Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Homeschool: spelling relief!

All of my kids who have spelling started out this year having trouble with their spelling.  We have been making extra time each week where we focus only on spelling, and I've come up with some fun games that can help the words and rules stick more fully in their heads.  Kids learn in a variety of ways, and while rote memory has its place, it doesn't excite my kids very much.  Quite frankly, if they don't care about it, it doesn't stick.

One of the best games I've come up with is to sing the Spelling Song.  To the tune of "Bingo is his nam-o", we sing, "I've got a word it's name is ______, and this is how we spell it:  ______"  This gets them to repeat the spelling of the word three times to a catchy tune. We then sing it again, with the child saying only the first letter and me singing the rest; then we sing it again with the child singing only the first two letters, etc., until the child is saying all of the letters by herself, preferably loudly!  An added benefit is, the longer the word, the more times you have to repeat it.

I'm also teaching the kids to finger spell letters in sign language.  It's a bit slow, but getting the body involved in any way uses a different part of the brain, and thus gives the child another copy of the information to access in case one copy fails.  It's really fun to try to finger spell and sing the song at the same time-but not at all easy!

Then there's the old-fashioned way: write out the word in question a gazzillion times.  This also works, and can improve handwriting if the child cares about improving her handwriting. (I'm saying "her" because all my children who have spelling are the female variety.)  A side effect of this process is hand cramps, and in our case, some complaning.  I use this method for the really unsticky words.

It's also important to talk about the word list and how the words relate.  They usually have two or three different sounds or spelling rules they are working on.  "That's a 'wa' sound too, and they're all spelled the same way."  If the curriculum doesn't mention the spelling rules being used, I do it!  Any way that I can get them to think of their spelling words with interest and relate them together activates their brain, increasing stickability.

I'm no education expert.  Like most homeschooling moms, we just keep trying new things till we find something that works, and this works for us!


Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing what works for you. It always helps this home schooling mom to hear ideas :)
I too have been looking for ways to help one of my kids that struggle with spelling. Someone told me to use scrabble pieces - so that is next thing I plan to experiment with.

Tori said...

Great idea. Wish I had thought about it when my kids were young. Love the look of the blog too.

Emily Campbell said...

Banana grams is another great way to work on spelling while having fun ;)