Friday, September 5, 2008

Spelng Iz Ovr Ratted

I'm kidding, of course. Spelling is important. Even though spell check is here to stay.

Last year, our first year of homeschooling, I didn't teach spelling at all to my daughter. I know, I know. I'm horrible. The reason I didn't teach spelling is I didn't know how.

What? You taught school for 11 years! How could you not know how to teach spelling? Well, that's just it. I knew how NOT to teach spelling. The old 14-words-and-a-test-on-Friday method that we used in public school was simply not effective. The reason I know this is because I tested my third graders one year. I found a test that gave you a grade level for each child's spelling ability. At the end of 4th grade, I gave the same test to the same group of kids. Guess what? Not one single student had improved a grade level at all. Those who already knew all the words on Monday got A's, those who didn't got less and some students studied all week so they could pass only to forget the words as soon as Friday was done.

So, effective? Not so much.

And I want to believe that copywork and dictation alone will teach my child to spell...but I'm doubtful when I see her writing. Some children? Yes. But my child? Hmm--not sure.

Now, let me tell you my other experience. After I was no longer a classroom teacher, I was the "Dyslexia Specialist" on our campus for 2 years. Which is funny because my training was very limited. That "specialist" part on my nametag might have been stretching it a bit. During the two years I taught, however, I did pick up a lot of information.

So THIS year I was determined to add spelling to our homeschool curriculum. I researched, looked around, asked other moms what they use, and went to our local homeschool bookstore. So many things I found looked just like public school spelling. They were cute, colorful and looked pretty fun to a nerd like me. But spelling comes very easily for me.

I know my daughter. I knew she could expertly complete every one of those weekly activities for her spelling list and still not pass the test on Friday. I wasn't even sure I wanted a list and test format kind of spelling.

Then I found something different. I was so scared to buy it because it wasn't at the store and I couldn't put my hands on it. But it really, really looked good. It's called All About Spelling* and I finally got up the nerve to buy it after asking around at The Homeschool Lounge. Only a few folks responded to my inquiry so I think many people have not heard of this curriculum.

Well, I am SO glad I bought it. And I'm glad I listened to those moms at The Homeschool Lounge who told me to start with Level 1. It is a bit easy for my daughter so far, but I suspect the end of the book will be stuff she really needs to know before we move on to Level 2. And get this: it's completely NON-CONSUMABLE so I can just save my Level 1 materials to use with Little Bit in a few years. Love that! Also, my sister is a dyslexia teacher and has learned way more than me about it. She looked at it and said it it so much of what she uses for her struggling middle school students. It's the basics they didn't get but needed while they were doing their 14-words-and-a-test on Friday!

I am so far really enjoying the curriculum we chose for this year. If you want to know what else we are using, I posted about it here.

So, how is your curriculum working out for you so far?

*I'm an affiliate--click my All About Spelling link in this post!


  1. Cool! So glad this spelling curriculum is working out for you! I am going to tuck this away until we need it, as I am always very interested in curriculum that is not like public school!

    As for our curriculum, it's limited because we are young and just starting out, but I am pleased so far. I know it's just the beginning of the year... but I am already excited for next year!!

  2. Spelling Power for us...but not by the book, really.

    Voracious readers tend to be good spellers (if they're putting their eyes on the right words). Fifi didn't need any spelling work from about 2nd grade to 6th. Now she is working her vocabulary/spelling and comprehension all at once, toward college, with Wordly Wise 9.

    I'm going to have Dumpling copywork a few sentences a day out of the SP lists, and will tweak from there, if need be. (She doesn't enjoy reading like Fifi did, so I expect she will require a little more work.)

  3. I looked at that one too. I can't remember why it didn't seem like a good fit for her. Her learning style I believe.
    And she does read a lot but I haven't seen that play into her spelling and writing...yet. So we are working on it. But I agree--reading helps tremendously.

  4. We use Spelling workout which is the worksheet/ test thing like public school. but it works for us. Well it works for Kate, Matt is doing A and so far I am okay with it but I might have to look at something different for him in the future, I will use this year to decide. I have heard about All about Spelling but have not ever seen it. I would love to look at yours sometime, though!

  5. You got it, Carrie. Yeah, this BETTER work for Little Bit after I spent money on it!! Too soon to tell just yet!


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)