Spelling is sometimes forgotten in a homeschool household. Don’t let that happen! It, unfortunately, will make your child look uneducated when they are not. My daughter has been using the Traditional Spelling I curriculum from Memoria Press for the last couple of months. I don’t want to let spelling get “forgotten” in our house.
Now, The Traditional Spelling I is really geared towards grade is intended for kids in grades 1 and 2. My daughter is in grade 4. So, why did I get that one? Well, if I feel I have neglected something (which I have with spelling), then I like to start at the beginning so I don’t skip any of the basic building blocks. If it’s a little easy at the beginning, I don’t mind. Sometimes my kids think it’s too easy and I just explain to them my reasoning and they understand.
Traditional Spelling I
In order to facilitate this review, we received the Student Book, Teacher Manual, Classical Phonics book, Spelling Practice Sheets, and Phonics Flashcards. (If you move on to Traditional Spelling II, the phonics book and flashcards will be needed again.)
The curriculum uses a phonetic approach to spelling and assumes your child can read “consonant-vowel-consonant” words with short vowels.
Your child will not have to aimlessly copy the weekly spelling words over and over again. I love this! Instead, they will write the words down based on their phonograms, consonant teams/blends, and vowel teams.
They will also know what the word means and be able to use it in a sentence.
In addition to the sheets in the workbook, your child will get practice using and spelling the words using a whiteboard.
The Day to Day Process…
If you’ve followed this blog, you might know I love a good teacher’s manual. I love it when a curriculum holds my hand and tells me what to do. I work in the home and outside the home, so anything that can streamline the homeschool process for my 3 kiddos is great!
Speaking of streamlining… Here’s a look at how I decided to organize our Traditional Spelling I curriculum. I put little labels on the flashcards so I could find the one I needed easier. And put everything in a basket so it was easy to grab when it came time to do spelling.
The Traditional Spelling I teacher’s manual lays things out quite nicely. In the beginning, it gives you an overview of what you will be doing with your child on a day to day basis. It is based on a 5 day week. We go to a homeschool enrichment and tutorial program on Mondays, so I did need to change things a little to accommodate for the shorter week. It was not a problem at all to do that.
In each week, you complete one lesson and in each lesson, there are 10 spelling words.
Day 1 is by far the longest day. Sometimes I would break up day 1 to spill over into day 2 a little bit. That worked really well for us.
On Day 1, you would introduce all of the words to your child. This includes talking about the definitions of each word. You would ask the child “word study questions” like, “Which two words have the long sound of o spelled o_e?” And your child also practices reading other similar words using the Classical Phonics book and the Phonics Flashcards.
In addition to all of this taking a long time, I feel like it is just too much for one day. My daughter would get so bored reading all of the words in Classical Phonics and on the Phonics Flashcards that she was getting frustrated with the book. She otherwise enjoyed the curriculum, so I didn’t want her getting frustrated. Once I split up all of the day 1 reading into 2 days, that helped quite a bit. Just thought I would share that in case others have the same concern.
On Day 2, my daughter wrote down all of her spelling words according to the directions on the page. Maybe it was to write them in alphabetical order, or choosing the long o words, then short o words, and so on. Bottom line is that she had to think about which word to write. She wasn’t just copying them. Then she would write them down again and follow a list of directions to mark the words. She marked them with a breve or macron for short and long vowel sounds. She would also identify the consonant teams.
For the first couple of weeks, I would walk her through this process. After that, she had the hang of it and would do the page on her own.
On Day 3, there is a short story (about a paragraph) that she would read to me. The stories always had some of the spelling words in it. This gave my daughter an opportunity to see the words being used in sentences. Then, there were seven or so sentences with a word missing. She would fill in the blanks with one of her spelling words.
In our house, we combined Day 4 and 5. On Day 4, it is intended that you would dictate sounds to your child for them to write down (short o sound, /k/ sound, etc.), all ten spelling words, and a sentence. Then on Day 5, the student would have her final test with all 10 words and another sentence.
I skipped Day 5. I used the dictation on Day 4 as her final test. This worked really well for us. If you also have a 4 day homeschool week, I would suggest you try it to see if it works for you as well.
On Day 1 and 2, there are extra “activities” to do that are outside the student notebook. Sometimes it was doing an activity on the whiteboard (as pictured above). Sometimes it was having the student do a physical activity (for example, stand up when I say a short o word).
We did not always do the suggested activity. It kind of depended on what it was. Sometimes the activity was not suited for just one student. It was more of a classroom type activity.
Here are a couple pictures of Olivia doing one of the activities.
I had to write the words on short pieces of paper. I happened to already have some cardstock cut up into strips for something else we had done, so I used those. I mixed up the words and gave them to her. She then had to put them in the correct order to make a sentence.
She loved this activity so much we had to do more than what was listed in the book. In fact, she wanted to make up some sentences too. So she wrote on some of the strips, mixed them up, and then I had to put them in the correct order to make a sentence. This was great practice for her.
A couple of “complaints”
I’m putting this section here just because I want to be thorough in my review. That being said, please know that I love this curriculum.
I love it so much, I plan on continuing with Traditional Spelling II once we are finished. And, I actually bought the reading program they suggest you do at the same time. It is called StoryTime. It helps your child build reading and comprehension skills. I like it quite a bit and Olivia does too.
Anyway… The Phonics Flashcards were, and still are, annoying to me. I’m not sure if it can even be fixed, but if it can, I would be happy. From here the edges were cut, little pieces of paper flake off. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s annoying to have these little pieces of paper all over our table. (I’m not sure if you can see it or not, but here’s a picture to help you understand what I’m talking about.
I will say that it seems to have gotten better after I put the flashcards in the basket. Now that I’m only pulling out the cards that I need for that day instead of the whole stack, there are fewer paper remnants. Nonetheless, it would be nice if the flashcards didn’t shed.
The other “complaint” I have is that many of the teacher directions are written as if you are teaching a classroom. I can definitely see that this would be a great curriculum to use in a classroom setting based on the instructions, but I’m a homeschool mom. And, I thought this was homeschool curriculum.
It’s not something that would affect whether or not I use the curriculum, but we did have to skip some of the activities because they were more appropriate for a classroom instead of just one child.
This is one of my longest reviews and I’m sorry if I was wordy. I do like this curriculum quite a bit, so I was probably more long-winded because of it. Plus, I really like it when reviewers give a good idea of what happens on a day to day basis. I hope I’ve done that for you here.
If you have a child in 1st or 2nd grade, I definitely suggest this curriculum. I would also suggest it for older students that either struggle with spelling or are “late” readers.
There were other TOS Review crew members that reviewed different Memoria Press products. Click the “read more” banner below to read reviews for Traditional Spelling II, Music Appreciation, and multiple levels of Latin.