Thank you for all the encouraging replies. I've just come back from a week's holiday with no internet, so I apologise for not replying to any messages sooner.
While we were away, we had plenty of time to work on the spelling together. Her work ethic has improved temendously since she has started school, so it was really easy getting down to things, and I think we managed to cover all the basics of phonics and learn the Year 2 spelling list completely. We will continue this as time allows around work and school.
I had a quick read of these posts yesterday, and had a chat with her last night. Yes, she is worried about it. It seems that mostly she and a partner work together to correct each other's work, and as her partner writes "i" instead of "I", because capital letters are only for the beginning of sentences, she doesn't believe everything he says. She is also working much faster than she is used to, and handwriting is suffering. She doesn't get time to think about spelling, because she struggles to get all her thoughts down on paper in the allotted time. Also, she feels (whether it's true or not, I don't know) that she is not eligible to win the poetry competition because she didn't do her entry in joined up writing. I didn't teach her to write cursive, because I think it is often taught in UK schools before children can even form their letters properly, and it ends up looking a complete mess. So we have a few issues that she is aware of.
I don't think her teacher is able to help. It feels as though the ball has been passed back to me directly. We haven't even found a way to get misspelt words out of her schoolbooks into my hands yet.
A few of you have suggested I encourage her to read, and the school sent out an "advert" (for want of a better word) explaining why reading is so important (some of which I disageed with). She reads for 15 minutes per day, as required by the school, but prefers to watch YouTube videos on mathematics and the solar system for her enjoyment. Believe me, we have tried getting her to read books on the subjects she is interested in! YouTube is more relaxing as you don't have to do anything for the ideas to get into your head. Her vocabulary is wide, but she doesn't see words written down. I read to her each night in bed for about 20 minutes, and we're currently reading Five on a Treasure Island (Enid Blyton) and The Shepherd's Crown (Terry Pratchett). I will work on this some more.
She did take to reading later than I had hoped, but one month she just "got" it. It's reassuring that bungeejumper thinks that most kids will "get" spelling in their early teens. I don't think she will fall behind in other work because of it, as she seems to be able to read any word that she has heard before. I'm not sure of the social implications. She has arguments with her partner daily, and is struggling with making friends at playtime (the teacher is aware of this now, and will keep an eye on her).
Don't worry. Sheesh I can't believe I said that
Don't overthink this - and again I should practice this more ... and try not to pressure yourself or your daughter with timelines. She's got loads of time to pick this up and she will.
Yeah right! I'm her MUMMY! It's my JOB to worry!
At the moment, I'm worried that keeping her home from school for nearly four years was the wrong decision, and ALSO worrying that sending her to school at all was the wrong decision! We had planned to keep her off until secondary school, so I'm happier that I'm seeing the problems now, while the learning is not as important (I know it's all important, but the further on you are the less opportunity there is for catching up).
I wish there were a switch to turn off the worrying and self-doubt (I do know that I'm the best Mummy she has got), the same as I wish there were a switch to turn off the climbing on everything, needing food every ten minutes, wanting to do craft as soon as I wake up or as soon as I get in from a day's work etc. I'm not putting a timeline on it, and she wants me to continue helping her with it, so I think that balance in our house is right. I've stressed that as long as she is trying her best, that's all that matters, and I'm very proud of her for making the transition into school as well as she has anyway. We'll fix the little problems as they arise, and spend a little time each day on them when we can.
Thanks again for all your comments,
LouP (and the small one)