Friday, June 29, 2012

Top 10 Spelling Resources

There are many spelling instruction paradigms used in the homeschool setting and in classrooms today.  I have tried several methods throughout my teaching and homeschooling years.  Please choose the method that works best for your family and see if any of the resources below may help.

I feel that it is important that children learn to spell correctly so that they can be understood and taken seriously when corresponding in written format.  I have searched the internet this year for spelling resources and wanted to share my findings with you.  Please keep in mind that I have not used all of the available resources below so you'll need to preview them first and decide whether they are appropriate for your needs and children.  Most of the activities are free.  Our family enjoys exploring a variety of methods that engage and motivate while learning new spelling words.  I love having the freedom to give our daughter, Alyssa, the opportunity to learn her spelling words using different methods and types of activities.

There are actually more than 10 top ten resources ... I kind of cheated and combined a few.

1.) All About Spelling - This is a hands-on, multi-sensory, mastery-based spelling curriculum utilizing the Orton-Gillingham approach. This spelling curriculum must be purchased.  The company also sells decodable readers that can be used with All About Spelling Level 1 and 2.  Don't forget to sign-up for their newsletter!  The Spelling Resource center provides access to FREE spelling resources, articles, etc. Alyssa adores this program and has completed Level 1. She will begin Level 2 with the decodable readers in the fall if not sooner.  We are currently reviewing all Level 1 rules and words in game format over the summer.  All About Spelling has made spelling fun for us both.  I love the scripted lessons and how easy is it to implement.  We are definite supporters for this curriculum!  I am not currently an affiliate ... we just LOVE this curriculum!

2.) Free Spelling Curriculum
  • Jett Games offers a free curriculum or program called, Spell by Color, based on color-coded spelling rules.  You must scroll down to the 4/30/12 updates and click on the link to download the zip file for Spell by Color Year 1 PDF's.  Year 2 is not currently available for free.   
  • K12 Reader is another free curriculum meant for 1st through 5th grade.  It is based on word lists and uses dictation.  The curriculum provides 36 weeks of word lists, worksheets, and dictation sentences.
  • Zaner-Bloser Spelling Conenctions - Spelling practice workbooks and worksheets for grades 1-8.
  • Spelling Matters - This ESL online spelling program that progresses in difficulty with the number of words and types of words studied.  There are several interactive spelling games for students to play in order to practice spelling words on a weekly basis.  The words are situational which makes it easy for children of different backgrounds and languages to use the program.    
  • Splashes from the River - This is a free homeschool curriculum appropriate for older students in grades 6-8.  
  • Garden of Praise - This may be a supplemental resource for anyone studying the Bible with their children.  This is a Bible-based curriculum with 35 units beginning with a creation unit. It may be more suitable for older elementary children based on the types of activities presented.  
3.) Interactive or Online Resources
  • Spelling City - This is an online, interactive way to practice customized lists of spelling words.  Sign-up for a FREE account and create your own spelling lists for your children. Your child will play word games to practice the assigned words.  Spelling City offers a free or paid account - read the website for the differences between the two accounts.  We currently have a free account.  This can supplement and be combined with any curriculum including AAS, Sequential Spelling, Natural Spelling, Spelling Power, A Reason to Spell, etc.  You can even do a search for lists already made by parents or teachers for particular curriculums.  For example, here is one for Sequential Spelling and there is also a beginning spelling curriculum link.  
  • AAA Spelling - Create a free account.  Accounts are easy to create but are not required.  Read the information on the website about how this resource is used in the classroom and at home.  This website provides activities in several subjects including spelling, vocabulary, math, alphabet, and geography.
  • Kids Spell - The parent can create custom word lists or select from the provided lists.  The word list will be used for every game once selected or created.  The child can choose a game play while learning new words. 
  • Big IQ Kids - This is an interactive tool or program that enables parents to create customizable word lists for their children to study or you can simply use the provided word lists.  Weekly word lists are studies until mastery is reached. This can be a great supplement to any spelling curriculum. You can enter the words from your curriculum for the child to study.       
  • Scrabble Sprint - Challenge your children or yourself to practice spelling with this timed game.
  • The Spelling Monster - Another way to practice spelling words using the word lists they created.
  • Spelling Bee - Challenge yourself or students in a spelling bee.  The word is pronounced and you type the correct spelling in the box.  
  • ICT Games - This is a LOOK COVER WRITE (TYPE) CHECK game.  This is a great opportunity to mesh two activities together.  Try implementing Charlotte Mason's visualizing method here before the child types the word and checks it.   
4.) Don Potter's website gives you access to McGuffey's Eclectic Spelling Book, Don Potter's Webster 1824 American Spelling Book, and his Webster's Spelling Book for the 21st Century including supplements.  You should spend some time exploring his website! He also has a Word Mastery and Blend Phonics curriculum on the linked page that may be suitable for your child.  Check out the freebies he has posted for all subjects (even though some people may consider them old school) - they may be very beneficial to your homeschooling needs.  Those of you using or considering Alpha-Phonics should check out the link titled, Samuel L. Blumenfeld Reading Clinic for additional resources.  They may also be helpful to those of you not using the program.  I always try to find a way to adapt almost anything I find.  There are lesson plans, charts, cursive writing resources, and alphabet teaching ideas.  His website also contains resources for learning languages such as Spanish, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.  The kid's page has links to Google E-books such as The Science Reader and Good Health for Boys and Girls.  There are several links to websites with online games for children.  The phonics page consists of free phonics drill lessons for grades 3rd and up on video - these may seem a bit boring to your students and she explains this at the very beginning of the video.

5.) Spelling Methods - Montessori spelling activities are also a hands-on way to learn how to spell.  E how explains how Montessorians use the method to teach spelling.  You can also do a Google search for more information on his topic.  Charlotte Mason Help posted several articles discussing the topics of Visualizing the Word and Dictation using Charlotte Mason's methods.  Simply Charlotte Mason has a recent post about teaching spelling included in their Subject by Subject series.  I have been intrigued by Charlotte Mason's teaching methods - we use this method when learning new spelling words.  I will often ask Alyssa to visualize a spelling word during All About Spelling lessons before building it with tiles.

6.) That Resource Site - I have mentioned this resource in previous posts.  This is a free resource however they do ask for donation (if possible) so that resources will remain free.  If you find this resource helpful, then please consider a donation.  They have several spelling units and activities available at their website.

7.) Spelling Notebooking and Lapbooking - Check out the spelling notebook page at Notebooking Fairy and the spelling notebook resources available at Training for Triumph Training Hearts While Training Minds.  Alyssa and I have used spelling rule notebooking pages in the past.  I hope to create a spelling notebook this year and include it in our homeschool lessons.  Homeschool Share also has a wonderful spelling and phonics rules lapbook by April Reeves - scroll down the master list that is in alphabetical order - it will immediately download to your computer.

8.) Jimmie's Collage - There are about a zillion ways to practice spelling words.  Jimmie posted 30 creative and fun ways to practice spelling words with your children.  Try incorporating these learning activities into your day and watch your children participate actively during spelling lessons.

9.) Spelling Words Well - This website provides many spelling resources including grade level word list, worksheets, activities, games, etc.  Go take a look and you'll see what I mean!  Spelling It Right is another website containing many resources and materials to supplement your spelling curriculum.  It is filled with activities to help your child learn how to spell correctly.  

10.) Phonogram Tiles - Are you teaching a spelling curriculum with multiple children?  Do you need more than one set of phonogram tiles?  If you use more than one set of tiles, then you can work with one child while the other children are independently working at the table with their set of tiles.  Here are a few options to consider:
  • Learning Abled Kids - Free color-coded phonogram tiles to use with any spelling curriculum
  • Mama Jenn's DIY Magnetic Phonogram Tiles - Magnetic phonogram tiles to create and use with your curriculum.
  • All About Spelling Magnetic Tiles - Durable color-coded phonogram tile tiles to purchase.  We prefer these tiles because they correspond with our current curriculum. 
  • Criss-Cross Applesauce - She created an ingenious lima bean moveable alphabet.  She used the color red for vowels and black for consonants.  Here is a link to how they were used in her writing activities.  This is a cheap way to create alphabet or phonogram tiles.  They can also be color-coded using fine point markers to match the All About Spelling program or any other spelling curriculum.    
  • Colored Post-it Notes - You can use colored post-it notes to create spelling tiles during lessons.  You could also buy plain yellow post-it notes and use colored markers for the letters.   
  • Living Montessori Now has a thorough post containing links to many Moveable Alphabet Materials.  I love this post! Be sure to visit this blog. 
Do you know of any other amazing spelling resources?  What spelling curriculum do you use?  

Thank you for stopping by!!!  Please feel free to comment below.  I love hearing from my readers.

I will be linking up at Many Little Blessings Top Ten Tuesday, Blogging Through the Alphabet, Preschool CornerTeach Me TuesdayHomeschooling on the Cheap, and Freebie Friday. Click on the links above or the buttons below to read other blog posts.
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little BlessingsBlogging Through the AlphabetPreschool Powol Packets

3Boys&aDog DEALS!Homeschool FreeBEE Fridays

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

R is for Rehearsal and Recital

June 2012 Dance Recital

I am so proud of Alyssa's accomplishments this year! One of her accomplishments was to perform their dance routine on stage.  

Rehearsal night caused us a little scare.  The size of the stage and auditorium was quite different from the class location.  Alyssa was very intimidated on rehearsal night. She wrapped her long legs tightly around my waist as I attempted to lift her up onto the stage.  Her eyes began to tear up and she refused to let go.  I felt horrible and wanted her to know that she didn't have to perform if that was her choice. Although, I did remind her that her classmates depended on her participation and let her know that God would be with her at all times.   

Thankfully, she quickly overcame her fear and had big dreams ... huge dreams of being a professional dancer.  I am not sure what they said to her behind the curtains or if it was what I said.  But, I am happy to say that she skipped out with a smile ... ready to show us her best rehearsal performance ever!  

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand ... For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand and say to you: Do not fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:10, 13 

Here are some before and after shots on performance night.  Unfortunately, the photos are not very good.  I was informed upon arrival that I could not use a flash and my camera has a build-in flash.  I am thankful that Alyssa's class performed toward the end of the show.  I sat in the dark trying to figure out how to manually take the photos without flash.  I have been using automatic creative features for years and forgot how to shoot manually. This is what I managed to capture that night. 

Before the Show

Performance Night
Adorable glow-in the-dark costumes!
Alyssa and Summer - her best friend.
Bowing to the audience.
Mrs. Farah, the dance instructor, escorting the girls off the stage.
After Shots
Alyssa with Summer's older sister.  She adores Sydney.
A generous and kind woman overheard our conversation about forgetting to buy flowers.  She pulled a rose from her dozen and gave it to us so that we could surprise Alyssa.  THANK YOU!
Alyssa acting goofy - LOVE IT!  This is my favorite photo!!! 
This post will be linked up at ABC Blogging Through the AlphabetMoments to Remember, Musings From a Stay At Home Mom, and Wordless Wednesday.  To read about a variety of topics posted at these link ups, click on the links above.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Goal Planning Monday - Week 74

Mama Manuscripts has created a meme titled, Real Life Unscripted, as a linky to post your weekly goals.  Let's see which goals I met or accomplish last week ... if any.  Just kidding! 

Goals Last Week
  1. I will use Map Trek at least three times on our camping trip. DONE!  We used our Map Trek map collection four times during our camping trip.  Yah!!!!
  2. We will complete a few Math, Bible, Reading, Geography, and Spanish lessons during our trip. MOSTLY DONE!  We completed all subject lessons except for Spanish because I forgot the calendar, CD, and collage materials.  Alyssa completed two Math lessons and watched her Mathtacular DVD several times.  She also read the Bible daily with me as planned in Diana Waring's History curriculum.  She also did Reading lessons at least three times during vacation. We added in some unplanned Science fun!
  3. I will write my camping post during vacation and take photographs for the Schoolhouse Blog Cruise. PARTIALLY DONE!  I wrote camping post ideas on paper, researched related links for more camping ideas, and took many, many photographs.  I even stayed up late the night we returned home from camping in hopes to post it early but was unable to edit the post due to an unexpected trip to Houston (nephew was born).  I missed the Blog Cruise deadline but will eventually finish writing it and will post it soon.  
  4. We will read from the Bible as a family every morning. DONE!  Alyssa and I did this daily and daddy joined us occasionally.  I am considering this goal as accomplished because I forgot to tell hubby about my plans.  
  5. I received my Child Training Bible kit and supplies right before vacation.  I will assemble and use it during our vacation as both a resource for discipline issues and character study. DONE!  The Child Training Bible is assembled and was used during vacation.  There were discipline issues that came up and needed to be addressed.  The Child Training Bible Kit was very helpful in regards to discipline issues.  
  6. I will return library books before we leave so that I will NOT accrue unnecessary late fees. DONE!  Daddy returned the library books for us in time.  
  7. Clean and prepare the house in case there are any showings.  I need to organize Alyssa's toy room better.  The house goes on the market today. DONE!  I am so glad that this goal was accomplished.  The entire house was ready for any possible showings.  We got lucky ... well, I wouldn't call it luck ... we prayed and God answered our prayers.  The house showed once while we were on vacation and once during our Houston day trip.
  8. I will schedule and plan my July blog posts.  I will aim to blog daily or at least three times a week. MOSTLY DONE! I started to plan blog posts but due to unexpected travels I am now behind on my posts.  I do have plans to get at least three posts up this week before I have reviews due in July. 
  9. I will work on reviews in written form. DONE! I continued working and writing my reviews on paper.  I now have to start working on updating blog posts and making changes.
  10. I will read many books aloud with my daughter.  DONE!  We read a lot every single day.  She also read independently.  We all took turn reading during this vacation.    
  11. I hope to RELAX a bit on vacation.  Last week was very hectic and stressful for our family.  Tension and emotions were high.  We had a close friend pass away and a ton of house projects that needed to be done in time for professional shots. NOT DONE!  I didn't feel relaxed this week.  I tried - honestly.  I had too much on my mind and was busy all the time.  The house projects caused me to get behind on other goals I had for the month.  
  12. I will spend some quality time with my husband and daughter. DONE!  I did spend quality time with family but not as much as I would have liked.  Still compared to previous weeks - I will consider this goal accomplished.
  13. I will start writing at least 5 goals and several categorized goals for the entire month of July. NOT DONE! I did not spend enough time with this goal.  I have too many things I would like to accomplish and need to limit my goals so that I don't get frustrated with myself when they are not met.  I jotted down a few goals and then never touched the paper again.
  14. I will start reading for personal enjoyment this week. I have two books I have been wanting to read.  NOT DONE!  I had good intentions and brought the two books with me but I never had time to read them. 
This Week's Goals
  • I will work on blog button and aim to have one by next week. Wishful thinking - I know.  I may need some technical help or advice with this goal.  
  • I might work on my Facebook fan page but I would like my button done first. 
  • I will workout at least 3-5 times this week for a minimum of 30 minutes.  I have been slacking with my workouts for two months now and have put the weight I lost back on ... all 12 pounds.  I no longer fit in any of my clothes or bathing suit and refuse to buy another bathing suit.  I am very frustrated with myself for not working out as planned. 
  • I will complete and post my camping article before you hear back from me next week.
  • We will purchase several exterior plants for curb appeal.
  • Alyssa and I will attend the library event on Wednesday and have a much needed play date with friends at the library. 
  • I will update and continue editing my Schoolhouse Crew reviews for July.
  • I will hopefully figure out Rafflecopter for an upcoming giveaway.
  • I will place an order for our All About Spelling curriculum.  
  • I will do a cleanse to rid toxins from my body.  I have been eating many unhealthy foods and my sugar cravings seem to be out of control this month.  I don't feel like myself lately and several people advised me to try a cleanse.  We'll see!  
  • I will budget and decide whether or not we have the funds to purchase Lamplighter books for Christmas before the coupon code expires on July 8th.  Several selected books are 20-30% off and only $5.00 flat rate shipping.  Visit the Lamplighter website if interested in this offer and don't forget to sign up for their newsletter.  They often send discounts to newsletter subscribers. 
  • I will purchase a wedding gift for Vanessa and Keith's bridal shower this weekend.
  • I will complete Alyssa's recital post by Wednesday ... oh man ... I just realized that is tomorrow.  I have my work cut out for me today and tonight. 
  • I will continue using and reviewing products as required in our Schoolhouse Crew Review handbook.
  • I will contact Brooks about Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum and possible reviewers. 
  • I need to learn how to take screen shots.  Does anyone know how to do this? Do you have a tutorial to help me.  I would like to take screen shots of Alyssa's online programs to post in my blog reviews?
  • I will post my goals for this week before the week is over - ha ha ha!
I think I better stop there ... I want to be successful this week!

I'm linking my Goal Planning Monday post with others at Real Life Unscripted. They are on week 74 but this is only my 2nd week to participate. Feel free to click the button below to join us!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Goal Planning Monday

Mama Manuscripts has created a meme titled, Real Life Unscripted, as a linky to post your weekly goals.  I started jotting down my goals here and there but usually never followed through with them and often lost the sheets.  I am tired of this and need some way to hold myself accountable for the things I want to work towards or accomplish.  This week I will post my goals and see whether or not I meet them.

Goals This Week
  • I am reviewing products for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I will use Map Trek at least three times on our camping trip. Most of the items that I am currently reviewing are software or subscription items that I am unable to take with us since I won't have a computer. 
  • We will complete a few Math, Bible, Reading, Geography, and Spanish lessons this week.
  • I will write my camping post during vacation and take photographs for the Schoolhouse Blog Cruise.
  • We will read from the Bible as a family every morning.
  • I received my Child Training Bible yesterday.  I will assemble and use it during our vacation as both a resource for discipline issues and character study.
  • I will return library books before we leave so that I will NOT accrue unnecessary late fees.
  • Clean and prepare the house in case there are any showings.  I need to organize Alyssa's toy room better.  The house goes on the market today.
  • I will schedule and plan my July blog posts.  I will aim to blog daily or at least three times a week.
  • I will work on reviews in written form.
  • I will read many books aloud with my daughter. 
  • I hope to RELAX a bit on this vacation.  This week has been very hectic and stressful for our family.  Tension and emotions are high.  We had a close friend pass away and a ton of house projects that needed to be done before the professional shots were taken on Saturday.
  • I will spend some quality time with my husband and daughter.
  • I will start writing at least 5 goals for next week and several categorized goals for the entire month of July. 
  • I will start reading for personal enjoyment this week. I have two books I have been wanting to read.
I'm linking my Goal Planning Monday post with others at Real Life Unscripted. Feel free to click below to join us!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fatherly Love and Shout Out

Happy Father's Day Jeffry!!!

You are the one and only man for me.  I know I don't tell you or show you how much I love you as often as I should ... but I do LOVE you with all of my heart.  It's great to have a father on board ... a husband that supports the decision to homeschool and do what's best for Alyssa. You are a compassionate and talented man.  We are proud of you and all that you have accomplished over the years.  You bring us so much joy and happiness.  We admire your dedication and how hard you work to support the family.  We are thankful for the time we get to spend together doing the things we love.    

Alyssa LOVES spending quality time with you no matter the circumstances, where you are, or what you are doing.

You Are Her ... 
Little fishing buddy
Ultimate prankster pal and partner in crime
Chauffeur driver
Best kisser 
Beach loving companion
Investigating amigo
Trailblazing friend
Supporting rock and shell collector
Bird and crab catching advocator
Crab walking fool
Enlightened communicator of prayers
Patient fish observer
Fun tackle playmate
Endearing snuggle bunny
Favorite firefighter and admired hero

And that is just to name a few ... the list is never-ending.  

"Any man can be a father.  It takes someone special to be a dad."  ~Author Unknown

"A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty." ~Author Unknown

We are so very blessed!

"Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!"  ~Lydia M. Child, Philothea: A Romance, 1836

I will link this post at (with permission from hubby first - LOL):