I just finished putting together a free spelling curriculum (and also in print form) that I would love to tell you about!
As a homeschooler for 15 children over three decades, I have come across a number of spelling programs. Most consist of grade-leveled lists (with words that have little or no relation to each other) and some activities and tests. The best are phonics-based, but the core knowledge of spelling is doled out in minuscule bites and spread over a number of years (and expensive workbooks).
Thankfully, most of my children turned out to be pretty good spellers simply by following the Charlotte Mason ideas of copywork, narration and dictation.
But others still struggled. I knew I needed something that would help them identify basic rules and patterns, but I didn’t want to add more busywork to our already full days. I also knew there were moms out there with my same quandary, and I wanted a tool I could share.
So, I set out to create something that would:
- Be short and sweet–taking a year or less to lay a good foundation.
- Be ultra affordable.
Thus, by God’s grace, Splendid Spelling was born!
I was led to build a system of study out of my most beloved resources:
- Laurie White’s King Alfred’s English*
- Ethel Bouldin’s An Acorn in My Hand
- And the revised McGuffey’s Speller*
King Alfred’s English helped in understanding the crazy spellings in our language by explaining the history of where all the craziness came from. An Acorn in My Hand gives the rules in written form, and the McGuffey’s speller offers a compendium of lists organized by these rules to choose from.
I did not feel it necessary to create exhaustive lists of every word or pattern conceivable (the McGuffey’s speller already does a stellar job of this!). Instead, I felt it was better to give some of the most basic rules and patterns that would become a foundation for the rest of good spelling.
“How should I use this book?” I hear you wondering…
I’m so glad you asked! I suggest there be one lesson a week, with the first day spent going over the “secret” and the word list, the second day be a quick review with doing the activity, and the last day being the spelling “exercise.”
I have to admit, I do not like giving spelling tests. Like Mr. Gilbreth in Cheaper by the Dozen I find them to be worse than “unavoidable delay.” So, I decided to create exercises instead. Although they look like tests, they are meant to practice the Charlotte Mason method of spelling memorization. This means a child will be able to do this on his own, with only a tiny bit of oversight on Mom’s part.
You will notice there are scissors lines on the left hand side of the upper page. These lines make up a box of sorts. Within this box is printed the “secret” discussed within the lesson. A child could cut these secrets out and put them into some sort of reference for later. This could be stapling them together into a booklet, placing them on a bulletin board, creating a “mini office” with them, using them as flash cards, etc.
In case you are in need of a visual, here is a video I have done on this system:
I hope this system blesses you and your children!
Here is the free download:
Here is the link to the published version on Amazon:
If you are in need of more practice, I suggest using the McGuffey’s revised speller, which is arranged logically, includes loads of lists, and even has a few dictation exercises.
Of course, this spelling system is better when used along with the rest of the McGuffey readers, and I have produced a number of Charlotte Mason-style “workbooks” to go along with them, which you will find out more about here.