After 20+ years of homeschooling mistakes and victories, I think have discovered which spelling program works best for us:

  1. I collect commonly misspelled words in the English language.
  2. I gather every misspelled word that students use in casual writing of notes, messages and lists.
  3. I jot down words that are frequently used throughout the course of a typical school year (like geography and history words that are used in school writing assignments but not typically used in conversation – like Antarctica.)

This collection of words becomes my spelling list for school.  I choose ten words every week.

Benefits:

  • No add-on workbook and less correcting by me.
  • You can add any words that coordinate with what you’re learning in other subjects.
  • Students will learn to spell lots of words they use most often, and also learn words that are buggers for everyone.
  • It’s for all grade levels.  I have students aged 11 – 16 using the same list.

This is what our spelling looks like every week:

  1. Monday — Pretest. I read a list of 10 words, one by one.  Students try to spell each one on paper.  We correct this test together. Mark the scores, so that after the final test you can chart the progress. Students write misspells 3 times each on the same paper. Give each student a list of correctly spelled words for the week.
  2. Tuesday — Spelling sentences. Students write ten sentences, using one spelling word in each sentence.
  3. Wednesday — Peer Practice. Students quiz each other orally on the word list.
  4. Thursday — Dictation. Borrow 4-5 sentences from the work that the students wrote earlier in the week.  Read each sentence aloud, two or three times.  The student writes the exact sentence with proper sentence structure (capital letters, punctuation, etc.)
  5. Friday — Final Test. Students study words and take the final test. Record final score.

(We often skip a day’s activity. They still get lots of practice.)

Using this method, most of my students received an average of 90-100% every week on the final test. (Even though pretest scores may have been low, they always improve.)

This year, I collected a list of 270 words.

Please contact me for a free copy of this list.  You’ll be ready with spelling for the upcoming school year!

Or…make your own list using the words that your family typically misspells.  Add a few commonly misspelled words in the English language.

Do you have a spelling program?  What works well for your family?

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