How to Make Homeschool Spelling Fun with Activities and Free Spelling Curriculum Materials
Spelling? Nooooooo! As an adult, you may run screaming when someone reminds you of the way you learned spelling in school. Maybe you had to write words 400 times each on the board or for homework. Maybe you had to learn all the words in a word family, and then the test asked about all the exceptions. Maybe you were, and still are, a phenomenal speller, and you won spelling bees that made your family proud and earned you amazing prizes. If you are like most of us, however, spelling was a necessary evil in the land of literacy. You did it. You didn’t like it, but you are glad that someone made it happen. The good news is that you are now in charge of how your child learns spelling, and… Spelling. Can. Be. Fun!
|How to Have Fun with Homeschool Spelling Words|
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Why is Spelling Important?
It isn’t. Well, you may think it isn’t if you believe that technology can fix everything, and you do know plenty of successful adults who can’t spell to save their lives…. However, for kids, being able to spell can make a lot of other things easier. For example, when kids learn to spell, they develop stronger connections between letters and sounds, which will help them sound out new words when reading. Spelling can also make identification of high-frequency sight words more automatic when reading. Of course, better writing is also a major benefit of good spelling. One can argue that spell-check devices and features in word processing apps can get around some spelling difficulties, but have you ever seen several options for spellings on these tools and not known which one was correct? Have you ever tried to look up an unknown word in a dictionary without knowing how to spell it? Have you ever—in a weak moment—judged someone by how many words were spelled incorrectly in a memo or email or, worse, job application. Whether we like it or not, proper spelling can make an adult appear more intelligent and professional, and we owe it to our children to prepare them to manage these first impressions.
How to Have Fun with Homeschool Spelling Words
Spelling doesn’t have to be a tedious or monotonous process. Instead, your homeschool can use spelling as an opportunity for creative activities that your child will enjoy while also learning. So… spice up your spelling words with these fun ways to help your child with spelling:
- Rainbow Spelling: This is a twist on the familiar “writing each word 400 times each.” Instead, give your child crayons or colored pencils for all the colors of the rainbow. (Teachable moment: You can introduce your child to Roy.G.Biv in the process!). Then have your child write a spelling word large in red, then trace the word in orange, and so on, with each color overlapping the prior color. The result is an artistic display of the word (written only 7 times) that is pretty enough to be hung on the refrigerator.
- Magnetic Letters Spelling: Speaking of refrigerators, they can also be great learning boards. Get a set of magnetic letters and have your child practice spelling words on the refrigerator. Leave the words up after the lesson, so your child sees them any time your child needs a snack or a drink.
- Spelling Sports: Put some athletics into your spelling by having your child spell a word and then shoot a basket (or catch a football or kick a soccer goal). Learning while being active can help some children, and a good swish (or catch or goal) can make spelling even a word like “pneumonia” more fun.
- Sidewalk Spelling: Get your child outside and have your child write spelling words all over the driveway or sidewalk or garage floor with sidewalk chalk. For those difficult words, spend some time building the words on the sidewalk with sticks or other things found in the yard.
- Sensory Spelling: Make bath time a spelling activity. Put a large dollop of shaving cream on the wall of your bathtub and ask your child to spell words using a finger in the shaving cream. Messy is fun, but if you want something a little less messy, a writing sensory bag is also great.
- Spelling Games: Be creative! There are a lot of games out there that are (or can easily be modified to be) spelling games. Some are obvious—like Scrabble Junior or My First Bananagrams—but even simple games like Hangman can teach spelling words in an enjoyable way. Check out our Gameschooling ELA page for more ideas!
Homeschool Spelling Curriculum
If you are looking for a structured approach to spelling instruction for your homeschooler, you discover a homeschool spelling curriculum that is right for your family. These are some of the ones available:
All About Spelling $
“Developed for busy parents, teachers, and tutors, All About Spelling is a scripted, open-and-go program that teaches spelling in the most effective way possible. This award-winning seven-level program provides complete and comprehensive instruction using the Orton-Gillingham approach.”
Evan-Moor Spelling $
“The Building Spelling Skills series offers weekly spelling lists of 15 words. With targeted spelling lesson plans for grades pre-kindergarten through sixth, students will work with contractions, blends, vowel sounds, prefixes, suffixes, homophones, digraphs and more. The series also includes spelling tests, puzzles, and take-home reinforcement. With the Skill Sharpeners Spell and Write series, teachers will have access to grade-appropriate spelling lesson plans and follow-up spelling practice to help foster confident spellers.”
Sequential Spelling $
“We do not believe there is just one way to teach any topic, including spelling. Children deserve to learn in the way that is easiest and most comfortable for them. The education of the young should never focus on the adults’ goals or convenience but on the needs and abilities of the children. Our program closely aligns with the goals and methods of Structured Literacy.”
Soaring with Spelling $
“This spelling program includes levels 1-8. Level equates to grade level. Levels are based on a 36-week school year. Lessons are divided into five separate days.”
Spelling You See $
“No spelling tests! No memorizing word lists! No daily time-consuming instructor preparations! Spelling You See is a unique approach to spelling, powered by research on natural language development, focused on letter patterns, and designed around short, daily activities.”
Spelling Power $
“When you add Spelling Power to your curriculum, students age eight to adult, will use its comprehensive, individualized, self-paced, systematic, and simultaneously multi-sensory procedures to: Review key phonetics principles, Learn consistently applicable spelling rules, Practice comprehensive dictionary skills, Establish essential proofreading habits, and Master the 5,000 most-frequently-used and misspelled words.”
“Time4Learning is an online student-paced learning system popular as a […] homeschool curriculum, as an after-school tutorial and skill sharpening during the summer break.” Check out these spelling word lists and curriculum for grades PreK-8: Preschool, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade, Fifth Grade, Sixth Grade, Seventh Grade, and Eighth Grade.
Vocabulary A-Z $
“Meet your child’s educational needs with customizable gameplay that helps them retain and grow their vocabulary and practice beneficial homeschool spelling words: Practice spelling, vocabulary, and phonics; Engaging game-based activities; Student-friendly portal with motivating rewards and incentives; Fun independent study & self-testing; Spaced, repeated practice needed for retention; Homeschool spelling word lists for every subject from Pre-K through 12; Reports for your homeschool portfolio; and Comprehensive homeschool vocabulary curriculum.”
Free Online Spelling Programs and Curriculum
Wouldn’t you love to find some free spelling programs or a free spelling curriculum? There are a lot of free online spelling resources out there. Below are just a few:
Arcademics Games – Spelling
Find games for grades 1-6, like Coconut Vowels, Kitten Hop, Koala Paddleboards, Turtle Dash, and more!
Free Cozy Spelling Course | Cozy Grammar
“The Free Cozy Spelling Course is a 36-week, text-based curriculum with audio supplements that teaches the spelling of 600 words at the 7th grade level. It contains different Monday to Friday activities, including pretests, exercises, dictation sentences, spelling rules, final tests, and answer keys. At the end of the course, students will have the option to print out a course completion certificate. Even more important, they will have greater confidence in their spelling skills because they will have a greater understanding of the principles of spelling.
“The original educational kit came out in 1990-91 and was broadcast from within an Ontario public school by Canada-AM, CKCO-TV and Province Wide. We sold over 10,000 units to school teachers across Canada, USA and Australia. We now offer it as a free computer printout….”
SpellaRoo | FunBrain
“Identify the misspelled word in each sentence” and enjoy this fun interactive game.
“This website offers easy interactive spelling practice for kids in early elementary years (grades 1, 2, 3 and 4). Just type, listen and learn English – learning spelling can be as simple as that! On this page you set up which words to test students on. The next page – after you hit the “Online Spelling Test” button – lets the kids tackle the spelling test and check their performance. This free spelling website acts like an online computer program, in which you can create your own spelling lists, and have word games with your own words. All the games and the other educational interactive activities on this website are totally free!”
VocabClass Spelling + Vocabulary Program
“VocabClass Spelling + Vocabulary Program is a FREE virtual spelling and vocabulary program that presents quizzes, spelling bees, spelling tests, and fun spelling games all customized to each student’s abilities. Our interactive daily method has proven to help child achieve academic success in spelling and vocabulary. With 10-15 minutes a day, your child can not only improve spelling and vocabulary grades but also start enjoying doing homework. An important part of our program is that children will HEAR words and sentences spoken. This not only helps children memorize words but also ensures correct pronunciation of words. We always put children safety first! We add all our words and sentences by hand. Your child will be in a safe environment as they work toward academic success!”
Word Turtle | FunBrain
“Complete the word search by clicking on the first letter of each hidden word. You can also make your own word search.”
Other Homeschool Spelling Resources
Want even more ways to help your child love spelling (and get better at it)? We’ve added some more resources for you here:
Coogam Wooden Reading Blocks – Short Vowel Rods – Spelling Games $
“Wooden Spelling Toy: Includes a wood tray, 5 Handheld Sets of Rotating Blocks with 3-letter word movable blocks. Along with 48 pcs sight words flash cards (24 pcs foldable word 2-in-1 cards, 24 pcs word cards). Appropriate for teaching very basic reading skills.”
“If you can spell, you can play! […] Dabble word game is a brain teaser that will not only help you challenge yourself but also offer a fun way to spend time with friends and family. A game of 5 words, Dabble will improve your spelling and vocabulary — making it the perfect educational game to play with children as well.”
Elementary School Kids’ Most Commonly Misspelled Words | YourDictionary
“When elementary students are starting to read, they sound out the word they’re reading. But this technique doesn’t always work for silent letters, double consonants or homophone pairs. Review a few lists of commonly misspelled words with your elementary school students to ease some of these issues.”
High School Level Spelling Words | YourDictionary
“Although spelling is a subject most often associated with the elementary grades, high school level spelling words provide an opportunity for students to further develop their mastery of the English language. Present your 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders with a spelling list to help develop their vocabulary and grammar skills.”
How to Be a Spelling Bee Champion | Homeschool.com
“P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-O-N Pronunciation: fĭ-nŏm’ә- nŏn.’ Definition: An unusual, significant, or unaccountable fact or occurrence; a marvel. Origin: Late Latin phaenomenon, from Greek phainomenon. Sentence: The interest in the National Spelling Bee has grown so much it is a phenomenon!”
Merriam-Webster Student Dictionary for Kids
“Search an online dictionary written specifically for young students. Kid-friendly meanings from the reference experts at Merriam-Webster help students build and master vocabulary.”
Plugo Letters Word-Building Kit $
“PLUGO LETTERS is an AR-powered word building kit that combines the goodness of hands-on learning and healthy screen-time. Spell with alphabet tiles, grow your vocabulary, and improve grammar with story-based spelling games. Watch the video to catch it in action!”
Rain Reign $
by Ann M. Martin (Author)
“Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She’s thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose’s obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different – not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father. When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. […] Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose’s point of view.”
Speak & Spell Electronic Game $
“Retro play – classic 80’s graphics, sounds and gameplay. Speak & spell was the first educational toy designed to help children learn to spell over 200 commonly misspelled words using a speech synthesizer. For ages 7 & up.”
SpellChecked Card Game $
“Players earn points for naming the image and spelling it correctly. If they can’t spell the word correctly, they can earn points for choosing from three options, only one of which is spelled correctly. There’s the option of playing decks with more challenging words, so players of all capabilities can compete against one another, and everyone has a chance to win. […] For 2-8 players.”
“How many words can you chomp? Includes sounding out words. Includes word building. Includes spelling rules. The person with the most pairs at the end of the game is declared the winner. An exciting board game that is ideal for playing at home with the family or in the classroom.”
“By inspiring the exploration of words, the Scripps National Spelling Bee illuminates pathways to lifelong curiosity, celebrates academic achievement, and enriches communities.” Check out all things spelling at this site.
“High-Stacking, Word-Building Game: The Higher You Stack, The Higher You Score! In Upwords, Each Player Starts With 7 Letter Tiles. Play Words Across Or Down To Make New Words Or Stack On Top Of Tiles To Change A Word! Earn Points For Every Tile Put Down.”
Zingo Word Builder | ThinkFun $
“Gameplay provides a stealth learning experience, where players build vocabulary and learn spelling patterns. Two levels of play support both early and more advanced readers. […] Award winner – Oppenheim Platinum Award, Teachers Choice Award for the Classroom, Parents’ Choice Gold Award and more.”
What are your favorite homeschool spelling activities and resources? Do you know of another free homeschool spelling curriculum? Please share your ideas with all of us in the comments below….