How We Achieved Spelling Success in Our Homeschool

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When I began our homeschool journey, I was a bit nervous about teaching my kids how to read. I had never taught anyone to read and I felt a bit intimidated. And teaching math? Well, that scared me quite a bit too.

My oldest child learned to read almost on her own, and I felt encouraged and emboldened for the challenge of teaching all of my children to read.

However, my next child was not a natural reader and it took years to find reading fluency. I had a few discouraging years when I questioned my ability to teach my kids to read. I’m so thankful I found this program to help my struggling reader progress to being a successful and fluent reader.

Our math story reads the opposite as my oldest child struggled with math concepts and my second-born child was a natural mathematician. Those first years of homeschooling were certainly humbling as we struggled through reading and math.

For some reason I had never thought about teaching my kids to spell. I don’t ever remember much about learning to spell except for the weekly spelling tests. I was a natural spelling and never had difficulty with spelling.

So, imagine my surprise when my oldest three children could not spell a single word correctly – even simple, short words that they could easily read.

Spelling is an entirely different skill than reading. And even those children who learn to read easily might not have the same quick success with spelling.

I was honestly shocked and horrified that my children could not master the skill of spelling.

So, I put spelling off for a few years until my kids were fluent readers. This was one of the best decisions I made in our homeschool. You can read more about my journey of teaching spelling in this post.

But once I started the process of teaching spelling, I knew that I had to use the partner program to our very favorite reading program.

That was years ago when we began our spelling journey.

Now I’m to the end of that journey with our oldest child.

I am absolutely floored by her progress. This child can spell nearly anything. She is confident in her spelling abilities and now her composition skills have soared with a solid spelling foundation.

We’ve just finished the very last level of our spelling curriculum. And I can definitively say that it works. This program has worked wonders in our house.

Here’s what we’ve loved about the program:

  • Phonetic approach

I firmly believe in using a phonics-based approach to teaching reading and spelling. And I love that this program phonics on word families that use the same phonetic sounds.

My kids have been able to work slowly through each lesson as it progresses through various phonetic teams in a logical way.

There are no lists of random words that are in no way related. Instead, my kids focus on different sounds and teams each week as they learn to spell words with those sounds.

  • Dictation

I have found that my kids can often spell words correctly when those words are simply in a list of phonetically-similar words. However, you stick those words in a sentence and all bets are off. They become completely unable to spell anything in a logical way.

That why I was thrilled that this program has review and reinforcement built into the lessons with the dictation sentences that are found in almost every lesson. By dictating these sentences to my kids, they learned to spell words in the context of sentences. And it also improved their listening skills.

Teaching spelling through dictation has been an incredibly helpful tool in our homeschool and I believe the dictation is what has made the spelling rules really “stick” for my kids.

  • Root words

That last level has Latin and Greek root words, teaching the meaning of the root as well as the numerous words that are derived from this root.

This has not only helped my oldest see these longer words as part of a word family, because they all come from the same, simple base words, but she is now able to understand the meaning of these words.

Her spelling skills have improved and her vocabulary has grown through completing this last level of the program. She is now confident to spell much longer words, because she has the skills to break down the word into its root and any prefixes and suffixes that have been added.

  • Easy to use

This is the part of the program that I have probably enjoyed the most. I do zero planning for this program. Each lesson is clearly explained to me, so I just grab my book and open to the lesson for the day. I don’t have to read ahead or even have a background in teaching phonics to be successful in using this program.

The program contains several pieces like the letter tiles and some added resources like lists of similar words.

However, I’ve found that we’re successful with the program using nothing more than the books and an individual whiteboard. I sit next to my kids and demonstrated the phonetic teams and spelling rules right on the whiteboard. Then I dictate words and sentences to my kids for them to write on their own as I sit nearby to correct.

If you’re using this program with multiple ages, know that you can simplify and still be successful.

All About Spelling

This past year I had 5 different children working through the various levels of the program, so I had to adapt the program slightly to fit into the timeframe of our school day.

If you’re looking for spelling success, I can highly recommend all levels of this program as it teaches spelling in a logical way and will give your children a wonderfully strong spelling foundation.

Read more about our favorite reading and spelling program here:

All About Spelling Level 5

All About Spelling Level 3

All About Reading Level 4

How I Make All about Reading Work for Me

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