One of the reasons we chose to go with the Classical Education model for our homeschool was because of its focus on language. I have always believed that if you taught a child to read and write well, that they could learn anything. That's the same philosophy that Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise espouse in their book, The Well-Trained Mind. We spend a lot of time on reading, spelling, grammar, and writing, along with copywork and dictation (which I'll talk about more in a future post.) With that in mind, here are some of my favorite resources for helping your elementary-aged kiddos become superstar spellers.
1. Spelling Workout
The Spelling Workout series of workbooks by Modern Curriculum Press is the basis of our spelling curriculum. The chapters in each workbook are organized not by theme (words about weather, words about animals, etc.) but by spelling rules. This dovetails nicely with the phonics I used with the kids when I taught them to read, as well as with some of our grammar lessons.
Each chapter begins with a short piece of writing, using some of the words in the chapter's spelling list. Then (my favorite part) a spelling tip is given, such as:
"When a vowel is followed by r, the vowel sound is changed by the r. Listen for the or sound in corn and the ar sound in farm."
Each chapter includes three pages of practice, including a section that familiarizes students with common proofreading marks. We love this series.
2. Free Online Spelling Lists
If you'd rather not buy a workbook, there are several good free resources online to build a spelling curriculum around. Here are a few we've tried:
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Eduplace Spelling
- EdHelper.com's Spelling Lists
- Super Teacher Worksheets (Some activities are free, others require a paid membership.)
3. Online Spelling Games
These games aren't built around a specific list or curriculum, but they're a fun way to give kids some extra spelling practice (and see how well they remember the spelling rules they've learned!)
- Kids Spell (This is my personal favorite. You can load and save custom lists to give your kids extra practice for your spelling units.)
- Funbrain.com's SpellCheck
- PBS's SuperWhy Spelling Bee
4. Extra Practice: Spelling Soup ActivitiesIf your kids have a few words that just keep tripping them up, combine them into one list and use the Spelling Soup activities to provide extra drills. To begin, print out the PDF from Have Fun Teaching (Choose either primary grades or intermediate grades). Then just let your child work their way through the activities. If you and your kids like reward systems, consider coming up with a reward for getting all possible points, or for completing a certain number of the Spelling Soup activities. Once they do a few of these, chances are good that they won't have problems with those trouble words anymore.
I hope these resources are helpful to you. We use most of them every week, and (thankfully!) so far my kids really enjoy spelling. What are some of your favorite resources for teaching spelling?