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The Teaching Home
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement

Number 32                                        March 28, 2003
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety.

Table of Contents

  • 15-Part Series on Basic Skills: Spelling
  •      Spelling Lessons & Lists
  •      Cross-Curricular Spelling Study
  •      Methods of Studying Spelling Words
  •      Other Spelling Helps
  • Recommended Resources
  •      Hands-On Bible Curriculum
  •      The Teaching Home Back Issues
  •      The Captain Magazine
  •      Whitefield College
  •      Timberdoodle Co.
  • Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote


         Much like Eliza Doolittle's speech in Pygmalion, your child's spelling can mark him as educated -- or not.

         This issue is packed full of suggestions and resources to make learning to spell easier for you and your child!

         May the Lord bless you and your family for His glory.

    Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
    The Teaching Home is a 22-year-old, home-school family business.

         Hands-On Bible Curriculum: Easy Preparation for You;
         Interesting, Fun, and Life-Changing for Your Children!

              Dramatically increase what your children learn,
         remember, and use, by actively involving them in the
         learning process -- using all their senses.
              Each Hands-On Bible lesson:
         * Focuses on one specific point for maximum retention
         and impact on your children's hearts and lives.
         * Uses a variety of activities and everyday objects to
         reinforce the message.
         * Gives children one life-applicable piece of Bible
         truth to remember and use in their daily lives.
         For more information or to download a free sample, see:

    15-Part Series on Basic Skills
    by Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

         Our 15-part series is written to help you evaluate your children's skill levels and help them improve in those areas. Topics are listed with the newsletter number in parenthesis. These can be viewed in our Newsletter Archives at

         1. Listening (#18)
         2. Word Analysis/Phonics (#19)
         3. Vocabulary (#21)
         4. Reading Comprehension: Knowledge (#23)
         5. Reading Comprehension (#25 & #26)
         6. Reading Comprehension: Analysis & Synthesis (#28)
              Reading Comprehension: Application (#29)
              Reading Comprehension: Evaluation (#30)
         7. Spelling (This Issue)
         8. Capitalization & Punctuation
         9. Grammar
         10. Writing & Penmanship
         11. Visual Materials
         12. Reference Materials
         13. Math: Concepts & Computation
         14. Math: Problem Solving
         15. Thinking Skills, Logic, and Speech

    Why Is Spelling Important?

         Good spelling comes naturally to some people, but can be a life-long struggle for others. Many brilliant people are bad spellers. So why should you teach your child to spell?

    * Poor spelling creates a bad impression and makes your child
         look ignorant, uneducated, or lazy.
    * Poor spelling can seriously affect your child's confidence.
    * Anxiety about spelling can inhibit your child's writing and
         limit his choice of words.
    * Spell checkers do not recognize errors caused by choosing the
         wrong homonym (there or their) or if the misspelling is a real
         word (college or collage).

         Buy Teaching Home Back Issues Online

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    Spelling Lessons & Lists

         Christian curriculums provide spelling programs with weekly spelling lists and activities appropriate for each grade level. You might also want to use these lists.

    Top 100 Most Commonly Used Words
         To boost your child's basic spelling, make sure he knows how to spell these words which make up about half of all reading and spelling:

    A: a, about, all, an, and, are, as, at
    B: back, be, been, before, big, but, by
    C: call, came, can, come, could
    D: did, do, down
    F: first, for, from
    H: had, have, he, him, his
    I: I, in, into, is, it
    J: just
    L: like, little, look
    M: made, make, me, more, much, must, my
    N: new, no, not, now
    O: of, off, old, on, one, only, or, other, our, out, over
    R: right
    S: said, see, she, so, some
    T: that, the, their, them, then, there, they, this, to, two
    U: up
    W: want, was, we, well, went, were, what, when, where,
    which, who, will, with
    Y: you

    Top 300 Most Commonly Used Words
         These make up 65% of written material.
    Top 1,000 Most Commonly Used Words
    Commonly Misspelled Words

    Your Child's Own Personal List
         This list is made up from the following:
    * Words that he has misspelled in his writing.
    * Words that he selects that he would like to learn how to spell.

    Free Online Spelling Lessons
    30-Lesson Spelling Course & Spelling Rules
    Everyday Spelling for grades 1-8
    Spelling Advice and Free Worksheets
    20 Lessons with 20 words per lesson for grades 1-12

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         From Preston Speed, the publishers of the G.A.Henty books.
         *Great stories from Henty, his contemporaries, modern authors.
         *History and culture study aides.
         *Reviews and recommendations. (570) 726-7844

    Cross-Curricular Spelling Study

         You can combine and/or reinforce several subject areas when studying spelling words.

    * Have your child practice writing his spelling words in his best

    Writing & Creative Thinking
    * Have your child write a sentence using one or more of his
         spelling words.
    * Have him write a paragraph or short story using all his
         spelling words.
    * The above assignment could require some very creative thinking
         to find relationships between the spelling words.

    Vocabulary Study
         For every spelling word, have your child:
    * Learn the meaning and perhaps the origin.
    * Know how to pronounce the word correctly.
    * Use the word in verbal communication.

    Other Subjects
    * Choose key words to learn from the content area of others
         subjects such as math, science, history, or Bible.

         Yes, You Can Earn Your College Degree at Home
              Study at home for your Bachelor degree in
         Christian Education, Bible, or Philosophy. We also have
         a program designed to better equip home schooling moms
         to teach. For information order or download your free
         Whitefield College catalog online.

    Methods of Studying Spelling Words
         There are many methods to choose from here. You might want to use several on a harder word or ask your child to choose which method he would like to use from word to word or time to time.

    Phonics & Reading
         One of the best ways to teach spelling is right along with reading.
    * Use your phonics lessons as spelling lessons by covering up new
         words after reading them and asking for the spelling. Repeat
         as needed.
    * Ask for the spelling of other words that contain the same
         sounds and spelling (e.g., night, right, light, bright).
    * Include the common spellings of vowel and consonant sounds
         including short and long vowels and blends.

    Spelling Rules
         Besides the specific phonics rules for spelling, the following need special attention:
    * Forming regular and irregular plurals of nouns.
    * Adding an ending to a verb.
    * Adding prefixes and suffixes.
    * I before E, except after C, or when it sounds like an A, as in
         "neighbor" and "weigh," plus the exceptions.
    * Adding -ible or -able.
    Purdue University Online Writing Lab

         Many spelling errors are due to incorrect pronunciation of the word.
    * Be sure your child knows the correct pronunciation.
    * Exaggerate a part of the word that is tricky.
    * Emphasize the wrong syllable or mispronounce the word so it
         sounds the way it is spelled.

    Syllables & Word Parts
         All good spellers break a word into smaller parts, making it easier to handle.
    * Break the work up into syllables (care-ful, hos-pit-al,
    * All syllables contain at least one vowel; some are only one
         letter -- a vowel.
    * Syllables usually follow the long/short vowel rules, so that
         you can spell each syllable separately like a short word.
    * Break the word up into sounds such as consonant and vowel
         blends (th-ank).
    * Learn common prefixes and suffixes and break them out of the

    Visualize the Word
    * Visualize the word in black, lower-case letters on a white
         background in front of you.
    * Break the word into groups of letters by syllables or phonetic
    * Say each letter slowly several times in a regular sing-song
         rhythm, all the time seeing the letter and pointing to it in its
         group or tracing it in the air.
    * Gain speed and practice spelling the word faster several times.

    * Draw a line under the tricky part of the word and concentrate
         on that bit.
    * Count the letters.
    * Find a word that rhymes with it if the spelling is the same.

    * Write the word over and over on paper.
    * Write the word with your finger in the air or in sand.
    * Trace over the letters with a finger several times, saying the
    * Type the word.
    * Spell the word with magnetic letters on the fridge door.

    See & Hear
    * Carefully look at the word and say it distinctly.
    * Cover the word.
    * Now write the word.
    * Check to see if it is correct.

         These might help with especially long or hard words or words that are exceptions to the normal phonics and spelling rules.
    * Invent memory devices to help remember the correct spelling of
         a word. (the vowels in spaghetti are in alphabetical order;
         t + here = there.)

         Timberdoodle Co., a Mailorder Homeschool Resource
              We emphasize hands-on learning, personal product
         reviews, and quality selections; enabling you to
         individually select products according to your children's
         interests, abilities, and learning styles.
         360-426-0672; fax 800-478-0672;

    Other Spelling Helps

    Play Spelling Games
    * Board games: Scrabble, UpWords, Boggle.
    * Pencil & paper: Hangman.
    * Online:

         To help your child see what he did correctly and where his difficulty is, correct his misspelled words by:
    * Crossing out incorrect letters.
    * Adding correct or missing letters.
    * Have your child write each word three or more times.

    Dictionaries & Spell Checkers
    * Make sure your child has easy access to a dictionary.
    * Get a spelling dictionary.
    * Get your child an electronic dictionary or spell checker which
    can guess at misspelled words to find the correct spelling.

    * Encourage your child to try new words and put in the words he
         wants to use, rather than those he knows he can spell.
    * Add misspelled words to his personal spelling list.

    Help Your Child To:
    * Develop an interest in words by talking about them with him.
    * Feel safe about trying new words without being criticized.
    * Write for his own enjoyment.
    * Read (a lot!) for pleasure.

         Your child should learn to spell homonyms, words that are pronounced alike but which are spelled differently and have different meanings. These are very conspicuous mistakes that a spell checker can not catch.
    * Here are a few common homonyms:
         knew - new; deer - dear
         Its, It's; Their, There, They're
         To, Too, Two; Your, You're
    240 sets of homonyms.
    Homonym tests.

    One or Two Words?
         These are a few examples of words that can be spelled as one or two words with different meanings:
         All ready/already; All right/alright
         All together/altogether; Any one/anyone
         Any way/anyway; A while/awhile
         May be/maybe

    American and British Spelling
         Your child should be aware that there are some differences, so that he does not think that a book printed in England (or U.S.A.) contains misspelled words.

    Spelling Links
    Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee
    Free PDF download of Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Prefixes,
         Suffixes, and Combining Forms.

         Please Thank & Support Sponsoring Advertisers!
              These free newsletters are made possible financially
         by the fine suppliers who advertise in them.
              Please remember those that have advertised in our
         last issue (below) as well as the ones in this issue.

         Music Works 4 Learning: Musical Multiples
         LingoHouse: Language Home for Kids!
         Cobblestone: Makes American History Come Alive
         7 Skills That Can Help Your Children Overcome Any Challenge

    Sunny Side Up
         Jeremy, our 4-year-old, asked me to do something with him. I told him I needed to think about it. After about 25 seconds he asked, "Have you thinked?"
         I said, "You mean thought."
         He responded, "Did you thought?"
         Sent by Tom Williams, B.C.
         You are also invited to submit your humorous anecdote.

    God Loves You.
         Because we were separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
         "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Eph. 2:8, 9).

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