Posted in Homeschool Information, Resources

Spelling Fun in Your Homeschool

spelling fun

Spelling Fun in Your Homeschool

Spelling doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. Spelling can be fun! Toss those work sheets and spelling tests and give some of these resources a try for spelling fun in your homeschool. Spelling is important. Because spell check doesn’t catch everything!

SpellQuizzer

SpellQuizzer is great for any age, especially if your child loves to type and hates to print or write. Drill spelling words on the computer by recording the words (and a sample sentence or definition for your child), OR let your spouse or a special guest do the recording for even more fun. My daughter used to adore being a special guest for her big brother’s spelling words. You can also use it to drill vocabulary words, foreign language words, and more! Learn more, check out our SpellQuizzer review and get your free trial here.

The Homophone Machine

Homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently) are fun to learn about and they’re even more fun with the free online homophone machine. Your elementary age child will enjoy typing in words and phrases and see all the homophones appear. Try all the wonderful ideas and games suggested on the page for even more spelling fun.

Board Games

Board games play a big part in our everyday homeschool. Of course, Scrabble can be a great help for practising spelling. But there are many more games for spelling fun, such as Pick Two (which I adore) or Boggle. What’s your favourite?

Rummy Roots

Card games can add fun to your homeschool day, too! We’ve owned and used the Rummy Roots card game for many years. It is recommended in The Well-Trained Mind. We find it a terrific help for spelling words with Latin roots, studying Latin, and expanding vocabulary.

At first, when our kids were younger, we used it as a matching card game – simply matching Latin/Greek roots to their English definitions. Then we began playing the game properly – making compound words out of the various Latin and Greek roots, at first with two roots, and then with two or more. Recommended for ages eight to adult, I find anyone who reads well can play it.

Spelling Bees

I wish I could have participated in more spelling bees when I was a child – I only had the chance to enjoy one spelling bee in my Grade 4 classroom. My son enjoyed competing in spelling bees when he was elementary school age, although I don’t think he ever quite enjoyed spelling as much as I did.

Spelling bees aren’t as proliferous as they once were, but they are still around. Check out your nearest spelling bee and use their resources to study! If you’re in Nova Scotia, enter your child in the Halifax spelling bee. Even if your child doesn’t want to compete in a spelling bee, you can join the Scripps Spelling Bee Word Club for free spelling bee materials!

To practise, let the child who just can’t stop moving jump rope, bounce on an exercise ball, or jump on a mini trampoline for some extra fun. The spelling words will even stick in their brain better with the exercise!

Learning to Spell for Little Ones

There are many enjoyable resources available for your little ones who are learning to read and spell. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading. Spelling rules are so easy to remember when sung to the well-known tunes included in the program, “Rule Tunes.” And there are many more spelling games, including Bingo.

You may not have heard of Wordy Qwerty, as it isn’t well known, but it sure can be a fun addition for your little one. The JingleSpells spelling songs are a fantastic part of this spelling program. There are 20 incredibly well done tunes. They’re catchy and fun to sing along with, including everything from country to rock.

Are you making spelling fun in your homeschool? What resource makes it fun for you? Please let me know in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

 

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and buy I make a few pennies to keep up Homeschooling in Nova Scotia. Thanks for your support!

Posted in Resources

Special $7.99 SpellQuizzer Sale Today Only


We love SpellQuizzer and have been using it for years in our homeschool.  It’s such a FUN way to practise spelling words!  Today only, you can take advantage of this sale and get SpellQuizzer for only $7.99 (regular $29.95)!  If you’d like to know more about SpellQuizzer, check out my SpellQuizzer review.  Go to: www.SpellQuizzer.com/OneDaySale.asp to take advantage of this fantastic sale – they’ve never offered a lower price.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,
Kimberly

Posted in Things to Do, Places to Go

Watch Live March 28th: Root for Nova Scotia Homeschooler in the Canspell Spelling Bee!

Twenty-one spellers from 21 cities across Canada are in Toronto to compete this weekend at the 8th annual Postmedia Canspell National Spelling Bee, including Cape Breton’s own homeschooler, Olivier Broussard!  Olivier is the third member of the Broussard family to win the local spelling bee and go on to Canspell.

The Canspell final takes place on Wednesday, March 28th at the CBC in downtown Toronto. You can watch the Live online streaming of the preliminary rounds this year, from 2-4pm Atlantic (1-3pm Eastern):  Click on the CBC Player to watch.  The final rounds will stream from 5:30 – 7pm AT (4:30-6pm ET) on This CBC Player.  The final rounds will also air on CBC TV on April 1st at 8pm AT (7 p.m. ET).  You can follow some of the excitement on Facebook where you can send your favourite speller a personal message (and play Spelling games), as well as through Twitter.

The winner receives the Canspell Cup and a $7,500 education award, courtesy of Egg Farmers of Canada. Second and third place spellers receive $5,000 and $2,500 respectively. The three top spellers will represent Canada at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. at the beginning of June.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Contests

Homeschooler Wins Cape Breton Spelling Bee – Fourth Year in a Row!

On Saturday, February 11th, the 2012 Cape Breton Regional Spelling Bee was held at Cape Breton University in Sydney. Three homeschoolers participated this year.  12 year old homeschooler Olivier Broussard of Port Hawkesbury was the winner.  Congratulations to Olivier and his family!   Both Olivier’s sisters have won previous Bees.  Paryse won in 2011 and Claudine won both the 2009 and 2010 Regional Spelling Bees!  This is the fourth year one of the Broussards has won this competition!

Olivier will go on to compete in the Postmedia Canspell National Spelling Bee in Toronto on March 28th.  21 finalists from across Canada will compete there for the Canspell Cup, $15,000 in education awards and the chance to go on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. at the end of May.  On April 1st, you will be able to watch from home on CBC TV!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Homeschool Events, Things to Do, Places to Go

World Education Games 2012 – Math, Science, Spelling – Register now!

Once again, World Math Day is approaching…on March 7th!  Along with World Spelling Day on March 6 and the new World Science Day on March 8th, they make up Mathletics’ World Education Games!  We participate every year and my children have so much fun!   And not only do they drill their math and spelling skills (and now Science too) in an extremely fun way, but they also learn about Geography and flags of the world just by competing with other students around the world.  There’s even a world map download on the site 🙂

Each of the World Education Games is free and a lot of FUN!  Register now and you can practice for a whole month on the site.  Be a part of this great education event, whether you’re a teacher, parent, homeschooler, or student.
  • Students take part in real-time math, spelling, and science challenges using the using the Mathletics game engine.
  • Student play live with other students around the globe.
  • Your students will love it! Be part of setting a Guinness World Record!
  • It will create an amazing buzz around Math, Spelling, and Science.
  • Designed for all ages and ability levels.
  • Simple to register and participate. All you need is internet access.
  • Great prizes
  • And it’s absolutely FREE!!

HURRY, registration opened today and you get a whole month now to practice!  One registration gets you access to all three of the World Education Games.

Enjoy!  You might see us taking part – look for “Hidden Hill Homeschool” 🙂  Adults can play too!
Love, Luck &
Laughter,
Posted in Things to Do, Places to Go

Still time to Register for Canspell Spelling Bee – Reduced Fee!

School registration deadline has been E-X-T-E-N-D-E-D to November 30!

And Cape Breton Post has REDUCED the Material and Registration fee!

The deadline for registration in the Canspell program is now Wednesday, November 30th.

Cape Breton Post is covering $59 of the Materials and Registration Fee, so instead of $109*, schools/homeschool groups pay just $50 to ensure their students are eligible to take part in this rewarding educational program. Registered schools also receive the following benefits:

For your students

  • A Get Cracking® Speller Kit and Study Guide for each student, containing this year’s study material, word games, tips and more…
  • Participation certificates
  • Study material for your school spelling bee champion

For teachers

  • A comprehensive Teacher Kit with bee instructions and this year’s word lists
  • Downloadable classroom activities and games
  • CanFUND program information and all the materials needed to help your school turn spelling fun into an education-based fundraising project.

Please visit www.canspell.com for more information and to register your school today.

Questions? Requests? Email: canspell@postmedia.com

*Already registered and paid the full fee? No worry – credit card payments will show a $59 (USD) reversal on your next statement and cheques for $59 (CDN) will be issued for those schools who paid by cheque.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Resources, Reviews

Wordy Qwerty for Reading & Spelling – Review

Talking Fingers offers “innovative phonics-to-fluency software for hands-on reading and spelling”. Wordy Qwerty is their reading and spelling software for children in Grades 2-4.  I received Wordy Qwerty in exchange for an honest review 🙂 Wordy Qwerty is suitable for children who have already completed a  phonics program and know their way around the keyboard OR have completed Talking Fingers’ Read, Write & Type! program.  My 7 year old daughter, who tested out Wordy Qwerty, is one of the former.

Lesson 1 begins with short vowel sounds and long vowel sounds and learning about silent e. It then progresses to the spelling rule for soft c vs. hard c, and so on.  There are six activities in each lesson.  I’m not a big fan of the “Recycler” game.  Two words are shown (see example below of “meek” and “meak”) and the child has to choose which one is a real word, or if both are real words.  So the child is viewing made-up spelling for words, instead of consistently correct spelling.  I do however like the “write stories” part of each lesson.  The first part of a sentence appears and is read to the child, followed by the dictation of the last part which the child must type in to continue.  The story continues usually for about four screens until the child has a very cute, complete story.

The music is the big winner in this curriculum.  Not only are there 20 educational songs all about spelling rules, but they’re VERY well done.  Have you ever had songs that went along with a curriculum that all sounded the same and whose lyrics were awkward to sing and didn’t fit the music?  Not so with this music.  As a music teacher, I was impressed with these beautifully made, catchy tunes, from a wide variety of musical genres.  Whether you like rock, rap, country, 50’s, or a middle-eastern flair, there’s something that you will enjoy.  And after the child listens to the music being sung, your child can click on the microphone (see picture) and sing along in “karaoke” mode!

Unfortunately it was a slow start for us with this program.  At first we had access to the online program, and it kept freezing up or giving us error messages.  I tried using two different internet browsers to run it, and I tried turning off our firewall, but nothing seemed to work and my daughter became very frustrated that she had to start lessons over and over again after they froze up.  After waiting awhile for a response to my help request, I asked again for help and Talking Fingers sent us the CD set instead (they said that my internet connection must be at fault, which was surprising since we have high speed internet and regularly play sophisticated online games), and we received the CD this week.

The installation of the CD went fairly well, except that it failed to put a shortcut on my desktop or to appear in the Program files for some reason, so I dragged a shortcut onto the desktop from the root file.  Once it was installed, we were able to play Wordy Qwerty without worrying about whether the CD was in the drive or not.  The best thing about having the CD product, besides the fact that it runs smoothly, is that it comes with the accompanying “JingleSpells” CD – all the spelling songs on CD so you can listen to them in the car (or anywhere), which we thoroughly enjoyed doing.  My daughter’s been singing them all over the house.  Even my 12 year old didn’t mind them 🙂  I highly recommend this CD for anyone teaching their children spelling rules – you can listen to clips of it HERE or you can even buy it from iTunes (just search for JingleSpells)!

You can have your child try a demo of Wordy Qwerty Lesson 1 online here. Wordy Qwerty is available in online format for a 5-year subscription period for just $25.00 US for one user, with discounts for multiple users.  It is also available in CD-Rom format (not compatible with Windows 7 or Mac 10.6 though) with accompanying “JingleSpells” song CD for $35.00 plus shipping. The JingleSpells CD is also available as a separate purchase for only $10.00 US plus shipping.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

 

Posted in Homeschool Information

Root for homeschooler Paryse Broussard in the Canspell Spelling Bee!

Twenty-one spellers from 21 cities across Canada are in Toronto to compete this weekend at the 7th annual Postmedia Canspell National Spelling Bee, including Cape Breton’s own homeschooler, Paryse Broussard!  You can read more about Paryse at the Bee in today’s Cape Breton Post article.

The Canspell final takes place on Sunday March 27 at the CBC in downtown Toronto. Unfortunately there is no online streaming this year, but the Bee will air on Monday April 4th, at 9pm AT (8 p.m. ET) on CBC.  You can also follow some of the excitement on Facebook (where you can send your favourite speller a personal message), as well as through Twitter.

The winner receives the Canspell Cup and a $7,500 education award, courtesy of Egg Farmers of Canada. Second and third place spellers receive $5,000 and $2,500 respectively. The three top spellers will represent Canada at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. at the beginning of June.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

 

 

Posted in Homeschool Information, Reviews

BigIQkids – Review

My children LOVE BigIQkids!  My daughter loves BigIQkids so much that she wakes up in the morning, hops out of bed, and makes a beeline to the computer 🙂

BigIQkids is an e-learning site for children in grades K-8 (whether homeschooled or not), which we received free in exchange for an honest review.  The subjects available are Spelling, Math, Vocabulary, and U.S. Geography.  It was very easy to set up, and I like that I could set up which grade level my children are at for EACH subject, and how many questions they are given for each lesson.  Once the premium account is set up, children can customize and dress up their very own onscreen “buddy” however they like.  My daughter in particular loved dressing up hers.  Also customizable is the spelling program, for which you can input any spelling words from any curriculum!

Children can work completely on their own – an animated character speaks aloud to them (in a somewhat mechanical voice).  One item of note – their mouths actually move phonetically – what great attention to detail, and potentially helpful for children with special needs.  Another reason children are able to work on their own on BigIQkids is that the parent can keep tabs on their progress through email notifications each time the children complete something or master something, and even if they got everything right, or which areas they had trouble with, which spelling words were spelled incorrectly and how.  A few times, I’ve been at the other end of the house while my two children worked for hours on BigIQkids and my iPod kept “binging” with email messages from BigIQkids, LOL.  They love to work on their BigIQkids at the same time – one on the laptop, one on the PC.  My 7 year old challenges my 12 year old to do a lesson at the same time as her “Ready, set, go!”

With the completion of each lesson in each subject, the child gets a “coin” to spend in the arcade.  The arcade has over 35 educational and strategic games to choose from.  You as a parent can set the coins to be able to be used right after they are earned, or just for weekends if you wish.  My children’s favourites are Dress Up 2, CivilBalls, Sandwich Maker, and Icicle.  I will warn you, Icicle is a very bizarre game, (it involves a naked cartoon character on a bicycle, of which you can’t see anything inappropriate of course) but my children love it and I can see why – it really makes them use their problem-solving skills and it’s a very challenging game.  My daughter gets so excited when she gets in the “100% Club” by doing quizzes and gets access to an “extra special game” not usually available in the arcade.  You should have seen my son work hard taking a Quiz over and over again until he got it perfect so he could get in the “100% Club” too 🙂  I asked them both which was their favourite subject on BigIQkids and they each answered, “math” – they actually enjoy the math drills!  Even though we’re Canadian, we like to spend time learning about our U.S. neighbours to the south, and the U.S. Geography is a great way to review what we’ve learned.

Big IQ Kids

If you like the sound of this program, go ahead and sign up for a free account now.  From the main page of the website, click on any of the programs you would like to try, i.e. spelling and then click on “Not a Member? Create a Free Account!” Just fill out the information to register.  You can also access quite a bit of the website without registering if you like.  If you love the free account and want more, you can try the Premium account free for 7 days.  For Premium Accounts, you can choose the entire program, including Spelling, Math, Vocabulary, and U.S. Geography, OR you can choose one, or more than one part “a la carte”.  Prices range from as low as $3.33 US per month for one subject, to as low as $8.88 US a month for the entire Premium program.  To see a full list of pricing options, click HERE.  I LOVE how affordable this program is!  There is a price point for every budget 🙂  Here is a video explaining the difference between Free and Premium Accounts:

To see how other families in the TOS Crew liked BigIQkids, click below:

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

 

 

Posted in Contests, Homeschool Events

World Math Day AND World Spelling Day – Register Now!

Once again, World Math Day is approaching…on March 1st!  We participate every year and my children have so much fun!  And not only do they drill their math skills in an extremely fun way, but they also learn about Geography and flags of the world just by competing with other students around the world.  There’s even a world map download on the site 🙂

World Math Day is free and a lot of FUN!  Register now and you can practice for the day on the site.
Join us in a celebration of numbers as students, both schooled and homeschooled, from around the globe unite in their quest to set a world record in answering mental arithmetic questions. Be a part of this great education event, whether you’re a teacher, parent, homeschooler, or student.  Now involving more than 2.5 million students from over 200 countries.
  • Brand NEW format.
  • Students take part in real-time math challenges using the using the Mathletics game engine.
  • Student play live with other students around the globe.
  • World Math Day is part of the World Education Games 2011.
  • Your students will love it! Be part of setting a Guinness World Record!
  • It will create an amazing buzz around Math.
  • Designed for all ages and ability levels.
  • Simple to register and participate. All you need is internet access.
  • Great prizes
  • And it?s absolutely FREE!!
  • This year you can participate on your iPhone, iPad, or iPad Touch too, with the World Maths Day 2011 app!

HURRY, registration closes Feb 28, 2011!
www.worldmathday.com

AND your registration on the World Math Day site also works for World Spelling Day!  I am so excited about World Spelling Day because we’re big spelling enthusiasts here in our home 🙂

World Spelling Day will be held on March 3rd, 2011.  Students play at home and at school against other students around the world in live spelling games. Each game lasts for 60 seconds and students can play up to 100 games, earning points for each correct answer. The students who answer the most questions appear in the Hall of Fame. Students can select their level and move up as they progress. There are 5 different levels of play, 20 games on each level.

Hurry, registration closes March 2nd, 2011!
www.worldspellingday.com

Enjoy!  You might see us taking part – look for “Hidden Hill Homeschool” 🙂

Love, Luck &
Laughter,