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A spelling program you can move through at your own pace?


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I need a faster paced, independent(ish) spelling program for ds(8).

 

Background:  He did K and 1st and a few weeks of 2nd at a "back to basics" school where they taught Spalding and he learned the phonograms inside and out. We tried to continue with SWR when we started homeschooling, but he prefers more independent learning. (IOW, it was a disaster at home!)  I couldn't find a placement test online, so I guessed and bought R&S Sound and Structure 4 and he's been working through that this year.  The format of the book has worked well for him, but I could tell the words were fairly easy for him.  He's been plugging through it, although he has recently decided it's "review" and now is pitching a fit over it and doesn't want to do it at all. I even skipped about 10 or so lessons trying to get to the harder words farther along in the book.

 

He reads at a 6th or 7th grade level and loves non-fiction so he's been exposed to a lot of higher level words.  Is there a program where he can take a pre-test each week and work only on words he missed? Or... I don't know. I really like R&S, but I don't know that jumping up to level 5 or 6 is really what he needs either. (But that's what I would do in the absence of a more suitable program for him.)  Besides SWR and R&S I'm not familiar with any other spelling programs at all.

 

Any suggestions?

 

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Phonetic Zoo. It's entirely independent, and the student goes over the word list until he gets all the words correct 2 days in a row. They have a placement test on the IEW website, in case the level A (elementary) words are too easy, you can buy the next level but still cover the same rules.

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If he's that far ahead, you could skip spelling all together at least for awhile. When and if he isn't spelling at grade level anymore, THEN you could do a lightening quick over-view of the phonograms and rules.

If you must do spelling, Spelling Plus lets you test an entire year at a time.
http://www.susancanthony.com/bk/sp.html

The Spelling list is free here. You could just use this list as a test.
http://www.susancanthony.com/ws/_pdf/splhnd.pdf

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I second Phonetic Zoo.  Take the practice test, find out what level he is at and follow the instructions!  Super easy to implement and the best part is my kids basically don't need me to help with it.  Mine are 10 &13.

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Thank you for the suggestions. I've been looking through those options. The one thing I do like about R&S a lot is that the student uses the words in sentences. Sometimes he'll come across a word he doesn't know the meaning of, so I like that it's also building his vocabulary. I don't really care for Bible book names that are included, but I don't hate it either.

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I doubt spelling is really necessary if he's doing that well…. :unsure:

 

Would you be up for practicing spelling via dictation?  That's what I would do. :)

 

He left ps where he was being taught Spalding, but when we tried to pick up with SWR at home it was a total bust. It was a complete joke to him. I have no idea how he was not a serious behavior problem at school as he is a high-energy and easily distracted child.  He works better independently than sitting with me. 

 

Honestly, this year has been hectic and difficult and therefore we've only done the bare minimum for school. I feel like he needs *something* else. If I drop Spelling, he needs something else. 

 

I've been looking at Spelling Workout. I saw the website where SWB recommended level C for 2nd grade, but considering he thinks R&S 4 is too easy, I'm tempted to jump to E or F. 

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He left ps where he was being taught Spalding, but when we tried to pick up with SWR at home it was a total bust. It was a complete joke to him. I have no idea how he was not a serious behavior problem at school as he is a high-energy and easily distracted child.  He works better independently than sitting with me. 

 

Honestly, this year has been hectic and difficult and therefore we've only done the bare minimum for school. I feel like he needs *something* else. If I drop Spelling, he needs something else. 

 

I've been looking at Spelling Workout. I saw the website where SWB recommended level C for 2nd grade, but considering he thinks R&S 4 is too easy, I'm tempted to jump to E or F. 

Are you interested in using the Spalding method at home with him?  There is a teacher learning curve.  If you want to learn, get The Writing Road to Reading. (Find the used 4th edition on Amazon.)  

 

OR, get Reading Lessons Through Literature, although this program teaches a child to read, it is a Spalding spin-off that teaches a child to read via spelling, and is much more teacher-friendly.  I would contact the author and ask her where you would place your son.

 

OR, if you want something almost entirely independent, I would use Rod & Staff and NOT Spelling Workout.  It looks as though you've already went that route though…

 

Personally, I would just drop spelling for this child.  Take a break from it, and when he matures a bit you could practice spelling via dictation.  Perhaps the problems you're running into are more a discipline issue than a curriculum/method issue…?  How is he doing in other areas?  The first year of homeschooling is hard for the whole family. :grouphug:

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Do copywork/dictation.  

 

Pick a sentence (build up to a passage gradually), and have him copy it on Monday.  Let him study it for a few minutes on Tuesday before you lay it on the table upside down and dictate it, one sentence at a time.  If he misspells a word, ask him to peek at the sentence and try again.  Copy a new passage on Wednesday.  Dictate on Thursday.  On Friday review all missed words and make up sentences using those words together.

 

 

These lessons should take 15-20min daily.  Tweak the length/difficulty to keep lessons within that time frame.

 

Spelling Wisdom is a program that provides passages for dictation, but I think it is more meaningful to pull passages from books that he reads.

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ACE PACES....we just got so tired of slogging through sequential Spelling (which is a great program) so I bought my dd the ACE PACES for her grade and although the cartoons are annoying and not PC, she is really enjoying them!  She is working hard and getting lots of practice, and really reading the comments, instructions, hints, and cartoons.  So far so good.

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Thank you for all your suggestions so far.  This has been very helpful. Someone mentioned it could be a behavioral issue more than anything-- and that very well could be part of it. He's a good kid, but he is definitely a strong-willed child and we butt heads too much. It has been a struggle for me to figure out what motivates him and what his learning style.  It doesn't help that he has 5 and 3 year old brothers at home who are much more fun than school work. 

 

I got looking back through his R&S SS4 workbook and I still think he's learning from it. IOW, it hasn't been a complete waste of his time! But he got to a lesson with several contractions, like aren't, wasn't and won't which he declared were "review" and refused to go on. The spelling lists do seem to be random, with rather easy words on some weeks.

 

 

I am another one for Phonetic Zoo. Here is a huge write up I did of it. 

 

I have read through that thread and am seriously considering Phonetic Zoo. The price tag is my biggest hangup. I gave him the 1st two placement tests. He missed 10 on the first one and 26 on the second. So, it looks like he needs level B... I'm not sure if I should make him finish R&S4 this year and start PZ next year. Maybe I'll tell him if gets a 100% on each pretest in R&S he can skip that lesson entirely. 

 

How is Spelling Power different than Phonetic Zoo? SP is half the price!

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Do copywork/dictation.  

 

Pick a sentence (build up to a passage gradually), and have him copy it on Monday.  Let him study it for a few minutes on Tuesday before you lay it on the table upside down and dictate it, one sentence at a time.  If he misspells a word, ask him to peek at the sentence and try again.  Copy a new passage on Wednesday.  Dictate on Thursday.  On Friday review all missed words and make up sentences using those words together.

 

 

These lessons should take 15-20min daily.  Tweak the length/difficulty to keep lessons within that time frame.

 

Spelling Wisdom is a program that provides passages for dictation, but I think it is more meaningful to pull passages from books that he reads.

We've done something like this in the past, and I appreciate your reminder and explicit directions on how you do it.  Dictation is such a simple thing that has such great results.  Thanks for sharing! :)

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I think SeqSpell is great, but I'm leaning more to using the computer program for it. I just wish they would get the higher levels done of the computer program. SeqSpell has taken my oldest far, but he's at a point too where daily, weekly spelling lessons are just redundant.

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I have How to Teach Spelling by Rudginsky; there are accompanying workbooks (How to Spell), but you could just use the manual and/or go as fast as you wanted through the workbooks. By the way, I got the impression from a post on here once that I could buy a later workbook and it would include all the previous material; this is not the case. There is a brief review but it isn't at all in the same depth as the prior year's books. (I own 1, 2, and 3.) 

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I would do studied dictation/copywork, we use Spelling Wisdom from Simply Charlotte Mason, for prepared dictation exercises, but you could come up with your own. We went through Spalding and now use this and will break down the words for each sentence every Wednesday and talk about the phonograms and then he writes it each day with a test on Friday and a cumulative test each month, so far he's doing great.

 

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 We are using Spelling You See by the same good people who brought us Math U See - fantastic program. My review is here. They teach spelling by having the kids notice and color code vowel chunks, consonant chunks, Y's guys, etc. while doing narration and dictation.  Fun, colorful and VERY effective!!

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