Let me begin by saying, "I'm cheap." Just so you know where I'm coming from. If it can be found at a consignment sale, on ebay, or better yet, a yard sale, I'm all over it. However, this thing cannot be found at any of the above, ranks as "overpriced" in my book, and is worth EVERY PENNY. It's called Spelling Time and I love it.
I have to give a hat tip here to It Coulda Been Worse, who happened to mention Spelling Time in an offhand remark on her blog. Since spelling has been a source of much wailing and gnashing of teeth in our household during past years, I decided to give this thing a look-see, and I've never looked back.
Spelling Time is an online spelling program for grades 1-5 and you can use it with any spelling curriculum, or with words sent home from school. You create the spelling list at the beginning of the week and you can use Spelling Time's premade lists, adapt their lists, or scrap it altogether and create your own. The first lesson is a pretest, and then the program instructs the student to write each word a specific number of times, depending on whether they got it right or wrong on the pretest. Each day has different spelling games followed by word writing, and the best part- after completing a day's worth of activities, the student earns a coin to play at the arcade. My boys love this! They have been known to hang over each other's shoulders during the entire spelling lesson just so they can coach each other during the game session. I figure this a good thing and it encourages a little healthy competition because really, do you want your little brother spelling your spelling words better than you can?
The parent receives an email from Spelling Time after the pop quiz, which allows me to help with the extra-difficult words. I also get an email after the "real" spelling test. If the boys do poorly on the test, I can choose to have them repeat portions of the lesson until they master the words. You can also have them go back and review previous lessons. If they get all their words correct on the spelling test, they are part of the "100% Club" for that week and they either get an additional coin to play in the arcade or they can choose to play a special "100% Club" game.
At $2.99 a month per child, this is a little pricey in my book, but some things are just worth the money: the boys literally beg to do spelling now! I even use it as a treat: "Finish your (math/sweeping/bath) and you can play Spelling Time again!" They love it, therefore *I* love it. Spelling is no longer a miserable experience for my little guys.
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