Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Homeschool Curriculum Review: Spelling Power and Spelling Workout

I have used Spelling Power for the past few years with my oldest son.  We started it in 3rd grade, which is actually when Spelling Power recommends starting this program.  My son was a good speller, which he mainly inherited from his avid reading habit, so I didn’t worry about tackling it as a separate subject early on.  Plus, I do not like to overwhelm young children with too many subjects.


The main thing I like about Spelling Power is that it eliminates twaddle!  Rather than having my son study words over and over that he already knows, he can test out of those words and study only the ones he needs to learn.

The Basic Procedure:

*Test your child for placement into the right level to start out the year.

*Review the rule for the current list.

*Test the child with the list words.  Stop after 5 minutes or once the child gets three words wrong – whatever comes first.

*There is a method your child will use to review the misspelled words that involves dwelling upon the word, “tracing” the word, writing the word, and using it in a sentence. 

*Many additional activities are provided for further reinforcement, but we have not had to use them in general.

Another thing I really like about Spelling Power is that I can use it for my son’s entire spelling career.  One purchase.  One great price.  Many years of use!

The one challenge we have had with my son is to fight discouragement.  He is a perfectionist, so he feels like a failure when he gets a word wrong.  Obviously, if he were studying the words ahead of time (like most spelling programs), he may not get some of those words wrong.  I haven’t given up the program, but instead used it as a tool to help my son with his perfectionism.  I remind him that we are not perfect and will get things wrong.  I also tell him that the object of the list is to figure out what he doesn’t know so he can know it!

Spelling Workout

My daughter, unlike my sons, is not a good speller naturally.  She is reading more and more these days, so that is helping her.  However, she just doesn’t have the same learning personality as the boys.  I realized that she needs some handholding in spelling, so I wanted to boost her a bit.  I purchased Spelling Workout about a month ago.  I remembered Susan Wise Bauer had recommended it in her book, The Well-Trained Mind


I thought this program would probably appeal more to my daughter, and sure enough, it did.  Rather than the fairly monotonous method of testing and drilling that Spelling Power uses, Spelling Workout provides more interesting and varied activities to learn words.  It may be seen as twaddle for some (and is for my sons) but it really isn’t for my daughter since she needs quite a bit of help in spelling right now!  She has gone through the first couple lists well, and I am so proud that she is progressing.


As you can see from these photos, there are various copywork, word clue, word search, proofreading and writing activities involved.


I would recommend this program for someone who is doing poorly in spelling and/or a child who likes bookwork or more variety.

My other reviews:

Homeschool Curriculum Review: God’s Design for Science
Homeschool Curriculum Review: First Language Lessons
Homeschool Curriculum Review: Bob Jones English
Homeschool Curriculum Review: Horizons Math
Homeschool Curriculum Review: Math in Focus


  1. Thank you for this review of two different programs. Your take on what your daughter needed and why really helped me -- I could have written the same about my own daughter. Thanks for taking the time (:

  2. This is my first year home schooling our children. I'm using Spelling Power for my 3rd and 5th grade girls. It is straight and to the point and the girls like it too. With 3 more younger siblings I know that this program will be well used!