How do you teach spelling in your homeschool? For many children it’s a dry, unappealing subject….whether they are good spellers or not. Yet I believe it’s an important topic to spend time on…even in our world of texting and all its abbreviations. I personally believe that good spelling is an asset that not only helps a person in the area of communication during the school years, but in professional life as well. Yet, we’ve struggled to find a spelling curriculum for my 6th grader that was both enjoyable and challenging. I was delighted when our family was selected by TOS Crew to use and review VocabularySpellingCity, an online curriculum that not only helps a child practice and review spelling words….but enjoy the process as well!
VocabularySpellingCity (and yes, that’s how you spell it…with no spaces) is a teaching website that covers not only spelling and grammar, but, as you might expect, vocabulary. We received a free VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership, which normally costs $29.99 for families with up to 5 students for an entire year. (A free basic membership is available as well, but you get over 3 times as much content and product with Premium.) With this paid membership, parents and students can access not only fantastic spelling exercises, word usage and vocabulary instruction but also receive instruction in using the site, record-keeping and activity logs. What makes it even more user-friendly and attractive for children are the numerous games available that are designed to reinforce all those spelling, grammar and vocabulary words.
Here are some of the exercises and learning activities available with the Premium Membership:
- Spelling and vocabulary tests, either from the lists grouped by grade and subject, or that you can create for your child from particular subjects or literature
- Definitions, synonyms and antonyms
- Interactive, printable flashcards
- Handwriting worksheets for word lists
- Sequential Spelling program lists, from easier to more advanced and difficult lists
- Dolch Sight Words
- Geography, science, and holiday word lists
- Language arts lessons with teaching videos
- Writing practice and instruction
- and much more!
With VocabularySpellingCity, parents and their children both set up accounts with their own login information. Parents then can assign a spelling list for each child (or can create one themselves), then can make assignments for each day of work. Children cannot access the record-keeping or the parents’ pages, only their own assignments; but once the lists are set up the children can log in on their own each day and complete the work given by their parents.
I used both the 6th grade lists on the VocabularySpellingCity website for Jackson’s work, and a science list (for a marine biology class Jackson attended) that I created myself, using vocabulary he was learning in his science class. Other than an unusual phylum word (cnidaria) that the site was unfamiliar with, every other word I added to our marine biology list was recognized, defined and included by the website. There is also an assignments page where the parent can add and track assignments for the child’s daily work.
Each day, Jackson logged into the website and I told him which list of words to work on. First, he’d work on the test for the day, when each word is pronounced by the website and he would type it into the box. The website scored his work. Then, I’d have him play two to three games that gave him word challenges on the spelling words he’d just finished working on, like Letter Fall,
Hang Mouse (like Hangman but with a cat and mouse), crossword puzzles, and many others. In general we try to avoid computer gaming, but the games on VocabularySpellingCity didn’t seem to have any adverse affect on our son; rather, they provided a fun way for him to use and learn the spelling words for the day or week.
There are pages in the parents’ section that also enable you to check your child’s work (in the event that they didn’t want to show you immediately); to view test results, writing work and to see if understanding and knowledge are being gained.
In addition to the activities covered by the membership, there are also links to various other educational activities online that have been vetted by VocabularySpellingCity. These include keyboarding games, math games, word root games and other interactive curricula. I often included some of these, especially the keyboarding games, in Jackson’s daily work.
I can happily recommend VocabularySpellingCity as an effective and enjoyable way for young people of all ages (students from grades K-12 can effectively use this website) to study and learn spelling and vocabulary words. Both my son and I really enjoyed the work; whether it was setting up the assignments (for me) or practicing and completing them (for him). It’s very reasonably-priced; it’s easy for both parents and children to interact with; and record-keeping is easily accessible and usable on the website. It may be the first time in several years that my child has happily engaged in spelling….while effectively learning at the same time!
Click here to read more reviews from other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.