Thursday, January 20, 2011

Practicing with your kids and ideas for homeschoolers

My husband and I still talk about homeschooling our son on a regular basis. I realize that the time is going to fly and we will have to make decisions about what to do rather quickly! I did not want to wait to figure out where to find support for homeschooling, so I joined a homeschooling group (by way of the internet) that meets up and includes parents from around Pittsburgh.

The group is called PALs. Today, a woman presented a problem that she was having with her son. She was looking for some ideas on how to teaching him spelling in a more kinetics (or it seemed more like she just wanted something that didn't involve constant paper and pencil) way. I got really excited! I have always loved the challenge of finding a way to help a child bring out their best at school. I thought that some of my readers might be interested in some new ideas about ways that they can help to bring out the best in their child.

Here are some of the ideas that I suggested:

~Use songs that your child knows to remember how spell words....
For example...a word with 5 letters you can use the BINGO song.
There is word that I can spell
And that word is Mom-my

I did a quick google and got a list of songs for different words. Here's just a quick link:
The awesome thing about this is that you can start using songs that even your younger children know and they will likely catch on to the spelling, simply because trying to learn just about anything is easier if you have a song to help you.

~You can also have your child use his body to make letters. Let him be creative....making some of the letters could be very interesting (I did this with a small group of something like a Z would take 3 children to create, but see what your child comes up with)

~Using letter manipulatives can also be helpful. Something like magnet letters that your child can move around on a cookie sheet is helpful.

~You can practice spelling words in shaving cream or put salt or rice into a pan and write the letters into the media. For younger children, you can skip the spelling and do this with letters or shapes. Shaving cream sounds like it is going to be messy, but once it foams up, it starts to disappear so the mess is minimal.

~I bought a cheap set of alphabet rubber stamps that I used in my classroom to let kids make words. Some kids like to be able to use the ink and stamps while creating their words.

~Using something like dry noodles to create letters could help practice. Again, for a younger child, they could use the noodles to make shapes, numbers, or practicing single letters.

~Of course, as a My Smart Hands Instructor, (but really as a person that is still amazed that her 2 year old is still signing) I think that signing spelling words would be helpful.

~Also, a great idea for older kids is using comics to help improve their writing. Find a comic strip and black out the words, then let your child write in whatever they want. I have found this is a huge motivator for older boys!

~Does your son like video games? Get him a magazine subscription to something like Nintendo Power and let him write to the editor once a month.

~If your child is into something else, maybe....trains, have them go to the Science Center and interview one of the guys that work in the train area. Your child will have to write a list of questions ahead of time. Then, maybe record their answers on a recording device (if you think that will be easier and cause less anxiety). Then, have him write it up like a Q and A in a magazine.

~I have also recently found a number of blogs that home schooled children are writing as a way to improve their writing skills. Their parents are kind of the owners of the blog, but the kids get to say their piece. I think that's really interesting!

I used to love to think of different ways to motivate kids. What are some ideas that you have? If you try any of my ideas, I would LOVE to hear how it worked out for you!


  1. I taught first grade and have a few ideas that my kiddos enjoyed. Some include writing, but in a bit of a fun way.
    Pyramid words... say your word is word,
    have the student write them in this way, forming half of a pyramid. It's much funner that way.
    Rainbow words... You write the words (fairly large) on a sheet of paper and let the child used many different crayons to trace. You end up with words that look very much like a rainbow.
    Cheer... Find a body movement to go with each letter of the word. For example, W - punch the air in front of you, O - wiggle your body, R - run in place, D - do a little dance. It's a lot of fun, especially if mom is doing it as well!
    My favorite way to teach spelling/reading in the early years is to use letter tiles. Give them only the letters they need for a few word families. Start with the word family sound, for example "am." Have them find the letters that make the sounds in "am." Then work your way around making lots of other "am" words like sam, ham, jam, etc. Then, switch it up. If you ended on jam, ask them to change jam so that it will be jar. So much fun and working with letter tiles makes it easier than writing. For great letter tiles, simply write the letters on index cards or purchase the (rather fabulous) game bananagrams.
    Longest comment in the history of the world, huh?!

  2. great ideas!! we taught our kids to spell their names with the "Bingo" song. worked like a charm

  3. Love your idea about the BINGO song to learn other words! :)