• Anxious About Spelling?

    spelling-jpgIn all my years as a homeschooling mom, I have never once woken up with the thought “Oh boy, I can’t wait until we get to do our spelling lesson today!” Go figure. Even though I was a pretty good speller in school myself, I still never got overly excited about spelling in general. Ok, there was this one time in third grade that I won a regional spelling bee and got to meet our local news broadcasters, but that was honestly the highlight of my spelling career. After elementary school, I never really thought about spelling.
    And then years passed, and I woke up one day and I was a homeschooling mom. Almost overnight, spelling became sort of a big deal. Homeschooling and educational guides got me thinking about things I had never even considered up to that point. Was I going to teach using the phonics method or the whole word method? Would I use visual and kinesthetic manipulatives? Did I know all the phonograms, and how to correctly pronounce them? Add to that mixture a son who has dyslexia, and you have a recipe for spelling anxiety. So, I have depended on a good many different tools to help me in my spelling instruction over the years. I am mentioning some of my most favorite ones today…

    • Spelling City – revolutionary free spelling site that lets you put in your own spelling list, and students can hear the words in a real human voice, and play games with them. You can even use it as your weekly spelling test with the testing feature. One other incredibly cool perk is the ability to create handwriting worksheets out of the spelling words!!
    • Franklin’s Spelling Corrector – for any off-computer writing, this is the tool to have. Even if a child only knows how to spell a word phonetically (by sound) this little gadget will figure out what word they are trying to spell and give them the correct spelling
    • As-U-Type – if your homeschooler does most of his or her writing on the computer, this is a wonderful program to install because it not only spell checks as they type, but keeps track of their misspelled words in a file, so you can collect them for further spelling study, or spelling lists.
    • Skillswise Spelling – this site focuses on the “why’s” behind our spelling rules, and examines words from every angle. The site includes sections on root words, prefixes and suffixes, homophones, letter patterns, silent letters and more. Interactive games help students practice each of the concepts taught, and most of the lessons include printable factsheets for further reference and instruction.
    • LookWayUp – similar to the Franklin spelling corrector, but in an easy to access web version. No matter what the word, or how strangely it is entered, the LookWayup program will decipher the word and give you the correct spelling and definition. Only know how the word sounds phonetically? No problem. Just type in the sounds you hear, and the program will tell you its top choice based on your input, and then list other possible choices underneath.

    What about you? What are your favorite spelling resources?? Share them with us in the comments....
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. wild_destiny's Avatar
      wild_destiny -
      Thanks for a great article on spelling and the anxiety many of us have in teaching this. You are tops, Topsy!
    1. hockeymom's Avatar
      hockeymom -
      These are great suggestions! I was a natural speller (not so much anymore though!) so I never thought it about much. And since DS was an early reader and most things come pretty naturally to him, I never considered that spelling would be something that might not. He isn't thrilled about spelling lists and I feel kind of lame trying to make him do them, but these sites should help tons! Thanks for putting all this together!
    1. InstinctiveMom's Avatar
      InstinctiveMom -
      These are great!! My boys are neither one all that interested in spelling, so we're just focusing on getting thoughts onto paper right now - but having these in my tool belt will come in handy
      ~h
    1. pandahoneybee's Avatar
      pandahoneybee -
      love this article and the fact that you put in all those links. I will be trying some new approaches to this subject this year trying to make something click!
    1. Fiddler's Avatar
      Fiddler -
      We've done spelling since Jazz (my most right-brained learner so far) was about nine or so, though we never tried any of the programs you mention, Topsy. We used Sequential Spelling and then Spelling Workout. But it wasn't until he started learning about word roots at age 12 this past spring (starting with Vocabulary from Classical Roots) that he actually started noticing or caring how words were spelled. Now I'd say he has about 99% accuracy. We're not even continuing with a spelling program at all now--just more word roots (more VfCR and Caesar's English from Michael Clay Thompson).
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