Friday, July 10, 2015

Resource Review: All About Spelling!

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Something I realize I haven't talked much about has been Spelling.  We all talk about language arts, but somehow spelling gets forgotten in that.  At our house, that's less because spelling is a non-starter, but because it, like science, is one of the few subjects that gets done with very little fuss.  And for that?  I completely credit All About Spelling. Mad Natter, who absolutely hates review, will ask me if we can do spelling work. Mad Natter, whose handwriting is years behind his mind, will ask me to do spelling.  This is astounding to me.

All About Spelling is billed as a seven level, multi-sensory program that teaches the rules and logic behind the English language. The general sales pitch is that it teaches the rules that will cover 97% of the words in the English language, and the other 3% are handled as "rule breakers" and also given special attention. 
Mad Natter using All About Spelling at 5y

In our house, All About Spelling has been what was used since day one. My very first box day came with Spelling Workout in place for spelling, but I looked at it and just shook my head. There was no way that was going to work, not with Mad Natter. So off I went, and it wasn't long before AAS made it in front of me. It's expensive, particularly compared to Spelling Workout, but it is beyond doubt worth every cent of the price. For the first level, we paid about $80 (SW was about $10). That's a lot of additional cost - especially over the course of all the levels, which individually work out to about $40 each. It's worth it. Included from the get-go are letter tiles, an entire setup for spelling using those tiles, cards, the manual, stickers, everything you need to use the program. 

Mad Natter loves the letter tiles. He builds words with them, sure, and after spelling is done, he also builds castles, towers, really anything he wants. Because of his energy levels, he's able to do his spelling not only standing, but he stands on his bumpy cushion while he spells, allowing him to shift and rock and keep his focus. The cards are easy enough for us to use, though I tend to prefer to use the manual, the cards are great for keeping track of what we have and haven't done, and for mixed review.

Speaking of the manual - it's so easy. So very easy. The lessons are pre-scripted, so you have an idea of how to teach each lesson, even if you've never even thought of what the letter "C" says when it comes before an "E," "I," or "Y." Crazy easy. For Mad Natter, whose handwriting is a challenge, and he hates to write if he doesn't have to, we skip the actual writing practice, instead choosing to spell with the tiles on the board. We purchased a giant magnet board last year, and it has been one of the best things we could have done. Mad Natter loves this crazy thing.  

Even better, he enjoys doing spelling. There is no fuss, no fight - not unless he wants to spell more and we're already late for whatever we're supposed to be doing for the rest of the day. The program, in a nutshell, has been a godsend. Not only does it have plenty of room for the adaptations we need to make in a 2E household, but it also allows Mad Natter plenty of freedom to move at his own speed.  I've been hearing all along that most of the levels will take more than a year to complete, which is why All About Learning Press is able to say that once a student has finished level seven, they will be spelling at a high school level. Mad Natter, however, has taken to finishing a level in about six months. Then we spend the remainder of the year in quick reviews - spelling phrases from each lesson on one day, and sentences the next. I've been leery about buying more than one level of the program per year, which is why he's not already into level three or four by now - I've been deliberately keeping things slow and easy. 

This year, we're moving to having spelling four days per week instead of two, and I'm hoping to spend the full week on each step in the book. I suppose we'll see where we end up, but knowing Mad Natter, it wouldn't surprise me if he took this one in a year as well - he's already completed levels one and two, and we've loved them every time we've seen them, so I'm fairly certain that will continue through the next several years as well.

Easy to use, easy to set up, easy to work with - for both parent and child - and making spelling interesting?  I'll take it - every single time.

This post is one of many available via Gifted Homeschoolers' Forum in their Resource Review section - click on through and see what else has been reviewed!