Today we are going to talk all about spelling. One of the main reasons we chose the school my child went to for Kindergarten was their reading and spelling program. I had attempted to teach reading myself at home and was unable to do it. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses with their education. This was definitely not my child’s strength.
Our kindergarten teacher was amazing and by the end of the year we were on the same level as the average child. But first grade didn’t go as planned. My child began to struggle with spelling and I didn’t feel like we were getting the assistance we needed from the school or the teacher.
Once the pandemic hit we moved to distance learning like everyone else. This is where I really felt like things stalled. I realized that my child would memorize the spelling lists. But then, when my child would go to spell anything not on the list, every word was wrong. Once I made the decision to go to homeschool and build my own curriculum, I knew that spelling was on the top of my list.
Deciding on A Spelling Curriculum
After much research I settled on two curriculums. The Logic of English and All About Spelling. I really loved how detailed the Logic of English is and I really thought that was what we would go with. It is a full English Curriculum that aptly teaches the Logic behind English.
If you are looking for a full English curriculum make sure to check them out. Their customer service department is excellent. When I called I got a real live person and they were more than helpful. They sent me links and information pdfs right away.
It’s a very comprehensive program. It covers multiple years in one book so its great for multiple students. It’s also great to reuse with the same students. The main problem I had was that we already had an English Curriculum from Shirley English we were using and a separate Reading Curriculum. The Logic of English Curriculum would have been to much.
Why We Chose All About Spelling
So in the end we went with the All About Spelling curriculum. It is strictly a spelling program. There is a separate reading curriculum you can get if you need both. As the website suggested we started at book 1. They recommend beginning at the first book and if your child is further along to work at an accelerated pace. The reason for this is that All About Spelling teaches you the rules of spelling. So there is an order that needs to be followed.
Can I just say that I wish I had this curriculum as a child. When I was starting to teach spelling my child would say things like “why do we do this?” And I would reply, “You just do.” I personally have learned so much from these lessons that it’s incredible.
Not only that, my child has become a proficient speller in just a matter of eight months. Whenever we run into a problem I simply ask what the rule is and the spelling is instantly corrected.
What the Kit Comes With
The Level 1 Kit comes with everything you need. It comes with the instructional manual, four kinds of flash cards, physical letter tiles, a certificate of completion and stickers with a progress chart. You will need a magnet white board for the physical tiles.
To use the book you start at the beginning. As the teacher, you read the instructions to your child. Each section will tell you how to teach each lesson so there is no guess work. If you have multiple children near the same age you can use one level for them all. This will save you time and money in the beginning. You can advance the students at their own pace and move them up levels when they are ready.
There are four sets of flash cards. They are the sound cards (red), phonogram cards (yellow), key cards (blue) and word cards (green).
The Phonogram Cards & Phonogram Sounds App
The Phonogram Cards have each of the phonograms on the front with pronunciations on the back. The cards are designed to help your kids with the sounds letters make. I have used these off and on but All About Spelling makes an app called Phonogram Sounds that is free on all the App Stores.
The Phonogram Sounds App not only gives you the phonograms broken out by categories, but it clearly pronounces them as well. We have used this app almost exclusively. I actually prefer it because the sounds are said properly with the right intonation.
I realized that someone like my mother who has an accent would pronounce the phonogram different than I would. Improperly pronouncing the sounds of phonograms leads to difficulties for your child later on. An example of this is the letter “l”. Many would pronounce the sound as “luh”. This is incorrect. I realized I was putting this “uh” sound on almost every letter.
So I highly recommend using the app. If you don’t want to use it, I encourage you as the parent to listen to it and then use the flash cards with your child. This will ensure you are giving the correct pronunciation.
The Sound Cards
The Sound Cards require that your child dictate sounds back to you or answer questions regarding sounds. I use these occasionally as a refresher and to change up the work. But, I don’t use them regularly as they are repetitive of the other cards. I can see using them for a child that is really struggling with phonogram sounds. It would help with retention and memory.
The Key Cards
The Key Cards are definitely my favorite. They contain all the rules of spelling. We review these the most. It not only helps my child to remember the rules, it helps me to remember as well. If a rule is forgotten it is easy to pull out the card and do a refresh. Also, if your child struggles with a particular rule you can go over it more often.
The Word Cards
The Word Cards are all the words they will learn in that Level. It allows you to check that your child can visually read the word which will improve reading as well as spelling. It also allows you to make sure your child can spell the word. You can also use them for reviews at the end of the lesson or the curriculum.
If I had any complaints at all it would be the prep work when you get the kit. The flash cards must all be separated and this takes some time. But you only do it once per level. The physical letter tiles must also be separated and you have to put magnets on them. But again, only once at the beginning.
If you do not wish to deal with the physical letter tiles you can purchase the All About Spelling App. It’s $20 on the app stores. Sounds like a lot, but really it’s a one time purchase. It is good for all levels so you are not buying separate apps for each. It saves a ton of prep work time as well. I strive to keep device time to a minimum and this app is a must for me.
It is important to note that this is not a student led program. It requires time and effort from the parent. In the beginning expect to take about 30-40 minutes per lesson until you and your child get the hang of things. After you are used to the program it will shorten to about 15-20 minutes per less. This might not be possible for everyone’s situation. But I would definitely say it’s worth making time for.
Also, the method could be difficult for a child coming from public school. If they are used to memorizing words it could take a little longer to go through each lesson at the beginning. Also it’s important to not that these books only briefly touch on homophones. Homophones are an essential part of spelling. To really get the best results, this program should be used in conjunction with the All About Homophones Curriculum. You can read all about it in my post HERE.
Overall, this program is a wonderful curriculum. Children do not learn to spell by memorization. They learn the rules of why and how you spell. It helps them to spell all words not just a list of words. Which is why I think it is far superior to the average spelling workbook. It is by far one of the best purchases we made for our curriculum.