“King the Crow
On the roof like his throne
Flying off like getting up and out
of his throne
walking about like in his royal garden
going going like being escorted
Oh what a king.
By [Jellyfish] Made in April 3. [Jellyfish] made this poem when she was 7″
This is a pretty good representation of where Jellyfish is in regards to writing independently, more than half way through first grade. Her (conventional) spelling is getting better in leaps and bounds. A year ago she could spell exactly two words: ‘on’ and ‘off.’ I should note here for those interested in unschooling that she has had no formal spelling instruction. Everything we have done with her has been informal, and oral. Think: hanging out in the kitchen while I wash dishes talking about how to spell stuff. And she has a poster of 100 words for first grade that she likes to look at. Informal though our instruction may be, you can see that she has in her spelling ‘toolbox’ a lot of the letter combinations used in English even if she frequently misapplies them. But I am most proud of her for her more recent willingness to go out on a limb with ‘special’ spelling–sounding things out and writing what she hears. She was really reluctant to do that for a while, asking us to spell everything for her, which was tiresome, and limited her creativity. We don’t give her any writing ‘assignments,’ but writing is something she does voluntarily on a daily basis, and often as a part of creative play. My expectation is that her knowledge of conventional spellings will increase as we continue to talk about spelling strategies and how to spell individual words, and as she gets lots (and lots and lots) of practice putting her lovely, nutty, clever thoughts on paper.