Sunday, November 9, 2008

Searching for a spelling program

I'm looking for a computerized spelling program for my kids. I want something that teaches all the rules, then gives them practice with that rule. I'd like something that uses programmed instruction.

I know I could teach this manually but I am looking for something my children can use while I am doing one-on-one teaching. If Ben isn't working on something while I teach Shira he becomes disruptive. I find that something computer based works better than if I give him pencil and paper work, or worse, reading to do.

When Ben and Shira were learning to read we used a great program called, Reading Horizons. I truly believe they are the strong readers they are today because of this superb program. It touches on spelling but does not focus on spelling which is why we now need a spelling program.

Do you know of a good computer based spelling program that works on Macs?

I tried Spelling Time from Big IQ but it is a joke. It just provides 5 days of playtime for a set of words. The words they set for each grade level are way too easy and it relies on brute memorization. I want something that teaches from rules.

Before you comment about all the exceptions. I know there are exceptions in English, but if the kids get the rules down pat, the exceptions become easy. Also please don't comment that spelling programs are unnecessary, that if the children read, they will learn to spell. I agree, the more a child reads, the better their spelling, but I like to work with rules as I feel it helps provide structure. I'm also becoming tired of all the "mom, how do I spell......?" questions when I am focussing on something else.

Just like fluent handwriting, good spelling makes a child's life easier and gives them more time to focus on the more interesting things there are to learn.

13 comments:

Alison said...

I can't recommend a spelling program specifically, but you might check out HomeschoolBuyersCo-op.org. I see several software items come up on there for spelling. Once you have a shortlist you could search for reviews by other bloggers if your visitors don't give you the answers you are seeking.

Shez said...

thanks, I am going to buy their piano DVDs. Our kids have just had the witch from hell as a piano teacher and I want something low stress for a few months. Will look on their website and see if I can find any spelling programs. Hope to see you in future Carnivals of Cool Homeschoolers. I really like your blog.

Lostcheerio said...

Hey, did I mention that we are loving spellingcity.com? It doesn't teach from rules at all, but you can batch upload your word list and the games are much much MUCH better than whatever that other awful site was that we were trying to use where the games were so hard to read and control. I like the tests on spellingcity.com too -- it automatically retests on the words the child missed in the first test.

Shez said...

Lydia, I've played around with Spellingcity,com. it's cute, but it doesn't fit the bill. Ben and Shira need to learn spelling rules. they forget how to spell words as soon as we aren't practicing them. I noticed that with Sequential Spelling and now with our Bee. As long as we practice the words daily, they remember them, but if we don't practice for a few days, we go back to step one. I feel like I am farting against thunder with our spelling.

I find that they can spell the words that I've taught them rules for. they remember the rules and then are able to apply the rules. I've been looking at a program called, "All about spelling". It's a mom taught program which is a negative for me right now, but everything else looks right on the money.

Catonine said...

here is a link to a review for spelling power. NOT exactly what you are looking for in that it isn't software based but it sounds like it does meet some of your other criteria.
http://www.welltrainedmind.com/O00SpellingPower.html

Shez said...

thanks, I'll have a look at it.

Danielle said...

The search is on! Who can find it first? If you find one, share it with me, please and I'll do the same. :)

Danielle said...

Shez, I just found this site. I haven't had time to check it out, but thought I'd pass it along. It was mentioned on the Spell to Write and Read website from a user of their product looking for a program such as what you and I are looking for. Here's the link:

http://www.questforlearning.com/pshome.htm

Danielle said...

Crud...they don't have a MAC version yet. I wonder if a PC emulator would work?

dstb said...

I know this doesn't use a computer, but the Institute for Excellence in Writing has a spelling program you do using a CD player. It is called Phonetic Zoo.

The reason I chose it was that the kids can work on it independently while I am busy with one of them on something else. We only started with it this year so I can't say for sure how it is going. Each lesson teaches a new rule.

There are three levels (same rules, just harder words). There is a placement test you can print off to see which set you need. I have not priced other computer based programs, but I liked the ease of use of this and I think they sell quality products, so I paid the $99 price tag.
www.excellenceinwriting.com

Hope this helps. Sarah

Shez said...

Sarah, thanks, I'll look at this program. I've heard great things about their writing programs.

Anonymous said...

Hi
not sure if you are still looking. but at age 7 my kids (also twins) used a program by a school here in the Bay Area called Challenger School. They have a phonics based system that will teach you the simple rules such the oi can come from "oy" or "oi" and examples of each. If this is too easy and they know all the phonics rules already then you can move the roots of words, such as the root "terra" meaning earth and all related words etc.

Anonymous said...

www.spellingstars.com is a great way to learn how to spell! No teacher grading required because it is all done for you. For more information you can contact me at embray23@gmail.com . Have a great day!