Making your own spelling program for nearly independent study

11 Apr

Spelling can be one of the easiest classes to administer in your homeschooling.

Here are tips on how I structure my spelling classes to make them virtually run by themselves, freeing you up with more time.


1.    Get your word list.

On the TJ main site’s Spelling Page, I have some links to spelling lists by the grade from the ‘net.  If those don’t tickle your fancy, just google “x grade spelling lists” and there are many to be found or you can take words from   your child’s reading/literature that you are reading for English, or use words from other classes that your student is studying but has misspelled or make up your own based upon a phonics outline.

  1. Make your schedule for the whole list, laying it out on a calendar. 

We currently spend two days per list; the third day is for the test and then we start a new list.  The kids cross off the days on the calendar so they (and you) can see their progress.

  1. Make up a generic spelling cover sheet.  (This is the BIG idea)

This is a sheet which lists all the assignments for the list/lesson.  By making it generic, you can just print out and use the same sheet for all lessons.

Make up separate sheets for each grade level so you can tailor the assignments to fit the skill level.

Here’s what our cover sheet for second grade level contains. At the end of the post , I have created a link to it if you’d like to use it.

To make the sheet work for all lessons, I leave some blanks so I can put in list specific activities:


Tasks for Lesson  #________

Class 1

A.   qTake pretest. Correct it and write any misspelled words on your Misspelled List in your binder.

B.   qGo over rules and word meanings with teacher or _________.

C.   qRead the sentences I’ve (teacher) made that contain with the words.

D.   qPut the words in ABC order in your notebook.

E.   qSort words by ________________________  and ____________________

F.    qWrite misspelled words in stair steps 5 or ___ times each

G.   qWord Search

H.   qUnscramble

Class 2

I.      qReview (spell orally or write words from this list plus some from past lists and those from misspelled list that your teacher dictates.)

J.    qPlay riddle game with meaning clues. (or give a crossword puzzle)

K.   q Fill in the blank with the correct spelling word.


L.    qHomework: Write each word in a sentence (younger students (or those which have trouble composing) can  just copy your sentences from day one)


You must:


1.  Use ________________ as the theme for your sentences.

2.   _____________________________________________


(this second underline contains an activity which links the sentences to a current grammar topic being studied or review; for example, circle all the nouns in the sentences you wrote.)


 (Correct the sentences the same day and have student make corrections).


Class 3

M.   Take test (give words and your sentences)

N.   Start next lesson unless more practice is needed.


On the last day of each week or on the weekend, give a simple proofreading activity—(optional) or incorporate it into the main lessons.

Execution Tips

At the beginning of each lesson, I give a pretest (the older kids can administer this) as per the coversheet. I then go over the list with them, review or teach the phonics/list concept with them, make sure they know the meanings (but again, an older student can help with this).

Then, I give them their own printed copy of the list (to use with the activities) and send them off on their own. If they have questions, they come ask. As they complete the activities, they check them off on the cover sheet. The letters by the task or what the student uses to head their papers  which makes it easier for me to correct. [ I require headings (name, date, and topic/page number (page numbers are for other classes) to help keep the student’s writing neat and organized, insha Allah.] If a task will not be assigned for a list, I just cross it off before given coversheet to student.

And that’s it for carrying out spelling class!


Planning Tips:

After making the cover sheet, the only prep that is needed now is to prepare any activities which vary from list to list, examples:


·      Word searches/unscrambles/crossword puzzles.

·      Sentences for reading, fill in the blanks.

You can knock several lessons’ word searches/unscrambles, etc out at one time, insha Allah. They have word search and other puzzle makers free, online, and you can just copy and paste your words from your electronic word list to make many puzzles at one sitting.

Sit down one day and write sentences/ fill in the blanks for many lessons or, better yet, give this task to older students when they are bored and have nothing to do.  You can provide review for them by having them to tell you the parts of speech of each word in the sentence, or the predicate, subject, etc.


Download TJ’s sample Second Grade Coversheet



You can use the coversheet idea for other classes as well, insha Allah to help older students be more independent, providing structure when they are off on their own or structure for your teacher led classes to make them run more smoothly.

Insha Allah, in future posts,  I’ll provide examples of coversheets that I have made for classes other than spelling.

(I call it a coversheet because my kids file it in their binder and it goes before all the work for that lesson).

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