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  TOS October 2012 


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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


December 19, 2012

When Your Good Reader Is a Bad Speller 



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler and family


Ever had a good reader who was a bad speller? Yes, I have, too! We read good books and have a good spelling curriculum--and they still struggle.


I have homeschooled for so many years, and I still don't know if I am doing spelling right. What I have found is that no matter how wonderful the spelling program, each child I apply it to is very different. I have several natural spellers and a couple of children that just don't get spelling, but they excel in other areas such as creativity, art, and music.  


Success comes with the way they are created. Some are created natural spellers, and some are created naturally gifted at other things. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can cater to each child's ability or developmental levels. If they need extra help in spelling, we have the time and most likely the resources to help.  


What seems to work for me is a little word that does a big job in my home: consistency. A little here, a little there, five days a week, every month of every year, and they grow up knowing how to spell anywhere from fairly well to decent to excellent, depending on how they are made.  


If you have a struggling learner of any kind, please visit Dianne Craft's website and you will also learn about those right-brained spellers. She has some amazing tips to share with you there.


Here's praying that you are not stressing over a child needing extra help in spelling. Stress should be your signal to rest, pray, and find other helps. Be consistent, and enjoy those children as you keep them Home Where They Belong!


A very Merry and Blessed Christmas to you and your precious family! Don't forget to take advantage of our Christmas gift to you--the Cranberry Christmas E-Book! Just request it by emailing Gena Suarez at: And, if you missed our December EXPO, you can find all the wonderful holiday recipes from our TOS Staff right here.


His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,

His power no boundary known unto men;

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus

He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.


Annie J. Flint 1866-1932 "He Giveth More Grace"



TOS Senior Editor  


Would you like to sit down and chat with a   
homeschool mom who's been there and done that?  If so, check out Diana Waring's downloadable collection of four Mp3 audio workshops and E-Book. If you buy before December 31, you will also get a bonus Mp3-Heroes of the Faith!  




I have a confession to make. I can drive my car, but I don't know why it works. I turn the key, put it in gear, apply pressure to the gas pedal, and I am on my way. I've heard about things like pistons and firing sequences and transmissions. But, I don't understand why my car works. I can get to where I need to go without knowing the mechanics of it . . . until something goes wrong. When it does, I can find myself stranded in a parking lot, over an hour away from home, with passengers in the car, and no idea what to do other than call for help.


How many incidents could I remedy myself, if I only knew the basics of why my car works? If I could look at the problem, break it into pieces in my mind, and analyze the situation, I would have an advantage.


The same is true for many children who can read well but don't understand the mechanics of spelling. They can get where they need to go and comprehend most of the story, but when a problem arises, they don't know how to break unfamiliar words down and analyze their parts. And how can they take others where they need to go if they can't express themselves through the correctly written word?


Every week, Schoolhouse Spelling brings your pre-K through high school students fun ways to learn how to take words apart and put them back together again--word searches, code-cracking activities, games, puzzles, and even crafts! Make a word octopus, enjoy spelling baseball, and learn what the singular form of the word "magi" is. Join Schoolhouse Spelling every week and help your children become great spellers. Don't let them get stranded somewhere far from home.

Schoolhouse Spelling

Now is the perfect time to join For a limited time, you can purchase a one-year subscription to for only $49! This special promotion makes it easier than ever to enjoy all that has to offer. You will also receive a hot-off-the-press PRINT issue of The Old Schoolhouse 2013 Print Annual Book AND either the Winter Cranberry or Chocolate Mint Homeschooling with Heart tote bag, ABSOLUTELY FREE--you choose the color you want!  


Is there someone in your life you could bless with a gift membership to Contact for details.

It's as easy as Point. Click. Teach.  

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The Familyman

Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries 

I refuse! Picture me with my arms folded and nose stuck up in the air in defiance. There is no way I'm writing about good reader/bad speller today. You shouldn't even be thinking about reading or spelling this week before Christmas.


In fact, if you are still doing school, stop right now, ask forgiveness of your children for being a homeschool zealot, and get busy Christmasing.


Need a good reminder of what matters at Christmas? Then check out the latest installment of my online book "The Last Christmas."


Have yourself a very Real Christmas,



P.S. Today is the last day to order your Familyman calendars, Christmas books, and games in order to get them in time for Christmas. There's no special deal (you put it off too late for that), but we will ship everything Priority Mail, if you order by 2 pm EST, making sure you get it in time for Christmas. Order Now. 



PICNIC IN THE PARK FOR PRESCHOOLERS through Age 8 (iPad & iPhone). Designed by educators, Picnic in the Park stresses fun yet encourages both reading and counting.  Stroll through the park, fill your picnic basket and  head for the picnic grounds.  Learn more at: Only $0.99! Great Stocking Stuffer!


Diana Waring
Diana Waring

Relational Homeschooling 


Dear Friends,


This week's topic is one that will bring out opinions from even the mildest-mannered person. And if we grouped these opinions, they would probably fall into two categories:

  1. All students will become good spellers if the right technique is used;
  2. Not all students will become good spellers, regardless of the technique used.

Since these two opinions are mutually exclusive, what are we supposed to do? And how do we provide opportunities for every student to learn to spell without laying crushing, impossible burdens on any?


Well, maybe it would be helpful to share a few of my own experiences, and, together, see if we can find a pathway--through all the opinions--to spelling success.


Ok. First experience. My friend was the highly intelligent, well-educated daughter of two university professors. She had also, before homeschooling her own children, taught at a wonderful Christian school in Seattle. Impressed? I certainly was, and it was from her that I learned some of my earliest lessons about education and children. Well, one day, as I walked into her house, she announced to me, "Diana, did you know that spelling is not a matter of intelligence? There are some very intelligent people who are not good spellers!" Not knowing what was motivating this pronouncement, and being an excellent speller myself, I asked, "Do you have difficulty with spelling?" She affirmed that this was the case.


Honestly, I was shocked. Having never considered the mechanics of spelling before, I naively assumed that being a good speller was merely a matter of study.  


On to the second experience. When my middle child learned to read, he was a voracious and extraordinarily motivated reader. However, he didn't become proficient--fluent--in reading until he was ten. So, his spelling lagged far behind the norm for his age. It was a fairly significant source of struggle for him, because it was humiliating to not be able to spell the words he was eminently capable of using.


At a homeschool convention during this time, I met up with an old friend, Wanda Sanseri. When I shared this particular struggle with her, she suggested that I try her program, which is now called Spell to Write and Read. Within six months of working about five minutes per day, my son came up to grade level in spelling! (We also recommend Denise Eide's Uncovering the Logic of English.)


That was about two decades ago. He is now in Navy flight school, learning to fly helicopters. But, just as my own friend had discovered about herself, spelling is still not my son's strength.


And that, dear friends, is the point. Some are naturally gifted, others aren't. Don't demand perfection, and don't neglect opportunities. It's not an easy path to trod in our homeschooling culture, but one well worth finding for the sake of your beloved children.


Stay relational,




P.S. Merry Christmas to you all!



Schoolhouse Freebie

This week's free resource is a books of the Bible Word Search. You'll find a wide variety of lessons, activities, and printable pages in


Raising Real Men  

Hal & Melanie Young


When your good reader is a bad speller . . . it isn't easy! Here are a few things we've learned along the way:


Spelling is one of those things that some are naturally good at and others aren't. The two of us are both natural spellers-we just know when something isn't spelled right because it looks wrong to us. Some of our children are the same way; they've hardly misspelled a word in their lives! Others of our children struggle with spelling simple words even into high school. It's easy for natural spellers to think spelling well is a sign of intelligence, but it's not. Hal's mom has a master's degree, is a fantastic artist, and respected by everyone, but spelling isn't her strength. It's okay. Remind the good spellers in your family that they've received a gift from God, to be thankful for it, and comfort the bad spellers that it has nothing to do with how smart they are.


Remember that writing and spelling are two different things. Worry about misspelling can cause some to avoid writing at all, if possible. Allowing your child to dictate writing assignments can free them up to create. One of our friends is an accomplished author that God has really used, but she's also dyslexic and still struggles with spelling. Let your children know that when they're writing, spelling doesn't count-that's what revisions are for.


Get a really adjustable spelling program. You want one that allows you to study whatever it is your children need to study and not just typical 3rd or 5th grade words. We've used Spelling Power, which requires some thought to use, but focuses on learning just the trouble words.


Make the words "stickier" in their memory. We learned this technique from Dianne Craft. When your children misspell a word, use a whole piece of paper or cardstock and write the word really big. Use colors and write the problem letters in a different color. Turn it into a picture. Do something that makes it a graphic in their minds. That'll help them store it in the correct part of the brain for easy connection to the sound. It's amazing how well this works.


Reassure your child (and yourself!) that lots and lots of successful people struggle with spelling. It's just one of those things you have to learn to cope with--and it's going to be alright!


As Christmas approaches this week, we pray that you will have peace and joy in your home and that all your celebration will glorify our Savior and draw your family closer to Him!


Merry Christmas!

Hal & Melanie


P.S. Need unforgettable gifts for your boys? How about a Rubber Band Machine Gun? Check out our Merry Christmas Shop and get $10 Flat Rate Priority Shipping til Thursday night!

Hoping to hear us speak? In January, we'll be in Anaheim, CA, for the Exploring Homeschooling Conference, as well as starting our next online interactive series of Boot Camp 9-12, for parents of 9 to 12-year-old boys and Marriage Retreat Online, for a relationship pick-me-up that doesn't need a sitter! 



Heartfelt Homeschooling--

Living and Learning Together  

on God's Path of Life  

with Clay and Sally Clarkson


  Clay and Sally Clarkson   


Clay Clarkson is the Director of Whole Heart Ministries, a non-profit family ministry he founded with Sally in 1994 to encourage and equip Christian parents. He is the author of numerous Christian home and parenting books and resources, including Educating the WholeHearted Child, Our 24 Family Ways, and Heartfelt Discipline. He writes online at,, and, and for others.  


Sally Clarkson is the mother of four wholehearted children, a conference speaker, and author of numerous books, including The Mission of Motherhood, The Ministry of Motherhood, Seasons of a Mother's Heart, and The Mom Walk. Clay and Sally live in Monument, Colorado and have homeschooled their four children from the beginning.   

Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on 
Tuesday, January 22, at 7 p.m. EDT! 

(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT) 


Check out all the details at


Reserve your FREE seat now---only 1000 available! 





Creation Revolution     


"You can see flowers along roadways, in the mountains and the deserts. Many people today find their flowers in a flower store.  But have you ever wondered where flowers came from to start with?"


Read more in the article The Abominable Mystery of How Flowers Originated.


  The Spelling Apologist:
Why Good Spelling Is Essential and
How to Select the Right Curriculum     
TOS Article


Read this article


in the latest issue of

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
Contest Corner 

For the month of December, 2012  


The Only True God . . . Knowing the God of the Bible (from the Quest series)


Part of the Quest series of the Explorer's Bible Study company, The Only True God . . . Knowing the God of the Bible is a 30-week Bible study aimed at Jr. and Sr. High students. The consumable workbook starts out with a note to parents and teachers, a note to the students themselves, and an introduction of the topic. The format of the daily lessons is explained and hints and suggestions, such as keeping a Bible journal and to pray as they study, are offered as well.


Each lesson is broken down into five days, with day one always including a review of what was previously learned. Throughout the week, there are memory verses, daily questions, and lesson notes. One of the sessions focuses on personal application, although the day varies. Day five ends with the student reading prepared notes about the lesson. That text includes vocabulary, explanations of why certain things were studied or referenced in that particular lesson, and a general summary of the week. Lesson 30, the "final exam," so to speak, is a fill-in-the-blank review of the entire book. Once completed, the soft-covered book is a keepsake reference book for years to come.


Read the rest of this review here.



Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Bible Study" for a chance to win* the book for your homeschool!
The Old Schoolhouse  Magazine


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December 1, 2012, to December 31, 2012. You must be 18 years of age or older and follow all rules to participate. Entering the contest constitutes full and complete acceptance of, and a warranty that the entrant has read, understands and agrees to, all contest terms and conditions, including without limitation all of The Old Schoolhouse
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