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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Old-fashioned Spelling

I have read that other countries, whose languages are "phonemic" never need spelling lessons.

But good, old English is just too hard to nail down; there are almost as many exceptions as there are rules!

I have tried to teach my children to spell more ways than I can count. I have used a textbook, corrected the words in their own spelling (natural), used a group of words in a list which were related, etc.

I have also read about how Charlotte Mason taught children to spell (I believe she and Professor McGuffey would have gotten along--although his students were from a much different background than hers--doing lessons on the backs of shovels, etc., although she would have really appreciated that they all lived in the out of doors...but I digress) by having them look at a word, and then close their eyes and "visualize" it, then open their eyes and write it. In this way they are reinforcing their visual memory of each word.

Funny, but most of us do this very thing--we rely on how a word looks to us. This can become very difficult after correcting some of my children's writing--I get mixed up myself after seeing things spelled so very "interestingly" so often.

We sometimes play a little game with our McGuffey spellers--the ones I printed from Google books a while back and had spiral-bound. I hand out small slips of paper and split my children into two teams. Then I put the two teams on either side of my huge dining room table, each across from a child at his/her approximate spelling level. I then assign each group of two's an appropriate spelling list to draw from in the Speller, such as lesson 27 for one, 77 for another, and so on. Then one person selects ten words from that list to proctor to the other person across the table, and so on down the line (we have enough readers for three on each side). At the end all of the lists are corrected and the team with the most correct wins!

This only takes a few minutes to do, and I don't have to be directly involved, yet it gives them all extra practice and a little fun besides.

I don't know if it actually has helped them spell any better, however! It just makes me feel better (I love these old books and relish any way I can use them).


  1. Great post. I made a post too on spelling. It is scheduled to post soon. Not sure when though since I only blog like once a month and schedule several at once. Sounds like we have things in common when it comes to spelling.

  2. Dear mommyx12,

    I think we have a lot in common! I can't wait to read about your spelling adventures!