Some Thoughts on Spelling/Vocabulary

A question was asked about spelling/vocabulary for a 12th grader, 10th grader, and 8th grader on a forum I run. I thought I’d share my response here today.

The thing I almost purchased in our later years of homeschooling, mine have all graduated now, was Simply Spelling  or Simply Wisdom. I liked that it followed the dictation approach but I discussed it with them and we opted not to do it. The reason I let them have input was because they were pretty much self-educating at this point, for the most part. (That was one of my goals: to have them take responsibility for their education and become lifelong learners.)

What I ended up doing though was to simply make a running list of words that they misspelled in all their writings and they would write them 10 times correctly, to solidify the correct spelling in their mind.

As for vocabulary, it would depend on where your children are in their current understanding. If they are reading good quality literature, odds are they are coming across words that are new to them. You could have them make a list of these words and what they deduce they mean and/or their actual meanings from the dictionary or dictionary app. If they don’t come across any new words, you could have them use the word of the day from the Merriam-Webster website or one of the many other websites that offer this.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day
http://www.dictionary.com/wordoftheday/
http://www.wordthink.com/
http://wordsmith.org/words/today.html
http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/category/word-of-the-day/
https://www.number2.com/exams/sat/daily/word/
** http://www.wordcentral.com/buzzword/buzzword.php

I also found these vocabulary cards at a garage sale years ago, that I suggested my kids use but never required. They are really neat.  I have the spelling set as well. We would sometimes just sit and go through a bunch. They can be used with a gameboard from a game for a more fun vocabulary or spelling practice.

I just asked my 19yo daughter, who graduated 2 years ago and intends to homeschool her own children when the time arises, what she would suggest. She said that the writing the words 10 times each is the thing that helped her the most as far as spelling is concerned.

As for vocabulary, she recommended finding a list of most beautiful words or such and just taking one or a few each day, finding their complete definition, and maybe using them in a sentence. This could even be done orally or together as a group. Here are two such lists.

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/100-beautiful-and-ugly-words/

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/weird-and-wonderful-words

She agreed that if they are honest with themselves and are reading good quality literature (like Sherlock Holmes), they should be finding new words. Sean, my now 23yo, keeps his dictionary app handy when reading, so that he can look up new or unfamiliar words on the spot.

The lady shared something they do each Friday that they call Dictionary Challenge. I randomly pick 5 words (usually try to find somewhat difficult or strange or just plain new-to-them sort of words), and the challenge is on to spell correctly!  Of course, I share the definition, so we’re simultaneously  learning a little vocabulary. Also, we throw in a Balderdash challenge as a bonus, where I find a word and each student comes up with an original definition. I read their definitions plus the real one, and they have to try to guess the true meaning of the word.

I hope these things can be helpful to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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