Friday’s Hardwired Homeschool Hints: Spelling

fridays hardwired homeschool hints pic

In 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.
  • SpellDoctor – this is a more than just a tool; it is a complete spelling program.  I have subscribed to this service for two years now, and can attest to its thoroughness.  Although it can be pricey, it is definitely worth it (and check Homeschool Buyer’s Coop for group discounts)
  • 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.

To check out the other Friday’s Hardwired Homeschool Hints posts, go to my new HHH page!

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Friday’s Hardwired Homeschool Hints: Learning Styles

I was four years into homeschooling before I knew ANYTHING about learning styles.  Can you imagine how much abacus curriculum we went through in those four years??  Like a total nube, I made the mistaken assumption that I could pick a curriculum that fit with our values system and budget and it would magically work with my kiddos.  Au contraire!

Once I understood that we all learn in different unique ways, and that curriculum could be matched to our particular style, I was in homeschool heaven.  So, just in case you are in the dark like I was, or maybe just need a refresher, I’m going to focus today’s HHH on some tools and sites that will help you determine your child’s (and yours!) learning style and make the most of it this homeschool year….

Hope these links, at the start of a new homeschool year, will help you get focused on how to help your child reach his or her full potential.  Trust me….it is going to be a great year for homeschooling!!