When we first started homeschooling, there were a few subjects that I knew I would have to read and research to successfully teach my children.
Math and writing come immediately to mind.
But spelling? Surely not. How hard could it be to teach spelling?
I mean, really.
I am a natural speller, and I could tell that my 5 year old Kindergartner was going to be a natural speller as well.
And I was right. That little Kindergartner successfully completed 4 levels of All About Spelling by the time he hit 3rd grade, and he spells exceptionally well.
Then my next little stair step came along and had a much harder time with reading. I delayed formal spelling with her until the end of 1st grade and she moved out of the “beginning reader” stage.
BTW, this post uses my affiliate links, and you can take a peek at my disclosure policy if you’d like. This is not a sponsored post, just FYI.
While I felt like they were making progress within the program itself, the spelling skills didn’t carry over very well to their other written work. I felt like they needed something different.
I wasn’t sure what that ‘different’ component was, but I was determined to find it.
➡ Browse through all of the homeschool curriculum posts here at Mama’s Learning Corner.
Spelling Curriculum We Tried
I was a faithful user of All About Spelling for many years, and still believe it’s a great fit for the right student. Because my girls needed something different, I researched for hours and hours looking for just the right fit for them to be successful.
We tried MegaWords Book 1 for several months with my #2 child. While separating the syllables was very helpful, she still didn’t understand why words were spelled as they were.
It was still just throwing darts at the dart board for her.
She needed a better grasp of phonograms (a letter or combo of letters that make up a sound) so she would have a fighting chance at choosing the right letters when spelling.
We also tried ACSI Spelling, also called Purposeful Design Spelling, and while that was an improvement, I saw little results in her other work. She memorized how to spell the words, still with minimal understanding.
My #3 child worked through most of Rod & Staff’s Grade 4 spelling book with little results as well. While she could study quickly and pass the test on Friday, she still had minimal spelling tools in her brain to pull from.
Needless to say, I was very frustrated!
Books on How to Teach Spelling
All during this time of choosing a different spelling curriculum, I was reading about how to teach spelling. While I am a very natural speller, knowing how to spell well and teaching spelling are two very different skills.
For awhile, I thought How to Teach Spelling was going to be the answer for our spelling woes. I even purchased their workbooks, but ended up not using them in our homeschool.
Even though I didn’t use the curriculum as it’s written, I’ve read How to Teach Spelling from cover to cover several times. It’s very logical and systematic in the way it presents learning the phonograms. The lists of words containing specific phonograms are very helpful!
It also provides guidance on teaching spelling to elementary students and middle and high school students as well.
I also have read The ABC’s and All Their Tricks a couple of times. The first part of this book is the nuts and bolts of spelling, and the biggest section is more of a reference book for each letter and sound. It’s an invaluable reference for a homeschool mom’s bookshelf. I pull this book out almost every week.
Between the teaching components of All About Spelling, and the other two books, I have a much better working knowledge of teaching spelling to my girls.
Our Current Spelling Curriculum
As you might remember, we switched to mostly full Memoria Press cores this school year. My #4 child (2nd grade) did a mix of the 1st and 2nd grade cores.
With the 1st grade core came Traditional Spelling I. Since it was included with the core, I thought I would give it a try with my youngest girl.
➡ Read my full (unpaid) review of Our Experience with Traditional Spelling I. The short version: GREAT success!
I have been so impressed with my 2nd grader’s spelling improvement! Finally I’m seeing progress!
We are finishing up the curriculum next week, so we have been able to enjoy 33 weeks of spelling success.
My 2nd grader has gone from a girl with minimal spelling and reading confidence to a child who feels successful. Her confidence has soared, and it has been such a joy to watch!
In fact, 4 weeks ago, I decided to start my 4th and 6th graders in Traditional Spelling II. While most of the words in the weekly lists are “easy” for them, we are working through each week in the curriculum is written.
My older girls are working through the Level II book to increase their spelling awareness and their ability to distinguish phonograms more readily.
It involves quite a bit of working with words, understanding the different phonograms that can make up a sound (there are multiple ways to spell long i, for example), and solidifying basic spelling rules.
In just the past 4 weeks, I have seen huge jumps in their spelling ability in other school subjects. It may seem odd to start a spelling curriculum with just 7 weeks of school left, but I’m so glad that we did!
Why Traditional Spelling is Working in our Homeschool
Traditional Spelling I has been successful for my 2nd grader, and subsequently my older girls, for a couple of reasons:
- It has a writing component that is “just enough.” Even my writing averse oldest child could have been successful and thrived with the amount of writing.
- There is an abundance of (but manageable!) amount of word work each week.
- The pattern to each week is very predictable. My children love knowing what to expect.
- There is substantial teaching help for mom.
Even without educating myself on how to teach spelling to my children, I could teach Traditional Spelling confidently to my young ones. Every teaching tool you need is within the Teacher’s Guide.
Having read the extra books to educate myself just makes it all the more easy to teach spelling now!
♥ I always think it’s helpful to see how other homeschool families use specific curriculum. I’ll have a post in the next few days showing how I used Traditional Spelling I with my 2nd grader this year.
UPDATE: You can read that post here: Our Experience with Traditional Spelling I. ❤