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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This Is How We Do It: Spelling

Spelling is something I've always had a knack for and I'm very thankful that it appears Lillie also has a knack for it and likes it. And though I think that it's important to make those subjects your kids DON"T like is equally important to stoke the fires of the subjects they LIKE to do. So, in the spirit of making schoolwork's how we keep spelling interesting.

First off, I felt like I needed a solid base from which to start. I didn't want to buy an expensive curriculum and I knew I wanted something that not only embraced the learning style I love so dear, but that also could be used over and over and over again. So that is why I'm plugging Kathryn Stouts Natural Speller. It's affordable (I got mine on used for less than $5).

It has grade appropriate word lists that are grouped by sound patterns and sight patterns (which is how I visualizing the shape of the word. If I can write it down, I can spell it.) which is a real plus with visual learners.

*Short Lessons
*Plenty of activities to reinforce the words being learned and also tying in dictionary, grammar and handwriting skills.
*Super flexible..take it at your child's pace.

Okay, in short ...I like it and give it two thumbs up and if I had more than two thumbs I'd stick them up as well.'s how I work spelling. It's a daily thing. On Monday, I choose 10 words from the list that she doesn't already know (when we started out, most of the words on the first list were too easy for her.) Then we pre-test. The words she misses, she writes 5 times each. I was giving the test verbally and may still do that from time to time, but was SO EXCITED to find this website that I can type in the words and it generates an online test with a lovely lady who calls out the words and uses them in a sentence for me. SPELLING CITY is very cool, Lillie likes the format and it's FREE. Ahhh, free...I just love that word!

In addition, Lillie goes through her picture dictionary and picks a word for the day. She copies the definition and draws a picture of the word if she can and we put it in her spelling notebook.
Now, Tuesday through Thursday, she does what I call spelling challenges. The Natural Speller has alot of grade appropriate activities and then I add some I make up myself. I write them on slips of paper and she draws one out. The activities include finding the words in the dictionary, busting the words into syllables, crosswords, word searches, word scrambles, all sorts of things.

BY THE are two sites where you can make your own puzzles to print...the uses for these are unlimited and it's FREE.
Discovery Education Puzzle maker
Armored Penguin Word Scrambler

On Friday we test again. All written work is put in a folder in the filing cabinet. I have found if I have a separate routine for each subject I do alot better and it keeps me from flying off into all different directions.
Okay, so there it is...nothing fancy and nothing expensive. Which just goes to show with a little tad of gumption and high speed internet, it is possible to homeschool on less than a shoestring.

So don't sweat it if you find yourself low on funding...the internet has a wealth of information and support and free stuff to help you through the lean times. Your child's education doesn't hinge on if your globe talks to them or how big your school area is or anything like that. Your child's education hinges on you, the parent, investing your time and your excitement into what can be one of the most rewarding times in pressure or anything. LOL

Have a blessed day!


  1. Great post! I have a question though how do you keep up with all these great sites and don't forget about them. My favorites list is a MILE long already and I lose some of the best sites for school because I FORGET them!

  2. I have that same problem. What helps is I regularly clean up my favorites...I go through each folder and click on each link to see if it's something I really need or just something I saved long enough to read and then forgot I wanted to read them. I can't tell you how many times I've been looking through my favorites and found projects I'd love to do, recipes I'd love to make or craft projects I'd like to try....I have the same problem with all the freebies I download...I reckon all you can do is make it a weekly or a bi-weekly habit of going through your favorite list and weeding out stuff. I have a folder for stuff I just want to print for school, a folder for sites for each child AND then subdivided into subjects, a folder for craft or fun projects, a folder for recipes/cooking sites etc....organizing everything into folders is the only way to go, I would think.