How We Did Spelling in Our Homeschool

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This week was a formal that was held at our church.  She invited her friend from church to go with her, and they had a blast. I got a picture of them, just before they left:

It is so nice to see her working independently on her college work.  Those study and writing skills were built, slowly, through the years.  And one of the hardest things she had to work on, as a young learner, was spelling.  So that is what I'd like to talk about today.

 How we did Spelling in Elementary

Spelling is an important component to good writing.  But it can come very slowly to our young writers.  My daughter, as a young learner, was all about writing,but had trouble spelling.  She loved to make little books, write in her Hello Kitty journal, and do very simple reports, usually on penguins, tucans, or airplanes.  

But when it came to spelling, she struggled.  She did not have a special need in their area, was not dyslexic, but just had trouble learning to spell.  She tended to spell phonically, ie, how she thought the word sounded.  And many kids do that, in the primary, and even the later elementary grades.  

I didn't want to squash her creativity by correcting each misspelled work in her written work.  But I did want to help her learn to spell.  So this is what we did for spelling, focusing on the success.  We started with Explode the Code.

Explode the Code

All three Primers make a complete introduction to phonics for your young learners!

During the K and early elementary years, our spelling was done through the great Explode the Code series.  Explode the Code teaches phonics in a very approachable way, with drawings made by kids on every page.  But, while they are learning phonics, they are also learning their spelling!  We started with their Primers, in Kindergarden, and went on from there.

Here is an excerpt from my review of Explode the Code - Primers

"Do you have a young learner who is eager to learn to read? Are you looking for a good, easy-to-use, phonics program? How about a well-researched phonics program? Explode the Code offers all of these and it is a great way to introduce phonics and early reading to your young ones.  Each primer introduces a group of consonants, their sounds, with fun activities on each page"

Click the title above, to read the complete review.

Using these primers not only gave my daughter good learning in both phonics and spelling, but also gave her a feeling of success!  So important for our early learners.  And phonics is the basis for learning spelling.

More Explode the Code

We continued working in the Explode the Code series each year, starting in Explode the Code - Grade 1, then Grade 2 and so on, through 5th grade.  Are you familiar with this series?  Here is something from my review of the whole series, fyi:

Explode the Code Series Review -"My daughter quickly became independent in her work. Through reading, spelling, writing and copying, she prepared herself for early readers. She was so proud of herself....."

Here's a bit more: 

"Following the same consistent pattern, the series progressed to more advanced phonics, such as consonant blends and phonetic patterns, preparing the child for intermediate reading.  The consistent format and layout of the lessons helped make the learning easy......"

Click here, to read my complete review of this series, with links, too. 

Then, in second grade, we added in a phonics based spelling program, by Evan-Moor, one of my favorite educational publishing companies.  It was called Building Spelling Skills – Grade 2.
 I like Evan-Moor as it is developmentally based.

Building Spelling Skills by Evan-Moor

  • "Spelling words in this book are based on the 200 most commonly used words in the English language and the words frequently misspelled by second graders."
Click on the title above to read my complete review of this great spelling  program.

As my daughter worked in Explode the Code, and her Building Spelling Skills program, she gradually developed her spelling skills.  Each week, she looked forward to her spelling tests, and did quite well on them.  But when she did her writing, either in her journal, or in her other homeschool work, etc, her spelling skills did not show up that year, or even the next.  And that is very normal for our young learners.

 Reinforcing Success

AND we emphasized success!  Each week, my daughter did well on her spelling tests.  She earned stickers for that.  And each week, she did very well in her writing assignments.  She learned to write good sentences, paragraphs, and later, stories and essays.  I graded her on her writing skills, not her spelling, for all her writing projects.

We picked out special leaf stamps for her, and she earned a special stamps for each writing project that she finished.   She developed good writing skills, learning how to make good sentences, paragraphs, too.  She even started writing easy reports in 2nd grade.

She was a great spelling and a great writer!  But these two skills did not show up together...... for many years

But they did come together, later.  By doing her spelling program, and her spelling tests, she learned good spelling skills, that, much later, were applied to her own written work.

Did I correct each of her misspelled words in her writing work each week?  No, I did not.  I corrected them on her spelling tests, but I did not correct every misspelled word on her reports.  I was patient, rewarding her successes, and when it all came together, later, her confidence in writing was intact! 

So be encouraged.  It takes a LOT of practice, and sometimes, years, to be able to apply newly learned spelling skills to one's actual writing.  

Today, my daughter got back her first essay for her college english class.  (She got an A).  And it showed her good spelling skills, too!  

She was also asked to write a short piece in her business school's newsletter, based on her college admissions essay.  And, her admissions essay got her into college.  (Yes, I did correct any misspellings on that, but there weren't any.....Yes!!)

Rewarding the success!  That has been our motto all along.  

May you all enjoy your younger learners, as they strive, and work so hard in their studies.  They need to see that you are proud of them, in as many ways as you and your husband can show it.

What are your favorite ways to teach spelling?  Link up and share your story! And I love hearing from you, too!

Note - If your child does have a dyslexia issue, there are specific spelling and reading programs for that.  Please check out the Barton programs for more info.


Happy Homeschooling,


Betsy blogs at BJ's Homeschool , where she writes about high school, collegeand all the fun of homeschooling the early years, too.  As a veteran homeschooler, Betsy also offers homeschool help to families 

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  1. Thank you so much for posting this. You have confirmed something I found in my own school. My daughter was a voracious reader, and could even recognize words that were misspelled but she didn't write, and didn't spell well. I decided not to make a big deal of it, and just continued to present her with spelling games, word games, find a words, any kind of word/spelling game I could find (I found many of those at Vocabulary and Spelling City) and kept her supplied with books. I also continued her grammar lessons. And one day (ok, really over the course of a couple of years) she emerged as a fully formed writer...who could spell! I really don't know the point that it happened, but it did. You are so right that you have to be patient and reward the successes. And for other parents who might find themselves in this place, being patient is really hard sometimes. Patience does pay off though! Thank you so much for your post!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story and experiences with writing and speilling in your homeschool, Linda! That is so encouraging to other families. Thanks for stopping by...and I am so glad that both of our girls are good spellers now. All those spelling games and practice really does pay off! Have a great week!

  2. Thanks for sharing your spelling tips and lovely photos!!
    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  3. Thanks, Jill R, from the Thoughtful Spot for stopping by!

  4. Thanks for sharing what you did in your homeschooling. My son has just turned 4, so we haven't gotten to this point yet. Thanks for linking up at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop! We hope you'll join us again next week!

  5. Thanks, Samantha, for stopping by, from the Thoughtful Spot Blog Hop!

  6. Good to know; I have two boys that are really struggling with spelling.

  7. Thanks for stopping by, Mother of 3. I hope that this is a help to your boys. Wishing you a great week!


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