Spelling for Dummies

I will always be the first one to admit that I am a terrible speller. If you ever beta read a book for me you will notice all kinds of mixed up homonyms and typos that spell check wasn’t savvy enough to red line. I used to blame it on the fact that I’m “super creative!!” and I can’t write fast enough to satisfy my creativity if I’m slowing down to look up every other word that may or may not be spelled the way I pull it out of my brain at lightening speed.

It’s a poor man that only knows one way to spell a word.

– Dad

Then I realized I was being ridiculous. There were lots of words (like ridiculous) that I was misspelling the same way over and over again. So I sat myself down and gave myself a talking to.

Self, I said, get it together! You’re a grown woman. You should be able to spell the words you are using. I started to slow down and force myself to think about every word that tripped me up. I even started to GOOGLE THEM! (gasps from the crowd) That takes a lot of time out of the hectic creative brain’s schedule. But the results were positive – not perfect, but positive.

Looks like I’m not the only educator with spelling issues.

Then my kids came along and, except for one, they were worse little spellers than I was. I knew we should probably have spelling time in home school, it’s a big part of the weekly grind in public school, but even the public school grind didn’t make my kids any better spellers and I just couldn’t fit it in. Plus, when I tried to fit it in, no matter how fun or creative I made it, no matter how many times they wrote those words, used them in art projects and creative stories or spelled them out with noodles, they weren’t learning them.

So, I gave up.

I figured they would figure it out when they were adults, just like I did. Or they would use spell check and Google like I do. That’s what the whole world does, right?

OH! CONTRAIRE! (sp?? I know that’s french. I don’t think I should have to know foreign languages as well as my own. I guess I could Google it.. hmmm)

A good friend of mine introduced me to a spelling program called Phonetic Zoo. It sounded way too lame for my oldest, but honestly, I was getting very worried about his lack of consideration for vowels – as in he never really used them. So, I decided to give it a try.

The first thing I did was watch the video. Which I’ve posted here for your viewing pleasure:

It made so much sense to me I almost made a cake.

The whole idea is that when you LOOK at a word on paper then copy it to paper a million times, you are taking all the letters in at the same time and spitting them out at the same time, a lot of times in the wrong order. But if you SAY the word out loud and then spell it OUT LOUD it gets recorded on your brain in order.

And we all know I could use more order in my life!

We are six weeks into the course, it doesn’t take up much time and I’ve seen VAST improvement in my kid’s spelling abilities and retention. Plus I’ve learned a few things my self.

Final evaluation: Two Thumbs UP UP for phonetic zoo – no matter how dumb the name sounds 😉

Here’s a link in case you want to check it out for yourself. You can also find it used on various websites such as eBay or home school recycling sites.

Happy Spellin’!