Friday, December 19, 2008

All About Spelling -- a hands-on spelling curriculum


 


All About Spelling is a multi-sensory approach to teaching beginning or remedial spelling.  It is a truly unique and wonderful program!  As a Mom of distractible and active children (sizzlers!) I love reading Carol Barnier's books on teaching distractible children.  This curriculum is exactly what she recommends for those distractible children:  hands-on, short lessons, fun games, variety, mixing oral work with written work.


 


Pros:



  • this is a hands-on curriculum

  • it covers multiple learning styles:  visual, auditory, kinesthetic

  • it is phonics based

  • reinforces reading lessons

  • teacher's guide is easy to follow

  • minimal daily preparation

  • gentle approach to early spelling lessons

  • fun lessons

  • includes daily review along with new material

  • All About Spelling sells accompanying games to reinforce the lessons

  • perfect for the distractible child, or children with other learning problems

  • not workbook based, for the child who hates writing and workbooks

  • includes some writing each lesson to reinforce the lessons

  • part of each lesson is done orally, and it could be used completely orally if necessary

  • teaches HOW and WHY words are spelled as they are, rather than just memorizing how the words are spelled

  • All About Spelling has articles and newsletters with helpful information for teaching spelling

  • the books are not assigned grade levels

  • non-consummable, reusable curriculum


 


Cons:



  • this is not a self-teaching workbook approach, it requires Mom's time to teach each lesson

  • cutting and preparation work required at the beginning of each level (although they are switching to perforated cards soon)

  • more expensive than some spelling curricula


 


I've been struggling with this review.  My struggle isn't with how to review this curriculum, but whether or not to switch to All About SpellingThe curriculum is wonderful!  Our approach so far has been to delay spelling lessons until after a child is reading beginning chapter books, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to change our approach.  Spelling isn't a subject we've struggled with ... yet.  We've been able to give it minimal attention, and our three oldest girls have still progressed each year. 


 


But, I can definitely see the advantages in continuing to use All About Spelling with 7 yo J.  He is learning to read, and I love how All About Spelling reinforces the phonics lessons we are working on, as well as teaching him how to spell.  Not just memorizing how each word is spelled, but HOW to spell, and WHY words are spelled as they are.  It will be one more lesson for me to teach to our younger students, and my flesh is struggling with that -- selfishness.  I love the gentle, fun, phonetic way this program works, and so does Steve.  We will be switching 7 yo J (and subsequent children) to All About Spelling.


 



All About Spelling has six levels:  four are currently available, the fifth will be released in 2009.  If you need help knowing what level to start your child in, read THIS PAGE.  Also, you can view sample lessons HERE


 


All About Spelling level one, with all its components, can be bought for just over $60 (would need an additional student packet for each child, and additional spelling tiles if you want them to work together on the same level at the same time).  That is more costly than the usual workbook approach, or a K-12 complete program, but it's reusable and non-consummable so it can be used with future students (or re-sold to another homeschool family).  The spelling tiles, magnetic tiles, and phonogram CD-Rom are used in the future levels and would not need to be bought again, so the cost would decrease with future levels.  In other words, if your student is struggling with spelling ... it's worth the additional cost to buy All About Spelling


 


I'm so glad we had the opportunity to review All About Spelling.  If we hadn't reviewed it, we'd have continued on with our minimalist approach, until we were stopped short by a curriculum crisis when we were faced with a student who needed more than that.  Then we'd have been scrambling to figure out what other methods were out there, and what would work best for our student.  Switching to All About Spelling will be enjoyable and helpful for all our students, and prevent a spelling curriculum crisis from ever occurring.


 


I definitely recommend All About Spelling, especially if you have a kinesthetic learner, a distractible child, or a child who is struggling to learn to spell. 



Click the banner at the top to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members. 


 


Trusting in Him,
April

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