Sep 15, 2014

Spelling You See Review and Giveaway!!!

I was recently contacted by Math U See to review a new product of theirs called Spelling You See. Since we love love LOVE Math U See around here (Nate is already planning on strong-arming his wife into using it with his future kids, he'll let her choose the rest of the curriculum, though.) I jumped on the chance!

Spelling You See is not leveled by grade, but by ability as it is mastery based just like the math program. So I had to do some serious research to pick the level I wanted to use. I opted to use Daniel as my guinea pig since he is just getting started in the spelling world. He is eight years old and in 3rd grade, but is not a strong reader so he just started spelling as a school subject recently. I chose Level C, Wild Tales, because he already knows the majority of the phonemes pretty well and can blend them together fairly fluently.

I received an Instructor's Handbook, 2 Student Workbooks: part one and part two, and a package of erasable colored pencils. You can guess which one the kids were drooling over and wanting to use!

The workbooks comprise the main part of the program. These are consumable and can only be used with one child. The concept of the program is fairly simple to implement. The first lesson was a nursery rhyme, Little Boy Blue. Daniel and I followed the instructions that were printed right in his book. First I read the rhyme to him, then we read it together, clapping the rhythm. Then we read it together again with him pointing to the words as we went. Finally, we discussed the lesson focus which was vowel chunks (aka vowel teams). There was quite an extensive list for him to look for in the poem and to mark with his cool erasable colored pencil. Next was copywork. He reproduced the first two lines of Little Boy Blue in his best handwriting. It was the perfect about of work for him.

The second day was a repeat of the first. We read the poem 3 times and then he marked the vowel chunks.  Then he did the copywork for the next couple of sentences. 

The third day we read the poem again, three times and he marked the vowel chunks and did the copywork, completing the poem. 

The fourth day, the reading and marking was the same, but instead of copywork it was "No Rule Day" and the instructions were to "Draw a picture of the rhyme or write your own story." Space and lines were provided for this. 

The fifth day we read and marked but instead of copywork, I dictated the poem to him and he wrote it. The first word of each line was provided for him, I assume because capitalization hadn't been discussed yet because this help is phased out over time. 

Each of the 36 lessons followed this pattern.

The Instructor's Guide was a thin, but incredibly helpful book. First, it explained the philosophy behind the program which you can read a little bit about here. Then it walked me through what I needed to know to get started. This was not complicated and took only about 5 paragraphs or so. Next it had step by step instructions for the first seven lessons, enough handholding to give even the newest homeschool mama confidence. The process of "chunking" letter patterns is explained and there is a chart and a quick explanation for each type of "chunk" taught in this level. I found this to be a handy at-a-glance reference for me. Copywork, Dictation and No Rule Day were all discussed and explained. 

Next in the Guide was a section of FAQ, followed by all of the passages I needed for dictation so I didn't have to flip around in his workbook while he was trying to use it. Next was the answer key (very handy to have!) and finally, a glossary of the phonics terms used in the lessons. 

Daniel enjoyed using Spelling You See, especially getting to use the special pencils! He did grow a little weary of listening to the same paragraph over and over and was pretty happy to move on to the non-fiction paragraphs later in the book. 

I enjoyed that the program was so easy to use! It took me a few minutes to read through the IG before starting the first day, but after that it was all just open-and-go. This was a low pressure way to teach him to spell and fell in line with our loose Charlotte Mason philosophy pretty well in that it offered short lessons, real life literature to study from, and copywork and dictation to teach. 

You can purchase Wild Tales IG for $14 and the student pack (both books and the pencils) for $30. OR and this is the exciting part, you can enter my giveaway to win a FREE complete level of your choosing! Sign up below and I hope you win! 

Congrats to Niki French, the winner of the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


zekesmom10 said...

Spelling is so important. Especially now since everyone writes textspeak. It's ridiculous.

aurie good said...

I think it's really important, and something that my Sophie is struggling with. We love Math U See as well!!

A Learning Journey said...

I think that spelling is very important, because it builds a solid foundation for other educational subjects and in their life. It also helps the child when reading. They will understand the connections between sounds, letters, words, and more. Sometimes when a child spells incorrectly in written format, the message received may be confusing. Spelling helps with clear communication as well.

Niki French said...

Spelling is extremely important. I am excited to get away from the traditional list-a-week method. We love Math-U-See and are looking forward to trying the Spelling out!

Lisa M said...

I lean towards a Charlotte Mason method too!

Brittney Mom's Heart said...

I believe spelling is very important, as the written word is such an integral part of communication!

Liz Seiltgen said...

I think spelling is very important. My son doesn't like "Spelling" but is a great reader. I think this program may be just the ticket. Thanks for the review and great giveaway! Yahiliz

Kristan Price said...

It is extremely important and that is why have at least one spelling activity per day.


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