SP - (Sp. Power) - Instructions are in MFW guides (and here)

Copywork, Cursive, Dictation, Grammar, Handwriting, Letter Writing, Memory Work, Narration, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Vocabulary, & Writing (many of these topics apply to other subjects such as Bible, History, and Science)
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SP - (Sp. Power) - Instructions are in MFW guides (and here)

Unread post by tiffany »

Just wanted to let you know how great Spelling Power is working for us. We've been using it for 4-6 weeks now and my daughter (age 10) loved it from the beginning and still loves it! My daughter is by no means a natural speller. So the program is definitely successful. She rarely needs to repeat a missed word. After the study portion, she almost always gets it right on the next test day. She even did well on the review test.

I'm really impressed and so pleased that I didn't spend my time on a different program.

According to MFW you only need to read the quick start section, not the whole teacher section. Whew! But I had trouble concentrating on even the quick start instructions. I purchased the quick start video. [editor's note: this video now comes with your SP manual ] They actually show a student sitting down going through the program step by step. I plan to loan it out to other people when they start the program just to make it a more worthwhile investment.

Just thought this might be helpful to those of you making final decisions about spelling.
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Unread post by LSH in MS »

Robin Melissa wrote:How excellent that it is working so well for you!

We have had both Spelling Power and the Supplemental cards on our shelf for a few years (blush) without using it because I was so totally overwhelmed by it and just felt like I was totally missing the point. Am I just making it seem harder than it needs to be? I honestly read the instructions and thought...what did I just read? LOL.

I do plan to use it next year...3 versions of Spelling Workout is too confusing, costly and not as effective as I would like.

Did I read somewhere that MFW has instructions on how to use this program without getting lost in the "instructions"? Or does it come with Spelling Power if you buy it from MFW?
The Teacher's manuals for MFW have it all laid out for you. The first 3 weeks you do handwriting review, then you start SP. They tell you what to read when and what to do each day until you complete the whole sequence. Then you just repeat it over and over with the new levels. I didn't read anything except what the Hazells told me to.

I've also adapted it a little for my son. He hates to miss words. He wants to get them all right the first time. I told him if he did that we wouldn't need the book! Anyway, I think he's just getting used to a new program. I don't want to change programs because it gets pricey to buy workbooks for all of your children every year.


wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years
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Unread post by kellybell »

J_Mom wrote:This is so encouraging to hear! We are seriously considering Spelling Power for next year but I was scared because I have heard stories of how overwhelming the program and instructions can be initially. Ds is a horrible speller and the programs we have been using just aren't working for him. I hope that Spelling Power will help with that! Thanks for sharing your good experience with SP!!

Spelling Power CAN be overwhelming in two ways, both totally preventable. The instructions to the parent are really ... huge. Read the MFW manuals and go with that. Later, after you're comfortable with SP, one night when you are having a tough time falling asleep, read the SP instructions!

It also can get overwhelming if it moves too fast for the student such as it might for a younger, poor speller. There are a few things that you can do to prevent kiddo-burnout:

1. Make an agreement with the child that as soon as he misses five (whatever number you pick) words, you quit reading the list for the day. If the student understands this, he doesn't fear having a dozen words to learn that day!

2. Remind the child often that SP is different than other spelling programs he might've done in school where there's a list on Monday and a test on Friday and studying in between. My dd (who came from a school using traditional spelling tests) got frustrated when she missed words. I had to remind her often that she DIDN'T study the words beforehand and we were trying to find out what words she needed to learn and that she could work on the word long enough to learn it right.

3. Keep track of missed words if you feel that they are not sinking in and review them. The book has built in review but it doesn't hurt to add more if your child needs it.

Once you get through the first week or so of Spelling Power you'll find it's a nice option. The kids only bother learning words that they miss, which is better than workbooks where you have to do fill-in-the-blanks, crosswords, alphabetizing, etc. of words they already know how to spell.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
Tracey in ME
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Unread post by Tracey in ME »

Posted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 4:19 pm

Spelling Power isn't hard. The book seems overwhelming if you read a ton of it, but not if you just go through the Quick Steps. Basically, the way you use Spelling Power is give a first "overall/general spelling knowledge" test to see what grade level your child is probably at. Then, you give another/shorter test to fine-tune the first one. Then, you start working on the words that your student qualifies for. Your student won't ever have to work on words he already knows (which is how other spelling programs work). I've been homeschooling for 6 years and this is our first year (in fact, it's only our 2nd week) using Spelling Power.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:30 am

If you are using Adventures or up then Marie will tell you exactly the pages you need to read to get started with Spelling Power, or now with the new edition the CD-ROM to watch. You do not have to read the entire book. The book is mostly list of words, so think of them like all the spelling grade levels you will ever use in one big book.

Also just to let those of you who have not used MFW long know that, in year 2 you spend a day each week working on dictionary skills. So that is included eventually. This is done in the context of vocabulary study of words with Greek roots.

Do I switch to a new list on the same day?

Unread post by cbollin »

Mercy wrote:Ok, so my questions...
~I give the daily test, then once we hit (I'm thinking 3 words), we stop. Then, I begin the next day where I left off. Before I give that test, I give the spelling rule. What happens when I move into a new level in the middle of the daily test? Will I say the new rule?? What if, there is only two words left in the test for that rule that day?
Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:14 pm

First, don’t get too overwhelmed with the SP book itself. The MFW teacher’s manual walks you through it. Watch the quick start DVD too. I think it will answer some of what you need to know.

When you give the daily test, you go for 5 minutes. They will study the words they don’t know. Most lists for the early groups are small enough to handle. If you follow the steps of Spelling Power, it will come together. If might be 3 words that they study or it might be more. Stop no later than 5 minutes of "daily testing".

Remember that during the daily test the procedure is:
*teacher calls out the word, gives quick sentence,
*student writes the word
*immediately checks the word letter by letter than the teacher calls out
if it is wrong, student makes one line across the wrong spelling and in the right hand column the students writes the word correctly while teacher calls it out letter by letter.
*move to next word

Then the 10 step study is done with all words that were wrong (i.e. in the right hand column).

What happens when you move into a new level in the middle of the daily test? Well, I don’t do that. If we hit the end of a phonics rules and it is still time in the 5 minutes, we study just those words and do an extra minute or two of an activity with the other words. But I try to avoid teaching two rules in one day EXCEPT on review day. But not for regular work. Others might have better ideas on it. I think that might be discussed in the quick start DVD. ??? I decided not to .
Mercy wrote: ~ Also, since my son is eight, would it be so bad to start in the very beginning, even if he's testing a little bit higher? Maybe it's the perfectionist in me, but I'd love to know that we went through the entire book and learned every word there is to learn. I know, I'm neurotic like that. :-)
Given his age, be sure to read the section called Using Spelling Power with younger students.

If you start at a level that is below what he would place into, you’ll find that you’ll zip through that level. Some of the earliest lessons in level A will be easy. I think it helps with the initial training time for mom and student when some of the words are easy but done at the right placement level.

The big idea in SP is to learn words that you don’t know. My child places into a level, but may not know every word that was on the previous level and that’s ok. Given your son's age, he should be in A or B level or possibly C if he is a natural born super genius speller. :) Let’s say he tested into B. If you start with A to get a feel for the program and find that you zip through the first 10 lessons in about 10 days, you may not quite learn the ropes of the 10 step study method. There will be some words in A that are reviewed and repeated in level B.

On the other hand, if he places into B and you work in B, you may find that there will be words in the first 5-10 lessons that are easy and a few here and there that need to be learned. But you’ll have the benefit of practicing those 10 steps. In other words, the beginning of each levels is easier.

I’d watch the quick start DVD
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Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:00 pm

You are right, it IS cumbersome and confusing at first. BUT, it falls into place and soon you can do it blindfolded (well, okay, maybe not).

When I read the words to her, first I read the missed words from the day before, then I continue with the new words that we've not had before. When she misses a word, I lightly circle it in pencil and keep it circled until she gets it right. I also lightly draw a line after the last word I read the day before to show me where to start. I keep a bookmark in the SP book for each of the children.

After reading yesterday's missed words, I remind her of the rule we are in and maybe we'll talk about it and I'll read new words to her.

I read words until she either misses four (our magic number, but three is good too, you know) or until we've filled up a column of words in our cheap-o spiral notebook. Some days, she misses no words, other days she hits the magic four words in about 10 words total.

When we start a new section, I just say "here's a new list and here's the rule." If it's a rule she knows, we don't bother writing it down. If it is a new or complicated rule, we'll write it down right where we are.

If we finish a section before we hit four missed words and before we hit the bottom of the page, then sometimes we just call it a day and save the new list for the next day.

When we have just a few words left, we finish the list and then we start the next list, quitting when she hits the bottom of her page in her notebook or when she misses four words. We might work out of one list or we might work out of two lists, defining them as we encounter them. If it suggests one rule per day (and not finish up this rule and start that rule), then it's probably good to do just that. Since I've not read the instructions in a long time, I probably am not doing SP exactly "by the book."

Yes, the big pretest does a pretty good job in placing kids in the right level but I have seen here and elsewhere moms that think their kid happened to place a bit high. So, there is a chance that if you do the placement tests, your child COULD be placed a bit higher than you think he should be.

What you could do is skip the placement tests and start in level A and call out words you aren't sure he knows, skipping those you know he already knows (because he writes them correctly in sentences, etc.). It's okay, IMO, to have kids work at a slightly lower level (a greatly lower level is a waste of time though) because then they feel pretty good about how they are doing and can succeed at something new. That way, they'll get the hang of it doing easy work.

On the other hand, I hate wasting time and I've had good experiences with three of my kiddos (the fourth hasn't started SP yet) taking the placement tests. You can trust the placement test to place your child pretty close to where your child belongs and then if you see he's breezing through lists (or struggling!) then YOU can "be the mom" and place him in the right level if the placement test wasn't too accurate.

Don't worry about your child "missing" words in a lower level if he places higher. If there IS a word on a lower level, surely you'll see it sometime or another in his daily writing and you can correct him then. Also, as he learns more difficult words, he will naturally "catch" the easier words that are related to the harder words.
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Unread post by Mercy »

kellybell wrote:I have an idea that once you just use SP a week or so, you'll feel comfortable with it and then after you've used it a month, you'll have your own (slightly modified?) routine down.
Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:53 am

Yep, I think that's it. One of the things I love about this book is that there is so much. Really! It has taught me so many things about how children learn and has given me some really great ideas. It's more than just a spelling book...it's a teachers educational book I think too.

I like that there is a reason behind every single step. She really thought through the whole thing!

Anyway, I think you're right. That's the best thing about homeschooling, you can tailor it directly to your circumstances. :-)

Thanks again,
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Do we review missed words on a daily basis

Unread post by TriciaMR »

ShanMom wrote:I know I saw the answer to this somewhere on the board, but I can't seem find it. My question is regarding reviewing missed words. Do we review missed words on a daily basis, or review once a week?
The way it works for us each day:

Start with the words they missed yesterday. If she misses all 3 again, then we are done. Then go on to the "new words" until we miss 3 words or our 5 minutes are up. Then, I help her "study" (use the 10 steps of Spelling Power) the 3 missed words.

If it is Monday, we start with ALL words we missed last week. (Sometimes this takes us the whole 5 minutes). Any words missed are studied again and tested Tuesday. If she misses 3 of those words, we stop. (Studying more than 3 words a day is too much for my dd.)

On Fridays after our "daily spelling routine", we review/study all the words missed that week to help prepare for Monday's review test.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
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Julie - Staff
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Spelling Fears

Unread post by Julie - Staff »

ShanMom wrote:I know you are all going to try to convince me to use Spelling Power, but it just looks overwhelming to me. I also don't know if I honestly have time to "teach" spelling. I know for sure, I do not have time to do any extra games. It sounds like many of you make changes to the program. Please advise!
Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:42 pm
Author: cbollin

If your child isn't in 3rd grade and at least 8 years old, maybe Spelling Power isn't right. Even if you call her 3rd grade, make sure she is 8 years old. And even then if you use Spelling Power with a young child, you should take Spelling Power's advice and follow the modified for younger kids use. Very easy. Start with level A and follow the instructions to make a dictionary of the spelling words.

For using Spelling Power for age 9 or up, get the quick start DVD. It's not that hard to use. Also the MFW teachers' manual walks you through it so it isn't hard. Remember that a lot of the book provides detailed instructions on how to do the placement test. And much of the book is reference. And it contains spelling lists for all grade levels through high school.

The main tweak that I make --- I don't do the pre-test with the list. One child studies everything on the list. The other one does an out loud spelling "pre test", but just says "I'll study that one" for the ones that she isn't sure of. That's it.

As for the 5 minutes of games with spelling words, you don't have to do those if you don't want to. Some people skip them. Some people choose one or two very easy games and just use them over and over for a while. Those games don't have to be done every day :)


Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:51 pm
Author: Momto3princesses

I used spelling power off and on last year. It took me a long time to get into any sort of rhythm with it, but I'm feeling more confident this year.

I think the key is to consistently use it. I jumped around a lot and tended to let spelling take a back seat to the other subjects. As a result my 11 year old daughter's spelling is not up to par. My daughter is motivated by moving through the book and completing sections, so I plan to use that more this year with rewards.

Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:10 am
Author: Toni@homezcool4us

I used it this past year exactly as instructed. No problems what-so-ever. It wasn't hard to learn (Marie addresses it in the TM of ECC), nor to apply. Spelling only took us about 5-10 minutes. The "hardest" part was going through the testing to see where my dd should start. The thing is, it wasn't hard at all. It just required me to proceed sequentially through several tests to decide placement. Tedious would be a better word for my placement tests experience. Otherwise, both dd and I enjoy SP and she looks forward to spelling time.

Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:06 am
Author: TurnOurHearts

Like Toni, we've used SP very successfully this year & just tweaked it a bit to suit my son's perfection issues.

We saw a DRAMATIC change in his state testing scores on spelling this year! :D WOO-HOO!!! And we never spent more than 10 minutes per day on spelling (using Marie's suggestions & the QuickStart DVD). I had SERIOUS SP anxieties before we started (that's one big, intimidating book!), but I'm so glad I stuck with it. Each family is different ~ but we've been very pleased with the short lessons & effectiveness of SP. :)
Jenn in NC
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Re: Spelling Power Woes

Unread post by Jenn in NC »

dorenekimberly wrote:I'm wondering if I'm the only person who gets extremely stressed just looking at Spelling Power! I bought it last fall to do with my 3rd grader (ECC) and I was so overwhelmed and confused just trying to read the directions on how to implement the program. I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, but I never even started using it. So for this year, I have been taking words that I see my son misspells in his writing, as well as taking words from lists such as the top 500 used words.

My questions: Is anyone using Spelling Power in a more simplified way that also does a good job of teaching spelling? Am I the only one who feels this way about the program, as I know it is a very popular and successful spelling program.

It is a pretty hefty book. I understand.

Wondering if you have tried following the more simple start-up directions in the first few weeks of your TM? My ECC manual is packed away in the depths of my closet but I will go try to dig it out and get you an exact week that it starts. Usually after the handwriting review.

...Ok, got my manual... don't know if you are interested in giving Spelling Power another try or not but weeks 3 & 4 of your ECC manual will guide you in implementing Spelling Power pretty much day-by-day. See Monday's notes on week 3 and then just do each day what the notes tell you and before you know it you're off and running.
mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
completed K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CTG and RTR
2009--2010 Enjoying Exploration to 1850

Re: Spelling Power Woes

Unread post by cbollin »


Are you using the 4th edition of SP? I found it was organized better than 3rd edition.

MFW's manuals give walk through instructions on trimming SP down to the basics. Jenn mentioned which weeks to look in. That's the case in all of the manuals (except for K and 1st of course). I would go step by step with the MFW manual directions first.

Are you using the Quick Start DVD? I thought that by watching the DVD cleared up most questions for me.

Most of SP book is helping to get you placed in the so called right level. So, a lot of the quick start stuff is just designed to get your children in the right placement.

You might enjoy looking through a website known as the Paula Archives for hints on Spelling Power.

I know I tweaked SP a lot in terms of grouping the words together within a group list so that we only studied /ea/ words and then /ee/ words when studying the long e sound.

I stopped using the "pre test". The purpose of the pre test for each group was to eliminate words that were too easy. But honestly, my kids didn't mind doing longer lists when some of the words they already knew.

Instead of SP's method of "inductive" study, I taught directly. For example, on a review test, my child would over-think a word such as "black" and spell it "blak" even though she knew the word. The group rule that was studied for that word was of course short a. Well, SP seems to have the student and parent pause at that point to figure out that it should "ck" after a short vowel instead of just "k". That's one way that SP tries to help teach multiple rules --- you think you got the word, then a few days later, you're tripped up, then you "catch the weasel" and learn the rule. Some of the rules are directly stated, I do need to say that, it is not like that for all rules. But I know a lot of people don't like to figure it out, or may not know the exact rule. Some things are assumed that the teacher learned the rules while teaching phonics and how to read and that the teacher will pull those experiences along side SP even if it is not directly stated.

Most of SP is easy to use once you are past the one time placement tests. The hard part of SP is step 2 of the 10 step study. That is when you must help your child "catch the weasel" that made them miss the word (such as blak in my example above.) At that point, SP becomes one of the most personalized programs out there because it will help you to see what little things your child is struggling with.

I like the word lists over the years. so, I have my woes with SP, but also like it and didn't find it hard to do.

another nice thing in the SP that I forgot to ramble on about.... there are a lot of helps and hints in the book for times when your child gets stuck on a review or delayed recall test. So there are lots of teaching tips and how to adjust and such. So, don't overlook those parts of the book too. A lot of the early part of book is placement, then lots of lists (from grade 3-adult), then lots of helps and hints to help your child. But many of those hints, I didn't read until it was needed. I was able to get started without reading the whole book.

Spelling Power- Help!!!

Unread post by cbollin »

doubleportion wrote:I'm trying to start spelling power with dd. We've gotten through the survey test, the placement test and I have looked at a sample of her writing. She placed in level B, but based on her sample writing she needs to do from A-13 on to really fill in the gaps. sooo. . . I assume I am to start her at level A group 1. I have been reading through the spelling power manual and feel like my head is smoking from the information!!! I have read the sections suggested in the MFW TM but I still don't get how this whole first week is going to pan out.

So my question is- do you pretest and then do 10 step study every day? Do you do these two things to infinity? I have an older used 3rd edition (hence no dvd) with the black lined masters in the back. I hate wordy manuals and this one takes the cake. I am very visual and all this blahblah is giving me brain cramp! Just give it to me straight ya'll!!!

For a long set of reasons..... we ended up dropping the pretest most of the time. (even doing the immediate correction step, didn't help....)

If you start with level A, group 1, you'll have plenty of time to get some practice runs with the program as it will be easier.

before getting too started in Spelling Power, go to week 4 of your MFW manual and read the "monday notes" for how to use a composition notebook and fold the paper and all of that.

1. for about 5 minutes, you "test the list"
set a timer for 5 minutes.
Start with group list number 1.
Have mom call out the word.
student spells the word on paper (or says, I don't know mom, please let me study that one.)
immediately check the word by calling out each letter, student "self checks it".
if right, go to next word
if it is wrong, student gently puts one line through the wrong spelling and immediately spells it correctly on the space next to it, on the right side of the paper
go to next word
when you hit the 5 minute mark, stop calling out words on list.
if they miss too many in a row before the 5 minutes, then stop sooner. How much is too many? Let's just say 5 for now.

When I dropped the pre testing, we changed these 5 minutes to just dictating the words to eliminate the try your best aspect.

2. For the next 5 minutes do the 10 step thing (in theory, this is only with words that were missed. in my house, we did a fixed number of words on the list based on my idea of how much my kid needed). walk through it with them the first couple of times.
With the list that is on the "right side of the paper", you study those words by the 10 steps.
Those ten steps involve uses several teaching methods: hearing, talking, touching, review and correction.
Check the week 4 appendix notes for a very understandable version of the steps.

For a child who is young, let them fill in words in sentences that you write.

If you don't understand the "study this word step": there is a common way to do that called "catch the weasel" That's a term used on "paula's archives modified study sheet"
the weasel is probably the part of the word that tripped you up and may be a spelling rule that is not the exact one you are studying at that moment.

3. do fun activity for 5 more minutes. That was the hard part for me to figure out. I got caught up in the reading of the manual.
choose 1 or 2 from the list of the first 25 options of activities (*that's based on the age of your child on that)
make it easy on you.

check out the extra notes starting in week 4 of your MFW manual for some helps on the spelling notebook.

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Re: Spelling Power- Help!!!

Unread post by doubleportion »

cbollin wrote:before getting too started in Spelling Power, go to week 4 of your MFW manual and read the "monday notes" for how to use a composition notebook and fold the paper and all of that.

I read it before posting this.

We are on week 4 this week. We are already behind for this week thanks to my inability to grasp this multi step process. I was actually going to just use the spelling power student book and/or copies of the black lined masters for the the Daily tests and 10 step study.

Do you do spelling like this every day? monday through friday? Is there ever any other steps, accept when you finish the year?

There just seems so much information to process, even when just reading through the TM suggested sections. I never thought teaching spelling would be this complicated!!!
Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Spelling Power- Help!!!

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Amy C. wrote:I am soooo glad you posted this. I almost posted the same thing a few days ago after reading my Spelling Power manual. I read the 12 step part of the manual like it suggested and my brain hurt. I do have the fourth edition so I got the dvd with it. I watched it on another night and really wasn't feeling too much better about it.
Have you guys got an MFW manual? MFW tells you "today do this" -- I'd try just doing that one step without thinking about all the rest. Did you already try that?

Last edited by Julie in MN on Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
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Amy C.
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Re: Spelling Power- Help!!!

Unread post by Amy C. »

Julie in MN wrote:Have you guys got an MFW manual? MFW tells you "today do this" -- I'd try just doing that one step without thinking about all the rest. Did you already try that?
Yes, I have a MFW manual, but admittedly, I have not looked at it for Spelling Power directions. Somewhere, and maybe it was the MFW manual, I read to read the 12 Quick Steps in the Spelling Power manual before getting started so that is where I started - the Spelling Power manual. I thought reading the manual and watching the DVD would tell me how the program works. It does, but in an overwhelming way. I will try looking to my MFW manual for daily instructions and see if that helps. I was just hoping that I could get a grip on it before starting school since it is a new program for us. I guess I need the MFW TM to help me get a grip on it.

I know that the author spent a lot of time and energy researching and writing this book. I know that it came from her heart to help her daughter (and subsequently others) to learn spelling. That makes sense not to look at the whole book at once and to break it down in pieces using the MFW TM as help. I hope that after using Spelling Power this coming year that I can come back and post a totally different opinion about it and help others like you all are helping us.

Amy C.

Re: Spelling Power- Help!!!

Unread post by cbollin »

agreeing with Julie. The manual in MFW walks you through it so that it's less complicated that we tend to make it. It really helps to do one step at a time without having an expectation of everything else to be done. I think if someone tries to wrap her/his mind around the whole program at once that person should expect to feel overwhelmed.

*FIRST, watch the DVD with the expectation of having overview of the whole thing. But not necessarily having a full grasp on the details.

*Now go back and watch parts of the DVD with the book open. Read the section first, watch the video, and then try it yourself. Ask your dh to be the teacher and you do it together. Give yourself a trial run of the program.

it's just like anything that you pick up a set of instructions. You have to do Step 1, step 2. and then next thing you know you've built a telescope or taken it apart. Don't try to understand the whole thing at once. When you do it step by step, it will make sense.

The biggest "problem" in SP, is that the author really has a heart to help with all kinds of teaching ideas and she gives too much information to try to help you with every possible thing that your child might encounter and she provides solutions for it. So, you learn to ignore those parts until you need them. But at least know they are in the manual. It's a lot like my posts.

you can skip the placement sections and start at either A, B, or C level depending on your child's age. I thought that was the hardest part of the program to get-- the placement. I think that is the greatest "fault" of the program -- it over refines the placement process. If your child is borderline between levels, go with the lower level and skip the other testing.

Do one step at a time. You'll be surprised at just how quickly the routines click with you and your children.
say it out loud while looking at the word
write it in the air, check
write it in the salt, check
write it on the paper, check
next word.
and check out some quick tips on Paula's archives


Re: Spelling Power- Help!!!

Unread post by cbollin »

doubleportion wrote:I read it [MFW manual] before posting this.

We are on week 4 this week. We are already behind for this week thanks to my inability to grasp this multi step process.

I don't think you are "behind" ;) You're being very hard on yourself on this. If you are on week 4, and haven't started a spelling list, then you are on track.

let me make it less complicated: just put behind you all of process of the placement test. If you have a 3rd grader starting SP, look at Levels A B and C. pick the lowest one that makes sense for your child. better to use a lower level and learn the program and go through the steps quicker. there. we just made it easier by dropping the placement test for kids entering 3rd grade. They shouldn't be "higher" than C due to age and length of lists. My opinion.

I had a suggestion buried in my long answer. Let me rephrase it.
Just try to do the program out loud with pencil and paper in hand. you don't have to grasp the whole thing in order to start. Did my 3 bullet points help at all?

It's ok to do it as a trial run with the student.
Use a group number that isn't necessarily going to be hard for your child.
and tell your child -- we're doing this together to learn the process.

Last edited by cbollin on Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spelling Power- Help!!!

Unread post by doubleportion »

Thank you!! Your break down has helped me allot to visualize it.

I'll just do the steps and act it out as I go and hopefully it will click. I think it looks like a really good program. The educational theory behind it I really like (coming from a BE myself, I get that part). Thanks for the encouragement. I guess I was whining a bit. Had a rough weekend thanks to some yellow jackets attacking ds. Thankful that the Lord kept him from having a life threatening reaction, but it was pretty scarey for a while there as we watched his face swell up.

I think I will give it this week and weekend for me to work through the first parts of the program myself and start off next week where we would have started for week 4.

ECC 2nd Edition TM has instructions for both editions written step by step. The 3rd edition notes are in parenthesis. Thankfully didn't have any problems there.

Thanks again for all the input. Now on to get schooling and coffeeeeeeeee.

Update: Posted Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:31 pm by doubleportion
I found the program overwhelming at first but now that we are using it is really allot easier than it appears when you first look at the TM.

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Re: Spelling Power- Help!!!

Unread post by TriciaMR »

I bought the DVD from CastleMoyle (I think that's what their company is called), and the "teacher helps" - it has all the black line masters from the back of the book on it. Those do help.


[editor's note: The Teacher’s Resource CD-ROM is now included in current SP manuals purchased from MFW. However, the purchase information may be helpful for those with older editions of Spelling Power. ]
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
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spelling power - talk me through it please!

Unread post by TriciaMR »

SarahP wrote:OK, so I read through the Spelling Power instructions and my face slowly started to cave into my brain. So please help me make sure I have this right.

First I give the test (A or B) and once my son has misspelled 3-5 words in a row(or in close proximity) then we stop. We determine how many he got correct and then that will determine which placement test he takes. He then takes the placement test and I count how many he got WRONG which determines where which list we start with. This is when we actually start "spelling" yes?

SO on Monday I give him a test on the word list. From there he only studies the words he got wrong using the 10 step study sheet (say, look, say, close eyes, check, trace and say, check) and writes each word in a sentence. On Tuesday I give him a test on the missed words from Monday and he then studies only the words he missed this time. On Wed. I give him a test on Tuesdays missed words and he then studies Wed. Missed words and so on until he has spelled each word correctly for a test. The following week we start over with a new list plus any words he never got correct the previous week......do I have ANY part of this correct?
Here's how we did it after we got past the "placement tests":

1. Start with the list. Read words for 5 minutes or until they miss 3 (for some people that number is 5, but for my kid, it was 3).

2. The kid studies the words they missed.

3. Next day, start with the words they missed from the previous day, and then continue on in the list for 5 minutes, or until they miss 3 (or you get to the end of the list).

4. Study the words the missed.

Repeat 3 & 4. Always stop at the end of a list. The next day you'll start at the beginning of the next list. You might use your judgement on going to the next list - if you think it is going to confuse your kid, keep working on their missed words until they get them right before going to the next list.

On Mondays, I always went over ALL the words they missed the previous week. If she missed 3 from those, we kept working on those words before continuing with new words.

Hope that helps.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog
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Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:00 pm

Re: spelling power - talk me through it please!

Unread post by rebeccal2002 »

I do what Trish does. This routine is started AFTER the placement tests are done. (Don't have them study words missed on the placement tests...) Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it and it won't be a big deal anymore. I find the instructions a bit verbose. :) We have had GREAT success with SP this year, especially with my 9 yo who was really struggling with spelling when we started.

Good luck!

HS'ing since 2006, MFW since 01/2011 :)
2015/16: ECC (2nd time around w/ 3rd, 6th and 8.5 grader), WHL (10th). Also 2nd half of K and 1st for 6 year old.

Finished K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp-1850, 1850-MOD, AHL

and 4 year old helping!
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Re: spelling power - talk me through it please!

Unread post by SarahP »

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who found the instructions long and wordy! Thanks for the advice - I guess we'll just dive in with assessments and roll with it.
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Re: spelling power - talk me through it please!

Unread post by 1974girl »

I got mine in the mail yesterday. Sat in front of the TV with a pop tart this morning watching this so called quick start DVD. I only figured out how to do the placement tests. : ) I did do that successfully. I was going to have to watch and read more to find out the rest. Thanks for this post!!!!!!!!!!!!
LeAnn-married to dh 17 yrs
Mama to Leah (14) and Annalise (11)
Used from Adventures on and finishing final year (1850-modern) this year
"When you teach your children...you teach your children's children."
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Spelling power - a new list each day or week?

Unread post by Colleen »

SarahP wrote:With spelling power - should we be doing a new list each day (adding in the previous day's missed words) or a new list each week? - Currently we've been doing a new list each day and it hasn't been bad because he is missing 0-3 words each list, but I'm wondering if maybe we should be doing more with each set of words rather than going on to a new list each day.....
My understanding is that no, you do not start a new list each day (or each week for that matter). Sometimes it takes a few days to get through a list even if they don't spell any or many words wrong. Sometimes the lists are long and it takes more than 5 minutes. My question was always, what if we only have one or two words left at the end of 5 minutes. I've come to the decision that if we have about 5 or less words left, then I'll just go longer than the 5 minutes. Also, if we finish a list and the 5 minutes aren't up, then we stop anyway. We never start a new list in the middle of a day.

The only distinction I make from week to week is the suggestion that MFW adds in. They suggest that on Monday you re-test words missed last week. That's not part of the Spelling Power plan, but it is nice to make sure there is more retention. I keep a list as a bookmark in my Spelling Power book showing the words missed and how far we got last time. I mark the list of missed words with an M for Monday so I know how far back to test on the review. Hope that makes sense.

Colleen in MI
Colleen in MI
Wife to Dave (for almost 20 years) and Mom of four.
Currently doing:
US History to 1877 with 11th grade girl
Exp to 1850 (2nd time) with girls in 8th & 6th grades
First Grade (4th time) with only boy
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