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In your opinion, what is THE best spelling curriculum available?

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#1 Part-Time Homeschooler

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 10:12 PM

Thanks!

#2 OhElizabeth

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 10:20 PM

For what type of child? From the parent's perspective, the best program is the one that gets done. From the natural speller dc's perspective, it's the one that takes the least time or gets totally skipped. For the struggling student or non-natural speller, it's whatever it takes (or whatever combo of all that it takes) to get the job done. Cathy Duffy and WTM both list some solid, standard choices for the average dc, things that are practical and affordable. When I started with my dd, I was looking for a program that was sure to teach spelling to any kid, even if it was overkill, fearing she might have inherited dh's spelling (or lack of spelling) gene. I landed on SWR. It's certainly not the only way or even what I'd chose if buying something today. I'm just saying the best spelling program is going to depend on the dc, your time to teach, etc.

So there, any specifics about your dc to help people guide you? :)

#3 Stacy in NJ

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 10:20 PM

The very best spelling program is published by SRA. It's called Spelling Mastery and is really expensive. It's difficult to find used. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes per day, is scripted and is mindlessly easy for the teacher to implement. Best of all, it actually works. Other than my own family, I know no one who uses it.https://www.sraonlin...&sid=3014&open=

#4 trust and obey

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 10:35 PM

Sequential Spelling has been great for us. I have an awful speller, and a natural speller, and it works well for both. It's very pick up and go, no prep time required. The lists are based on patterns in spelling, for example, all, tall, stall, install, installment. There are no lists to memorize, but the student takes a test every day, and patterns are repeated throughout the week, and revisited. This really helps my bad speller to have to think about the words and learn them, not just memorize a list for a week, spit it out, and then forget it the next week he has to write something (which is what happened before).

My two cents, hope it helps!

#5 Linda...inOwasso

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 11:03 PM

Wow Stacy... thanks a lot! ( I think ) I just checked out the Spelling Mastery website and it looks fabulous!! Of course, I downloaded the demo and LOVE it. So, would you mind answering a couple of questions for me?

What do you order and use? The single-instructor computer software? Do you know if they offer a home-school discount? I'm very interested in this product, but would love to find a way to cut the expense down a little.


Many thanks!

#6 Heather in Neverland

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 11:26 PM

We love the Phonetic Zoo!

#7 NorCalMom

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 11:30 PM

For what type of child? From the parent's perspective, the best program is the one that gets done. From the natural speller dc's perspective, it's the one that takes the least time or gets totally skipped. For the struggling student or non-natural speller, it's whatever it takes (or whatever combo of all that it takes) to get the job done.


I don't mean to intrude on this thread, but I was wondering the same thing. I would like to know which program is best for each of the scenarios listed above. My dd is a natural speller and is bored with it easily, but my ds may not be. It's sounds like SS would work for both, but are there other programs that work better specifically for each situation?

#8 Willow

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 02:12 AM

We use SS. It worked well for dd (not a natural speller) and has NOT worked for ds (also not a natural speller) And its not that we have not given it long enough. We've done it for 3 YEARS and I now hate it!

I am looking at this thread with interest.....

#9 hsmamainva

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 02:52 AM

Natural Speller has brought our family the most success!

My oldest daughter and youngest son are natural spellers, and learned how to spell without difficulty, but for my oldest son -- oh, it caused him such trouble!!!

Natural Speller was just what he needed. The lessons are short, and he was able to start at the beginning and quickly gained confidence. He started with the 1st / 2nd grade list and has worked his way through the 5th grade list over the past 3 years.

I also love the fact that one $25.00 book is all I ever need to worry about for spelling! (The low cost is another reason I love to recommend it to others -- you can't really go wrong for the price and, because it's non-consumable, you can always save it for a younger child or re-sell it, if it doesn't work for your particular student).

#10 Mad Jenny Flint

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 05:50 AM

We've used Spelling Power since my oldest was in 3rd grade. He has finished it, but my younger child is still using it. It gives a good background on spelling and the rules, and then I can move forward to using writing to correct their spelling errors in the later grades. The kids study only the words they miss, it takes very little time, and is very easy to implement.

#11 sweetbaby

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 05:54 AM

We also love Natural Speller. My oldest twin and youngest son are natural spellers but my youngest twin son is not. It was just awful to watch so we purchased NS this year and love it. We are sticking with NS. Like hsmamainva, we love the price too.;)

#12 Kathy in MD

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 06:11 AM

I don't mean to intrude on this thread, but I was wondering the same thing. I would like to know which program is best for each of the scenarios listed above. My dd is a natural speller and is bored with it easily, but my ds may not be. It's sounds like SS would work for both, but are there other programs that work better specifically for each situation?


And Willow also asked:

"We use SS. It worked well for dd (not a natural speller) and has NOT worked for ds (also not a natural speller) And its not that we have not given it long enough. We've done it for 3 YEARS and I now hate it!

I am looking at this thread with interest....."


Apple and Pears from England is another program that often works well for the non-speller. And Laurie4B has developed a method that you can find by searching the Special Needs Board.

Claire has used Spelling Through Morphographs from SRA. It's designed for middle school, high school and remedial work for college students. SRA has a placement test. If your child places low, you may need to use a couple of SS books to get your child up to speed. The draw back is the expense, $300, but it's fast and works. You need the teacher's materials, so don't try to cut corners and only order the student materials.

#13 Closeacademy

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 06:41 AM

I've found that SWR is really a great resource to teach from. The phonograms, spelling rules, and word study ideas are excellent. It can be adapted to suit the needs of children who learn differently but it is going to take a lot of work from mom to figure out how best to use the program because they may very well be totally different from how it is supposed to be used.

I have slowed it down to 10 words a week, just reviewing phonograms and dictating a few words per day.

I've only focused on the phonograms using silly sentences and pictures to trigger memory about the sounds that those letters make.

And soon we are going to return to the lists again but I have made my own worksheets and charts to really make it easy for us to do the enrichments and study the words but again we will only do 20 words per week not 40 and probably never 40.

SWR is an excellent framework and resource to work from but it is not for those who do not have the time or energy to really delve into the material and really tweak it and change it to fit the needs of your child.

Good luck.:001_smile:

#14 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 06:48 AM

Wow Stacy... thanks a lot! ( I think ) I just checked out the Spelling Mastery website and it looks fabulous!! Of course, I downloaded the demo and LOVE it.



Linda, what did you see in the demo? I downloaded it and I didn't actually see anything other than sales pitch info. I did get a message with a login password which I tried and I still didn't actually see samples.

The fact that this is both phoneme/morpheme appeals to me for my spelling disabled child. A&P has been working this yr, but having a computer component (not needing me for everything) is appealing. :)

I would really like to see a sample.

#15 Part-Time Homeschooler

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 07:26 AM

For what type of child? From the parent's perspective, the best program is the one that gets done. From the natural speller dc's perspective, it's the one that takes the least time or gets totally skipped. For the struggling student or non-natural speller, it's whatever it takes (or whatever combo of all that it takes) to get the job done. Cathy Duffy and WTM both list some solid, standard choices for the average dc, things that are practical and affordable. When I started with my dd, I was looking for a program that was sure to teach spelling to any kid, even if it was overkill, fearing she might have inherited dh's spelling (or lack of spelling) gene. I landed on SWR. It's certainly not the only way or even what I'd chose if buying something today. I'm just saying the best spelling program is going to depend on the dc, your time to teach, etc.

So there, any specifics about your dc to help people guide you? :)


Thanks, everyone, for your responses!

My DS7 can memorize a long spelling list with little effort and retain the information. However, he has a hard time trying to figure out words he hasn't officially studied; even if they're super-easy words that he's seen in his reading books. Maybe this is normal at his age?

#16 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 07:52 AM

Well coming from the perspective of SWR, which focuses on how to sound out words you don't know, that's about the easiest thing, lol. Say the word, hyper-enunciating anything that isn't clear so you get a spelling pronounciation. Slow it down and clap the syllables. (yes, have him clap) Now work through each of the sounds in the syllables. Did you do phonics with him? Then he's already covered things like ea, ie, etc. I assume. A good spelling program fleshes those out explicitly and you use those to explain the components of the word.

#17 momofkhm

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 08:20 AM

I had bought Spelling Power because it was highly recommended. But after using it for a year and a half, it just wasn't getting *used*. I thought it was a great program - only study the words you don't know! But spelling was only getting done 2 times a week, not daily like they recommend.

I switched to R&S - the same group the recommended SP to olders, recommended R&S for 2nd grade. I put them all in R&S and couldn't be happier. It works. Spelling is done on a daily basis. Everyone knows what they need to do each day and does it.

#18 GretaLynne

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 08:49 AM

Sequential Spelling has been by far the best of the ones we've tried. She's not a natural speller, and what we were doing before reduced her to tears on more than one occasion. Now she actually enjoys spelling and looks forward to it! I call that a success.

#19 Stacy in NJ

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 08:57 AM

Wow Stacy... thanks a lot! ( I think ) I just checked out the Spelling Mastery website and it looks fabulous!! Of course, I downloaded the demo and LOVE it. So, would you mind answering a couple of questions for me?

What do you order and use? The single-instructor computer software? Do you know if they offer a home-school discount? I'm very interested in this product, but would love to find a way to cut the expense down a little.


Many thanks!


Hi Linda, You really need the Teacher's Presentation book and the Student Workbook. The software is just a neat add-on that allows extra practice. When you order the Presentation book you get the software for free. You can order directly from SRA. They require some "proof" of homeschooling. I simply faxed them the notification letter I had written to our school district at the time we pulled our boys from ps. As you can see, it's outrageously expensive ($200). For next year, I was able to buy all the materials I need for both of my dc at amazon, for alot less. I think I paid about $30 for the teachers presentation book and $20 for the workbook.

I had tried Spelling Power and Sequential Spelling with my very bad speller previously, and while I think they are okay programs, I just didn't see the long term retention that I've seen with Spelling Mastery. I also think the logic of SM just can't be beat.

I think there are placement tests on the SRA site.

Let me know if you have more questions.

#20 LNC

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 09:02 AM

I've never understood why Building Spelling Skills by Christian Liberty Press isn't super popular with homeschoolers. It's rigorous, easy to use, phonetically based, and inexpensive. I love it! CBD has samples...

http://www.christian...t=AFF&p=1012563

HTH!

#21 Deece in MN

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 09:02 AM

Thanks!


Well, I think there are a lot of great programs out there and different ones will work for different people/situations.

For us All About Spelling has been a blessing and the program that I would say is best *for us*. :)

ETA: I guess I should proof my posts better. I guess I really wanted to emphasize the "for us" part. :) Sorry about that.

#22 Kay in Cal

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 09:56 AM

I agree, every kid is different, and "best" is relative.

My older ds is a natural speller. Spelling Workout has been awesome for us. He can do a chapter in a day (or two at most), work independently, yet we can test if he's learned the words or not. I think he's learned a lot, and has really improved in his ability to attempt harder words. But I read so much about all the "better" methods, structures, philopsophies of spelling and I get jealous because SWO is just so... traditional workbook. Dull, pedagogically speaking. Always being criticized here.

Yet ds is moving through level D now and he's doing great in 5 -10 minutes a day--so why change? For us, at least, SWO is "the best".

Now if only his handwriting were as good as his spelling. :rolleyes:

#23 LizzyBee

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 09:59 AM

The best spelling curriculum is one that works for the particular child. For us, that's Calvert Spelling on CD, the old version. I have one child who I believe would not have ever learned to spell well without Calvert. Nothing else worked for her at all, but when we tried Calvert, it truly was like a miracle pill. OTOH, some of the ladies here have posted that Calvert didn't work well at all for their kids.

#24 Linda...inOwasso

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 10:10 AM

Mom of 7 --- I, too, saw a lot of advertisements, but the program told me to enter "demo" for my user name and password and I actually had to download a sample onto my computer. But, wow! I viewed Level A lesson 27. The lesson contained a good variety of activities: select the word that isn't spelled correctly; select the correct spelling of dads; spell the word hill (several letters across the top to choose from), etc...

You could use the mouse or keyboard and the lesson looked entertaining as well as educational. They have samples of higher levels, but I haven't checked them out yet.

#25 benjabber

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 10:34 AM

:iagree:

We have loved SWR for the same reasons. But, as mentioned, you've got to be willing to put some time into it. We certainly don't do all the extra's of the program, but have pared it down to the bare essentials.

#26 Stacy in NJ

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 10:45 AM

The fact that this is both phoneme/morpheme appeals to me for my spelling disabled child. A&P has been working this yr, but having a computer component (not needing me for everything) is appealing. :)

I would really like to see a sample.


If you have an older child (4th grade +) struggling with spelling, look at their Spelling Through Morphographs program. It also has a computer component.

#27 Pepper

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 11:31 AM

Every child is different. We used Spelling Workout for a long while for our older kids, and did well with it, but our last child has dysgraphia and he started to really hate the sight of a workbook.
Started letting him type his Spelling Workout words into www.spellingcity.com -- a free site, and he loved it. We soon found out that he needed very little repetition to master his words. For him, the workbook work was overkill and he was getting frustrated, and kind of shutting down (we have since found other learning disabilities which explains a lot, and we need to adapt classical ed. for him -- as it is not working well. This is why I joined the forum, btw).
Anyway, we ended up leaving the workbook lists and making our own based on books we are reading or activities he is into. I keep track of words we do, for my peace of mind. It's working. He is learning easily and is quite happy.
That's my two cents.

#28 Robin in Tx

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 11:34 AM

I had bought Spelling Power because it was highly recommended. But after using it for a year and a half, it just wasn't getting *used*. I thought it was a great program - only study the words you don't know! But spelling was only getting done 2 times a week, not daily like they recommend.

I switched to R&S - the same group the recommended SP to olders, recommended R&S for 2nd grade. I put them all in R&S and couldn't be happier. It works. Spelling is done on a daily basis. Everyone knows what they need to do each day and does it.



I agree!! I would add that any program that causes the parent and student to talk about spelling rules and patterns, and why certain words are spelled certain ways (etymology) and which words are "rule breakers", etc., is the best. For us, that has been R&S Spelling, using The ABC's and All Their Tricks as a supplement to rely on for discussions.

My dd learns best when I use the TM to actually teach/cover the lesson and take time to discuss what she's learning. She doesn't do so well when I just hand her the workbook. Funny, the way that is :).

Robin

#29 Linda...inOwasso

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 11:36 AM

LNC... you're right. I bought Building Spelling Skills 1, 2 & 3 by Christian Liberty Press at a used curriculum sale. I put it in my curriculum closet and forgot about it! I've since spent a ridiculous amount of money on Spelling Power, SWO, Simply Spelling & others. When I saw you mention it, I pulled it out of the closet and you are dead on. It's rigorous, rules-based and cheap.

Thanks for helping me see that I already had what I was looking for. I might add Calvert Spelling CD's for extra independent practice.

#30 HollyDay

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 12:47 PM

Is that Hyacinth on your avatar???

The best spelling program is the one that works for your child. There are many good ones out there:
SWR
Sequential Spelling
Spelling Power(orange book)
to name a few

But, the best one is the one you can teach and your child can learn.

#31 Part-Time Homeschooler

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 02:40 PM

Is that Hyacinth on your avatar???


Yes, it is! Everyone in my household loves Keeping Up Appearances, and we are constantly quoting lines from the show!

Thanks, everyone, for all of the suggestions -- I have a lot to look at!

#32 Calming Tea

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 04:24 PM

it prompted me to buy Natural Speller and then I found out about her other book, Comprehensive COmposition.

I may scrap our spelling plans for this coming year and use Natural Speller instead.

#33 Misty

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 11:50 PM

Spelling Power gets my vote!

~Misty

#34 Novafan

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 11:55 PM

Pepper, thank you for sharing that link. I just checked out this link and this program looks great! I think my 7 year old who continues to struggle with spelling would love to sit and type in his words and learn them through a non-workbook/paper list method. That said, we've been working through Sequential Spelling and it IS helping him and he enjoys it. I think this website you shared could work well WITH any other spelling program as a backup method, or for extra reinforcement. I'm going to show my DS the spelling city site tomorrow and let him play around with it using his lists from Sequential Spelling. I think this might be a great addition for him.

I haven't started spelling with my younger DS (5) yet, but he shocks me with his spelling ability. I am going to pick up the Natural Speller book to use with him. I like that Natural Speller is not cost prohibitive, so if he ends up needing something different, we can ditch NS and try SS, which we already own.

Great thread, ladies!

Every child is different. We used Spelling Workout for a long while for our older kids, and did well with it, but our last child has dysgraphia and he started to really hate the sight of a workbook.
Started letting him type his Spelling Workout words into www.spellingcity.com -- a free site, and he loved it. We soon found out that he needed very little repetition to master his words. For him, the workbook work was overkill and he was getting frustrated, and kind of shutting down (we have since found other learning disabilities which explains a lot, and we need to adapt classical ed. for him -- as it is not working well. This is why I joined the forum, btw).
Anyway, we ended up leaving the workbook lists and making our own based on books we are reading or activities he is into. I keep track of words we do, for my peace of mind. It's working. He is learning easily and is quite happy.
That's my two cents.



#35 Suzanne in ABQ

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 12:21 AM

The best one for us is Natural Speller. It's simple to use and straightfoward in its approach. We pretest until we have a list of missed words, then do some various work with those words. Test again and move on through the graded lists. The words are grouped with other words of like spelling, which makes them easier to remember. It works great for my kids, who seem to be natural spellers.

#36 Valerie Hall

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:05 PM

My son is not a natural speller. In my opinion the best curriculum that I have found for spelling is Apples and Apples 2. I have been homeschooling for approx 13 years and nothing I used helped my daughters, who were not natural spellers either. They still cannot spell well as adults. I finally came across the Apples and Apples 2 curriculum. The author foucuses on the spelling rules, with the idea that a high percentage of the words do follow the rules. Exceptions are used at the end of the curriculum. When my son was in 8th grade his test scores showed he was only at a 5th grade spelling level. In his 9th grade year we used the Apple curriculum and his scores sored to the 9th grade level! Now he is in 10th grade and I can't believe how well he is spelling. He seems like a natural speller this year! I can't wait to see his scores this spring. Now I'm looking for a new curriculum because there aren't any more in this series. My biggest fear is that whatever I pick, I will be terribly let down.

The Apple curriculum is a consumable book and you only do a page a day. No tests! It's really simple and effective. (The proof is in the pudding.) I truly hope this helps someone who has spellers like mine. Also, it is very inexpensive.

#37 Wendy Inman

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:28 PM

Sequential Spelling brought my son to tears.

All About Spelling has been AMAZING and we love every day of it. We are about half way through the very last book in the series :)

#38 Calming Tea

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:51 PM

The most effective we have used us Calvert, because
1. It only focuses on the most common misspelled words.

2. It is "smart" software that keeps requiring more practice until the word is mastered.

I have also had success with Sequential Spelling but I won't say it's up there with "the best" because it was a total failure with my dd. she just didnt grasp the patterns at all.

#39 Eagle

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:11 PM

This thread is from 2008...

#40 Mom0012

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:45 AM

The very best spelling program is published by SRA. It's called Spelling Mastery and is really expensive. It's difficult to find used. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes per day, is scripted and is mindlessly easy for the teacher to implement. Best of all, it actually works. Other than my own family, I know no one who uses it.https://www.sraonlin...&sid=3014&open=


Hi Stacy -

I used it with my son, too, and he can indeed spell! We just finished the program last year.


#41 Mom0012

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:52 AM

If you have an older child (4th grade +) struggling with spelling, look at their Spelling Through Morphographs program. It also has a computer component.


I'm sure Spelling Through Morphographs is great since it is a condensed version of the last (2 or 3, but I think 3) levels of SM. The only hesitation I'd have with using it is the lack of repetition because it has been condensed to one year. My ds needed to do that work over 3 years to get enough reinforcement to retain the info. Not true for every kid, though, I'm sure.



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