Homeschool Curriculum Review – Vocabulary Spelling City

Learn spelling and vocabulary

I have been trying to slowly work through the curriculum options that we have tried throughout the years and make a public review of them. I know I haven’t gotten very far with this, but I hope to remedy that in the near future! So, without delay… today I will be reviewing the Vocabulary Spelling City website.

First let me tell you about VSC. Vocabulary Spelling City is a website that hosts your own specific lists as well as most well known curriculum spelling lists. That means that most of BJU press, Saxon, and ABEKA’s lists are already constructing and are just waiting for you to download them to your account. There are also other grade and subject specific lists such as a third grade science list that we really enjoyed!

PROS – VSC allows me to host all of my children’s spelling lists in one place. Prior to using VSC I was doing 5 different spelling lessons per week, using 5 different spelling books, and giving 5 spelling tests. It was definitely a picture of insanity. However, once I discovered VSC my whole world changed! I was able to simply choose and assign the lists that I wanted each of my children to complete. They were able to log in, follow their assignment, complete the practice games, and then take the spelling test. All I needed to do was check to make sure that they passed the test. If they did not, they repeated that week’s worth of assignments. All of the kids love most the practice games which include everything from writing assignments to hangman style games. Another aspect of VSC that I appreciate is the free printable handwriting worksheets. These offer a great way for you to get your kiddos working on their handwriting skills! As a lover of all things math related, I enjoy the fact that VSC has specific math vocabulary that I can use to make sure my children understand the math concepts that we are studying.

CONS – Though I love the ease of simply setting my kids loose on VSC, the time that it takes to create the assignments for each child is a bit extensive. Although, in all fairness it saves me so much time that I really don’t mind. Yet, I think if there could be a way to “bulk assign” the lists to kids with pre-made settings… that would make it awesome! There are a few of the practice games that my children really don’t like. They say they take too much time. However, the games that they dislike are very few, and there are more than twenty to choose from. All in all, the PROS definitely outweigh the CONS… making me a definite fan of VSC!

Keeping their brains active… School in the summer?

We typically aren’t homeschoolers that school in the summer. Summer is usually pretty sacred to me! I love to have time to get my mind and heart refreshed and renewed. Yet, my children do seem to forget some of what they learned during the year if we don’t do any schooling at all. This year I’ve settled on using the Internet to help keep their brains fresh while giving me a much needed respite from teaching. In years past, we have used the online curriculum that supplements our homeschool during the regular school term. This year, however, I am using Vocabulary Spelling City to help them keep their brains sharp.

Up until now, we have enjoyed this curriculum from a purely spelling point of view. I enter their lists, and they practice and test over them. Yet,  this summer I plan on taking advantage of the wide variety of specialized lists that Spelling city has to offer. They have lists that cover just about every math and science topic as well as lists for SAT Practice and even lists that help you learn the state capitals. There are really fun animated games that can be played, and even a test at the end. All of this can be monitored by the parent, and the software automatically keeps track of your child’s progress. That sounds like a winner to me!

 

Effective Spelling Strategies

Spelling ah… can you remember all those spelling tests? How about writing the words 3x every evening… We can definitely say, “You’ve come a long way wa, baby!” about this subject!

At our house, spelling is still vitally important, but it is completely different. We use an online program that allows me to enter my choice of spelling lists, but provides games, practice, and even sentence writing for each of these lists. To top it off… on Friday… the infamous test day… they take their tests online and it scores and records the grades for me. I must admit I love it. But not just because it has taken away the headache of teaching 5 levels of spelling. I love it because it supports what I believe are strategies for an effective spelling program.

1) It uses multiple strategies to teach the learner. A variety of games and learning tools is a must.

2)Words need to be used in the context of natural writing/communication. Sentence writing is part of the drill and practice.

3)It encourages the learner to self correct.

4)Gives them a multitude of opportunites to practice the words, so their success can out weigh any failures.