I was recently telling another mom about the spelling program we are using, and I thought I’d share a little about it here, in case anyone else is interested in hearing about it. It’s called Spelling Connections and it’s FREE!
I don’t remember exactly how I heard about it – I believe it was in the Well-Trained Mind forum, but I could be wrong about that. I’m just an occasional lurker there. Towards the end of the summer, I was looking into curriculum options for my boys, specifically things that would save money and be a good fit for our mostly classical, eclectic style of home schooling. Spelling Connections is one of those things I figured I’d try for the time being, but wasn’t sure if we’d stick with it or not. Well, it’s been several weeks, and we have stuck with it! Most importantly, there’s no more grumbling about spelling anymore. None. Zip. Nada.
So – how exactly do we use Spelling Connections?
I’m so glad you asked.
I like this program because it includes a combination of worksheets you can print out as well as online activities. My boys do best with this kind of variety – they enjoy using the computer whenever possible, but will also tolerate a certain number of worksheets in any given week.
We generally do spelling four days a week. When I’m doing my lesson planning, I go to this Spelling Connections site and print out two things for each of my boys for their grade level; one is the list of spelling words and the other is called the Homework Master sheet. On Monday, they simply copy their words on the first worksheet. I also count this as handwriting practice, since the sheets for the lower levels are lined. The lists are written in cursive beginning at grade 3, so my third grader actually does the second grade lists. He hasn’t done any cursive writing yet, and is still working on basic handwriting right now, so this works best for him. The second day we do spelling, usually Tuesday, the boys take turns doing the activities online. On the main page of the site, there are two options for the games – choose the one on the left. It will look like you need to log in to use it, but you don’t. From there, you’ll see four games listed on the left-hand side. At the top of the page you can change the Unit and Grade Level as you do each game. We do two games one day, and two another day. On the third day of spelling work, usually Thursday for us, they do the Homework Master sheet. This is usually some kind of puzzle, so they actually don’t mind it. Recently, my fifth grader’s sheet had to do with translating the words into Morse Code. He thought that was pretty fun and I appreciated the creative way of doing spelling practice.
On day number four, usually Friday, the boys each do the last two games online, including a Spelling Bee that quizzes them on the words. I like that the other game is proofreading – this has been a good challenge for my boys, but much more fun to do on the computer. They will have a paragraph to read (shorter for the first grader, longer for the fifth grader) that includes some of their spelling words. They then use the various proofreading marks to correct punctuation and spelling mistakes in the paragraph. I think this is a great way to reinforce not only correct spelling, but grammar lessons as well.
Assuming they do well on all of that, they are done with that unit for the week and will move on to the next one the following week. Every five or six units there is a review unit that will have a word list but no games to go with it. I have them copy the words and do other activities throughout that week like writing sentences using the words, practice spelling them with magnets on the whiteboard, etc… You could even use this in combination with something like Spelling City where you can plug in the words and get more games and activities.
So far this spelling program is working well for us. My boys practically fight over who gets to do their spelling first on the computer! And because of the variety they don’t even grumble about the worksheets. I appreciate how easy it is for me on the planning side of things. Win, win.
If there’s anything else you’d like to know – ask away in the comments! If you have a spelling program that you love, please mention that, too.