felt really good about it but was still nervous to see her final score the next Monday. Again, I felt the same feelings with her, knowing that it’s out of her hands but the score is yet to come with the fear of the unknown.
On Monday she came home from school with a spelling test in her backpack… And of course, she received 100%! She even spelled both bonus words correctly.
That feeling of working hard and having it pay off was felt equally between us.
There was also a big sense of pride I had in her knowing that this perfect score wasn’t something she easily obtained by natural smarts. It was something she set a plan and a goal for and worked hard to get there. To me, an easy perfect score is one thing, but putting in the time and effort for a good score is next level.
Mary’s experience and advice with spelling tests: