- Spelling I have been toying with starting spelling as a separate subject for a while. I like our phonics for decoding, but I feel encoding needs to be taught also; or at the very least practiced. I really haven’t found a program I like. I want/ed to teach spelling by spelling rule / phonics rule. Some programs I have seen group words ‘by other criteria’ such as vocabulary from a story or all words that end in “th”. That might be better, I don’t actually know, I am not setting out to make any professional recommendations or comment on the different ways to teach spelling. Actually, I like the look of Sequential Spelling and reserve the right to switch to that. Nevertheless I wanted to start with spelling by spelling rule / phonics rule. I was not happy with what I had found and had pretty much decided to make my own lists (10 to 12 words a week) and I was going to pull word lists from the Explore The Code books that we have finished (book 1 to 3.5). The books work though the phonics rules one at a time, focusing on one per lesson, I thought I could pull words out for our spelling list that ETC had used (for example a list of words where “oa” makes the long o sound). Then, ah then, I realized that since we are living in temporary housing (and have moved so many times since Oct of 2012) I have packed up to store all our competed books and do not have access to them, to use them for this great idea.I was talking to a fellow home school mom one night and she suggested I look at the McGuffey’s Eclectic Spelling Book.First publish in 1836. I discovered that it was available for free on my Kindel Fire so I “bought it”. “This 1879 revised edition conforms to Webster’s International Dictionary, and associates each lesson with some principle of sound, meaning, or accent”. Have a bit of history with your spelling, there lad?
Another home school mom – you have to love the home school community; many hands make light work and there is never any reason to recreate the wheel – had, in the past, turned me on to spellingcity.com where you can create worksheets and activities based on your own spelling lists. (There is a free version, and a pay version, but the free version allow you to do some stuff). I had never used it, since we had never done formal spelling, but here, here was an opportunity. Now I had spelling lists, and a way to create worksheets and activities.
I took the two ideas – one the start of public education in America, and one from the “modern technology age” and crafted us a spelling curriculum. I created spelling lists for us; following roughly the order of the McGruffy Speller, and using most (though not all) of the words in the Speller’s lists. I also found http://www.k12reader.com/first-grade-spelling-words/ where you can download graded levels spelling lists; again I cherry picked the lists, or part of lists that met our needs.
I happily stole the first home schools mom’s idea and did the first spelling list on “math” words (see below) because these words are practical and functional. I know, that cries out against my “not wanting to group words by subject rather than spelling rule” logic. However I felt that ‘math words’ were necessary for word problems and so on as we move forward with math, so I made an exception. I made five lists of math related words that I felt Big Brother should be exposed to assist in him more independently doing his math work. However, I did not do them one a week for five weeks; I felt that was a bit much, so I mixed them in with the other “more traditional spelling rules” lists. I plan to make more “exception lists” as we go on and they become an obvious need. As he learns to read better, I want to be sure Big Brother has the tools he needs to be able to work more and more independently.
After creating the math related lists, I started over at short vowels sounds and went, week by week, vowel by vowel; after that a couple of weeks of “mixed” lists where all the vowels were still short, but all five main vowels were represented on the list together. Then we moved on to “silent e” words and did a few weeks on that concept. After that, lists based off different spelling rules (such as ‘oa’ = long o like in boat). By the end of the first night, sitting with my McGuffey’s Eclectic Spelling Book and brainstorming “math related words” with my fellow home schooling mom, I had 21 lists; not all of them had 10 words yet, but I had a plan; and over 5 months of spelling lists. I love a good plan.
In case you are interested here are the spelling lists I have so far, note that do not all have ten words yet, I will be filling them in before I use them. Next week will be week three for us, and we will be doing short U; week four we will do another ‘math list’.