Spelling Power Curriculum Review – Why We Love It and Why We Don’t

spelling power curriculum review

If you’re thinking about trying the Spelling Power curriculum for your homeschool, you’ll love this in-depth review! 

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There are some great homeschool spelling curricula available, and in this article, you can read about the pros and cons of our favorite spelling curriculum, Spelling Power.

Is teaching spelling in my homeschool important?

Thanks to auto-correct and programs like Grammarly, you may be wondering whether it’s even worth it to select a spelling curriculum for your homeschool.

And while many public schools are eschewing spelling as a dedicated subject, recent research suggests that learning how to spell is still relevant.

“Some people refer to spelling as a mechanical skill . . . but that’s not what our brain imaging research shows. Spelling is a way of accessing meaning,” said Virginia Berninger, a professor emeritus of education at the University of Washington.

Even though public schools may be turning away from subjects such as handwriting, cursive, and spelling, we can still choose to include them in our homeschools!

Let’s get into the details about Spelling Power!

Overview of Spelling Power Homeschool Curriculum

Let’s start by taking a look at what the Spelling Power curriculum includes:

Spelling Power Manual

The front cover of the Spelling Power Fifth Edition manual says this:

Makes it easy to teach ages 8 to adult spelling skills in just 15 minutes a day!

Teaches phonics, spelling rules, and the most frequently used words through hands-on approaches.

First published in 1993, the main Spelling Power manual includes:

  • diagnostic placement tests
  • lists of the 5000 most frequently-used words organized by phonetic principles and spelling rules across six different levels
  • more than 130 skill-building activities
  • access to online teacher’s resources
  • easy quick-start steps and DVD seminar

Spelling Power Student Record books

In addition to the main manual, there are also individual Student Record books.

These soft-cover, inexpensive workbooks are specifically designed to support the Spelling Power daily testing and review framework.

There are three different options, depending on what grade your child is in.

The only real difference between each of the Record Books is the size of the lines provided for writing.

The blue Record Book has lines with a middle guideline, the green Record Book is wide-ruled, and the yellow Record Book has college-ruled lines.

Every Record Book has a great chart on the back cover for your child to keep track of their progress with the Spelling Power curriculum over the years, too!

Finally, it’s important to note that these Record Books are NOT required to use Spelling Power successfully, but we’ve found that they are HUGELY helpful in staying organized and on track!

How does Spelling Power work?

Diagnostic tests

There are two factors that contribute to determining where your child will begin with Spelling Power: the Survey Test and the Placement Test.

Related article: Life of Fred Homeschool Math Curriculum Review

Survey Test

When you first start using Spelling Power, you’ll give your kids a Survey Test.

This Survey Test will help you determine their readiness to begin using Spelling Power.

The Survey Test is a list of 50 words of varying difficulty levels.

You’ll say the word once, use it in a sentence, and then say the word again. Then your child will write the word.

As your child is writing the words, you’ll need to watch over their shoulder so you can see how many words have been misspelled. Once your child misspells three words in a row or six non-sequential words, the test is over.

After the Survey Test is complete and you’ve counted how many words your child spelled correctly, you’ll administer a Placement Test on another day.

Once you’ve completed the simple diagnostic tests, it’s time to move on to daily lessons!

spelling test

Placement Test

To ensure that your child begins Spelling Power in the right place, you’ll want to give them the Placement Test too.

For this test, there is no stress and no expectation for your child to spell all the words correctly.

Simply give your student the Placement Test designated by their Survey Test result. You’ll use the entire list of words in the Placement Test list.

At the conclusion of the Placement Test, you’ll count the number of words misspelled and use the handy chart to know where your child should begin with Spelling Power.

Finally, if you’re still skeptical about what level your child should begin with, there is an additional Fine Tuning Step to help you!

Daily lessons

The Spelling Power curriculum is centered on its promise that spelling can be taught in only 15 minutes a day.

The first five minutes are spent in a Daily Test session. First, previously misspelled words are reviewed. Then new words from the Flow-Word Lists are tested.

Testing is really easy. All of the words your student will practice follow a similar rule. After writing out the spelling rule, you’ll say one word from the list, use it in a sentence, and repeat the word once more.

After five minutes have passed, the Daily Test is over.

During the second five-minute time block, your child then reviews any words they missed using the 10-Step Study Sheet.

This Study Sheet incorporates different multi-sensory methods to help your child remember how to spell and can often be completed independently.

Finally, the third block of five minutes is spent doing skill-building activities, such as playing spelling games and doing spelling drills.

Free Resource Library

Before you get any further, we have to tell you about the Free Resource Library here at The Reluctant Homeschool Mama!

If you struggle to stay organized or wish you had time to make printable book reports or field trip review forms, you NEED this resource!

Inside the Resource Library, you’ll find over 40 resources that will save you tons of time and effort – something every homeschool mom needs!

Click right here or on the image below to get access!

newly updated resource library

Pros about using Spelling Power homeschool curriculum

There are several big pros about the Spelling Power curriculum:

  1. Getting started with Spelling Power is really easy! As far as diagnostic testing and placement can go for homeschool curriculum, I’ve always felt very sure about where each of my kids should start with this spelling program.
  2. One of the biggest pros about Spelling Power is that it is super affordable. The main instruction manual often typically retails for less than $75. Additionally, the Student Record Books can typically be found on Amazon for less than $10 each.
  3. Spelling Power is designed to be used from 3rd grade until your child completes each of the 11 levels, typically when they are well into high school. That’s a one-time buy for a program that will last through many years!
  4. All of the directions for parents and students are straightforward and easy to understand. There’s no guessing about what needs to be done each day.
  5. There’s very little to no preparation for daily lessons! This is something homeschool moms everywhere can really get behind, right?!

spelling test for upper elementary

Cons about using Spelling Power for homeschool

As with all curriculum reviews you’ll see here on The Reluctant Homeschool Mama, we’ll also take some time to go over some possible cons about Spelling Power, too.

First, if you happen to prefer really colorful or illustrated manuals and workbooks, Spelling Power will not meet those desires.

Everything in the main manual is black and white and very much no-frills.

Second, it would be nice to have more recommendations and ideas for the skill-building ideas.

(In all honesty, my kids rarely do the extra skill-building activities. The daily practice and review methods are already enough to teach them everything they need to progress with spelling!)

Final thoughts about this Spelling Power curriculum review

As a busy homeschooler, it’s nice to have an easy, effective, and inexpensive curriculum for spelling, so we highly recommend Spelling Power here at The Reluctant Homeschool Mama!

We’ve used this great homeschool spelling curriculum for the past eight years. We’ve liked it so much that we’ve stuck with it all this time! Of course, it’s been awesome to see my kids become much better spellers along the way.

If you have any extra questions about Spelling Power, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Related homeschool curriculum reviews:

Sassafras Science Adventures Homeschool Science Curriculum Review

5 Awesome Homeschool Math Curriculums You Need to Check Out

Homeschool Unit Studies – What are They? And Why Do People Love Them? 

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What are your thoughts about this Spelling Power homeschool curriculum review?

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Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m Jen, a former reluctant homeschool mom who is ready to help you actually enjoy homeschooling too. Read more here…

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