Friday, December 4, 2009

Reviews: All About Spelling

I have not been posting for a while again and I am sorry for that. We are facing some personal issues in our home again to do with the loss of our precious son. I will try to keep up weekly now if possible.

I was at a loss at the beginning of this school year to help my 8 year old to spell. He is an excellent reader but I think he is missing half of the words because he can not totally understand everything he reads. I was wondering what spelling program to use or to just plod along. I then received an email from The Old Schoolhouse Crew informing me of the pending arrival of "All About Spelling" program into my mailbox. On receiving the package and opening it I was interested. The method of spelling took me back to his phonics learning days and also the times we did preschool at home using sounds. However, I did not include all the different sounds each vowel made, or the sound the combination of consonants made in that training. Now in the "All About Spelling" packet there was a possible solution to use.

I was leery at first as my son gets distracted easily but once I began using the system he has started to like it. the first few lessons were boring for him being on about a Grade 2 level student. He then started to catch on when we used the counters and the tiles on the board to help out in spelling the words. We are still only half way through Level 1 but we are enjoying ourselves and it is all laid out so easily in the manual that I just have to pre-read the chapter to make sure I have all the correct review phonogram, sound, key and word cards ready to use. When the student is reviewing the sounds or words or phonograms during the lesson he is aware that if he gets any incorrect he will have to repeat them at the beginning of the next lesson before proceeding on. After spelling out the words with tiles you then test him again by asking him to spell the words once you read them out again. I usually mix them around a bit here.

He decided to quit messing around during spelling and now the learning process is a little faster than at the beginning of the exercise. We still have to work our way through the rest of the Level 1 Book and progress to Level 2 which is more complex spelling words with 2 or 3 phonograms in each word. I am glad we started at the beginning and think we may have found something my son likes to learn with.

The program focuses on Phonograms, Sounds, Words and Key cards (explanation cards). These cards are brightly colored too. The books make it so easy to follow once the kit is assembled and put in a card box for safe keeping. The curriculum uses sight, sound and touch to enable the student to 'get' it. Some children process faster in one way or the other but using all 3 ways it causes the principle to cement in the child's brain and not be easily forgotten. Each lesson builds upon the one before.

There are currently 5 levels available and a Level 6 is being worked on by the authors. If you are not sure at which level to begin at with this program All about Spelling have an article available on their website for you to read and some sample lessons for each Level for you to see. I see from the Testimonials on their site that both Homeschool, Private and Public school teachers have commented on how wonderful the program has been to use. There are also more reviews available at the Homeschool Crew blog :

There is a picture of our Level 1 magnets on the Easel above that we use for this spelling exercise. I do like this program and will continue to use as long as I am able to afford it. The Level 1 Manual and one Student Packet is $29.95. Level 2 is $39.95 for the Teachers Manual and one student packet. The Starter Kit includes the Tiles, magnets, and phonograms CD_Rom is priced at $26.95 but is available for use throughout all levels. Additional student packets for larger families working on more than one level are available for $14.95 in Level 1 and $19.95 in Level 2. The products are of good quality and not easily broken or torn either. Please visit their website at this link for more informatsion that may interest you for this excellent thorough curriculum .

All About Spelling" sent me Level 1 and Level 2 of their curriculum to use as I am part of the 2009-2010 Homeschool Crew and I have done the above review for free with no fees paid to myself. The reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

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