Spelling … how’s it going in your homeschool?
I look at spelling a lot like learning basic math facts. Absolutely important as a building block to higher level schooling -- but not always as exciting to learn.
Over the years, I’ve tried so many different approaches -- memorizing basic lists, using copywork, playing tons of games -- and each has pros and cons.
What I’ve found is that the type of learner that I have really determines what kind of approach works best.
My wholistic thinkers do really well with games and spell check and copywork. Each time they see a word misspelled, it gets filed away … and over time their spelling continues to improve.
I’m always amazed because these wholistic-thinking kids are also the ones who seem to be allergic to lists and memorizing anything … it’s almost as if they need to just absorb the spelling through everyday exposure.
On the other side are my linear thinkers. They LOVE lists … and really need them to do well.
My dyslexic linear thinker must methodically and logically taught spelling -- helping her see the patterns and the connections. Her spelling is slowly improving through consistent focus.
My other non-dyslexic linear thinker uses the lists and immediately sees the connections on his own. He LOVES words. He also LOVES word games because spelling comes so naturally to him.
So with this mix of kids, I’ve found that a mixed approach to spelling has been effective. Some get lists, some get copywork.
But games are one way that we all can come together -- adjusting to accommodate the different skill levels.
I want to share with you one of my favorite word games that we’ve been able to adapt in several ways into our homeschool.
Play it straight -- or modify it to teach and review specific words. So much fun no matter how you to do it!
Hey everybody, it's ToriAnn Perkey. From my homeschool to your homeschool, do you have dreaded spelling lists?
Do you pull out the spelling list and your kids go, "Oh Mom, not another spelling list!"
Spelling is one of those things that we know our kids need to do when we're homeschooling. Is there a way to do it that's more fun, more engaging, more exciting? Because I'm going to tell you that anything that is more fun, more engaging and more exciting is going to work so much better in your homeschool. And throughout all the different homeschooling things that we did, I was always looking for ways to make the boring, the mundane, the write-it-down-5-times type of spelling list thing ... is there a way to make it more fun? There almost always is. Which is why today I want to tell you about a really cool game that we used in our home instead of dreaded spelling list. And it's so multipurpose that we used it far beyond and continue to use it far beyond the ways that it's designed. And it is ... Bananagrams. Yay!
Okay. So, have you ever seen Bananagrams? This is the cutest little package. It's a banana, right? And when you open it up inside are these letter tiles. I'm just going to pull out a few. And here we have like an F, and a V, and an I, and in a lot of ways at this point it seems a lot like Scrabble, but this game does not play like Scrabble.
First of all, these tiles are made out of plastic. You probably can hear that, and they're smooth. I love the tactile feel of these tiles. And they're a little bit smaller than Scrabble tiles. The second thing that I like about them -- or I like about this game -- is that when you're just playing the straight rules, it is so much faster than Scrabble.
I don't know if you ever get bored playing Scrabble. I know there's lots of people who don't, but I do because I have to wait for everyone else to take their turn. And if you're playing with younger kids, and they're waiting, it's not going to work.
So, what's cool about Bananagrams is the gameplay. Everyone's playing at the same time. They're building their own, individual Scrabble boards with the same cross patterns and things like that, but you are building them all at the same time. So everybody gets to play. And you can modify the rules for the younger kids versus the older kids so that everybody has an equal chance depending on where they are.
Now, when I first saw Bananagrams, I was really excited for my kids who knew how to spell because I knew we were going to have fun playing it and practicing spelling words. Practicing how to spell any word while you're playing a game is way more fun than learning a spelling list.
But how do you use a game like this ... a bunch of random letter tiles ... how do you do that if your kids can't spell? Well, the letter tiles themselves become these fabulous, fabulous kinesthetic tools to help kids spell. So, you can be laying out the tiles, you could have the spelling list, and you could say, "Okay, take the list and create me a grid like a Scrabble grid or a Bananagram grid using these words. Can you do it?" Or you could take the tiles and you could lay them all out and you say, "Can you just find all the letters that go to your words?” Or what else could you do? Anything where the kids have to look at the word and spell it but they're doing it with tiles instead of with their hand writing on a piece of paper.
And I found that for my kinesthetic kids, those kinds of games were so, so, so much more effective. We would even play games where the tiles are spread out across the floor and you have to run and get the tile, so there's that high movement. So much better, so much more fun. And then you still have the game that you can play as they get to be better spellers, so it's multipurpose. You don't just have a manipulative sitting on your shelf waiting to be used for this one part of your curriculum or your one part of school, and then when it's done, you're done. I like multipurpose. Way more effective. Yes!
So, if you are looking for a way to get rid of the boring way to do spelling and liven it up a little bit, then this little game right here is one that I would highly, highly recommend. And you can check it out on Amazon. I'll put a link up above, down below, or wherever it is wherever you're watching this.
From my homeschool to your homeschool, I'm ToriAnn Perkey, and I'm here to help you be a successful and confident homeschool mom.