Friday, January 14, 2011

Sylvan workbooks - vocab and spelling

I recently discovered Sylvan's line of workbooks, while looking for a new vocabulary workbook. The vocab workbook we had was super simple and streamlined - A Word A Day. I figured it would be easiest to cover vocab that way, since a) ds9 had a fairly good vocabulary to begin with, and b) we had so much else on our homeschool plate. But my theory backfired. Our vocab book was SO simple and SO streamlined, that ds9 found the new vocabulary words completely uninteresting, and thus had difficulty retaining what he had learned. Knowing my ds9, I should have known. :) Then I found Sylvan's vocabulary workbook. The word lessons are not only very well-organized by categories that obviously should be learned together, but the workbook is just CHOC FULL of games and puzzles and challenges that are interesting, exciting, and truly creative. Vocab has gone from one of ds9's best subjects, to one of his worst, to one of his most favorite subjects - and he no longer is having any trouble retaining the new words he's learning - AT ALL. And even though it's a regular workbook with pages for ds9 to complete, it's taking hardly any time out of our homeschool day - one page a day is all it takes (would only take a page every OTHER day had we started at the beginning of the year, even!), and he whips through them like they're CANDY. :D

This got me thinking... What ELSE does Sylvan have up its' sleeve? Turns out, they also have workbooks in their same very fun yet very logical approach, in the subjects of Math (K-5), Reading Skills for 2nd grade and below, Reading Comprehension for 3rd grade and up, and Spelling (1-4). While the math and reading books appear to be really neat, I think I'm still happier with the Math and English workbooks we're using by Bob Jones University Press. However, Sylvan's Spelling workbook has caught my eye, and I just might give that a try next year. It meets and masters all 3 of my criteria in a Spelling curriculum: 1) the words are sorted by similar spelling types or tactics - *check*, 2) there's emphasis on spelling rules and tips/tricks to make spelling easier - *check*, 3) there's fun (super fun!) games and puzzles and challenges to hold ds9's interest and aid in retention - *check*! I'm gonna have a hard time choosing between Sylvan's Spelling, BJU's Spelling, and Purposeful Design's Spelling next year. Ultimately, I'll probably let ds9 pick - whichever he thinks is "funnest" based on the sample pages. We'll see. :)