OK, I toyed with the idea of calling this post
because it rhymes, but that title does not do justice to how much I love this program! “Review” always sounds so stale to me, so I thought I would just title this precisely the way I feel!
You heard me mention it back when I did the SpellQuizzer giveaway; however, I didn’t really tell you much about it except that SpellQuizzer meshes well with it. So, let me explain a bit about Phonetic Zoo itself, and hopefully, you’ll see why I LOVE this spelling curriculum!
Last year, my almost 10 year old son was struggling at spelling. Voracious reader. Horrible speller.
I happen to believe that spelling is important. I’d be one of those people who says poor spelling makes you look ignorant no matter how intelligent you are. I know there are people who struggle terribly with it and I am forever grateful for spellcheckers; however, you honestly have to have some basis of correct spelling or even the best spellchecker in the world won’t figure you out.
So, this child who speaks well, writes well, reads well, needed help.
Yet traditional spelling programs weren’t working. Sure, he could get the test right (eventually), but he wasn’t retaining a thing!
I’d all but given up when I got my Veritas Press catalog for the year. In it, they recommended Phonetic Zoo from Institute for Excellence in Writing. Now, I had heard Andrew Pudewa speak at a homeschool conference years ago, and I loved what he had to say about spelling, but I somehow missed the fact that he had actually created a spelling program.
Anyway, the review in Veritas Press convinced me this was worth a try even with the $100 price tag. I ordered the product, watched their Spelling & The Brain DVD that explained why this method works, and set my son loose with the curriculum. I immediately started seeing steady results and it has continued into this year! He is retaining the information. He is more confident in his ability to spell correctly. All this done with very little effort on my part. Spelling well without cramming it down his throat is worth $100 to me!
So, let me give you a quick run down of my favorite aspects of this curriculum:
*Independent learning – Very little is required of me. In fact, I no longer go over his words at all with him. He is entirely in charge of his learning.
*Auditory – My son uses the CD player and headphones. The CDs follow a pattern similar to spelling bees. My son hears the word, sees it in his mind, then writes it. The words are even checked orally, which solidifies that concept of letters being put into the correct order to form the word.
*Simple & Non-consumable – No workbooks. Let me just say that again…NO WORKBOOKS! As you see in the picture at the top of the post, there are some cards that introduce the child to the words and cards you can hand them as they finish each lesson, but these are non-consumable. The simplicity of it means I’m not storing and finding places on my school shelves for a monstrosity of a curriculum.
*Repetition of all words – The child must master the entire spelling list twice in a row before moving on. So often a curriculum lets them off the hook if they ever once get a word right. Speaking from past experience, that does nothing to cement the word into the child’s brain.
*No need to rush – Spelling levels are not age graded. You start at A no matter who you are. Each level can easily last longer than a school year. When A is complete, you move to B. No one thinks you are behind. It is truly a go-at-your-own-pace curriculum.
I’ll be honest. This was the first time I purchased something for school and immediately sighed with relief. It was perfect and I am so glad I went ahead and bought it!
OK, your turn! What piece of curriculum have you purchased that was a sigh of relief to your homeschool?