Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why I like Spelling Power

Do I like Spelling Power because of the flexibility of when to start and that it's not recommended until 3rd grade?  Absolutely.

Do I like Spelling Power because it will take my children through high school?  Yes.

Do I like Spelling Power because of the ease of multi-age use?  Yes.

Do I like Spelling Power because of the rules?  No.  It drives me crazy when there is a word that doesn't quite go with the rule. 

Do I like Spelling Power because of the testing format instead of workbook format?  Mmm, Yes.  But mainly because this program is working better than workbook formats did for my older children.  Otherwise, workbooks are simpler for mom because you just say, "Go do your Spelling." :)  With Spelling Power I sit with them to give the tests and make up inane sentences that make little sense (I guess that's redundant!) while they make faces at me.  My youngest dd does enjoy her Spelling workbook that she uses on the side for fun.  She also sits in with the olders as she chooses for Spelling Power.  She has a Spectrum Spelling book we got at Mardel.  I can't remember why I chose it over Spelling Workout for her, but that was the other choice.

Do I like Spelling Power because it is Montessori-compatible.  No.  The testing is not Montessori-compatible.  However, the task cards ARE Montessori-compatible and we keep them on the shelf.  I was going to sell them this year and got a resounding, "No, don't sell them!" from the dc.  Go figure.  This year we started having an ongoing list by the olders' desks where they could write words they miss in any other regular type of writing such as writing workshop, letters, speeches, etc.  Then they would have a real-life list to use with the task cards during shelf work time.

Do I like Spelling Power because of the Task Cards?  Yes.  I would use the Task Cards even if I was not using Spelling Power.  In fact, we don't use them at the same time, anyway.  They can use them with words they miss on the daily tests or with words they miss in other writing or with any words they want.

Do I like Spelling Power because of the notebooks?  Yes - the dc actually color in a little bit of the design each time they make a 100.  It took me a while to figure out what they were doing, lol.  On the front side of the page they take the daily test and on the back they work with the words they missed.  They have different colored notebooks according to the line size and whether or not it has a dotted line.  Yellow is for gr. 6th and up; green is for gr. 4th-6th; blue is for late 2nd-4th; and red is for K-2 (which is weird 'cuz the program isn't recommended until 3rd but maybe they had requests??).

Do I actually do Spelling Power daily?  Uh, no, let's just leave it at that.

Is it worth the money?  Yes.  Let's pretend that I actually paid the $60 for a new book.  Let's pretend that I would've gotten a $10 Spelling workbook each year for my children (Many Spelling books are closer to $15 per year per child).  That would only cover 2 years of Spelling.  Spelling Power will cover years and years more than that with only replacing the notebooks as we fill them. 

Is it the BEST Spelling program out there?  No.  Personally I like the Spalding Writing Road to Reading - THAT is the BEST regarding phonograms, etc.  However, I tried for years to implement it at home and it's just too cumbersome and teacher intense for home use.  I used it in the classroom one year (or maybe two??) and it's great - but very time/teacher intense to do it right.  Now I just have the cards out and plan on going through them with youngest dd.  Actually, I may ask dd to take her through so she can get the extra input as well.  There are some spin-offs now that are more user-friendly and based on the Rigg's Institute binder for the Writing Road to Reading.  I've looked at one and it was okay - just not quite the same.  Since we were already having success with Spelling Power I didn't switch. 

What do I like the MOST about Spelling Power?  What the dc do after they miss a word (say the word, spell out loud, look at it, repeat saying and spelling out loud, close eyes and spell it, check it, trace and say without looking, check it, write without looking, check it, repeat if necessary).  It helps them to internalize it and they rarely miss the same word twice.

Below are pictures/links to the Spelling products we use and and different notebooks.  They have the line measurements at the link for you to see which notebook best fits your child's handwriting size.

[What's Gardenin'? is below the pictures/links for Spelling]

I'm not necessarily recommending the Spectrum Spelling books below but my youngest dd enjoys them, they're inexpensive compared to other Spelling consumables, and I will probably continue to get them for her.

What's Cookin'?

We were able to get some grass-fed beef and had roast for the first time in MONTHS.  I cooked it overnight on low in the crockpot and didn't even season it.  It was flavorful nonetheless.  I also cooked up a few pounds of ground beef so we had spaghetti.  For sauce I just used organic tomato sauce (tomatoes are one of those no-nos with lots of pesticide residue) with a bunch of home-dried basil, Real Salt, pepper, and a dash of marjoram (don't ask me why, it was there!).  I was regretting not having put some fresh oregano in when it was cooking or not having dried any yet - the oregano looks more like a bush right now and is over-ready to harvest!

What's Gardenin'?

We harvested a bunch (literally) of carrots yesterday with oldest dd.  It was fun to see all of the weird shapes.  Some had gone to seed and the stem was too woody to even cut easily.  Others were young and tender.  These were planted a YEAR ago.  This year I was planning on doing a better job of adding nutrients to the soil (aka fertilizing but with organics) for better growth.  That will have to wait for next year's garden (hopefully).

The potatoes have started to bloom.  Does that mean they're ready to harvest?  I've forgotten but we need to harvest anyway.  I'll do that later this week.

I'll be harvesting and drying the oregano this week or weekend as well.  I'll probably do the sage as well.

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