I'm going to switch gears here for a bit and actually do a post about a homeschooling topic :) One of the cool things about having your own website is that occasionally people ask you to review their product or book for them. Recently I was contacted by a gentleman who developed a spelling software package called SpellQuizzer. I decided I'd be game and give it a try.
This software was developed to help any student with his/her vocabulary or spelling lists. It automates the "practice" portion of the weekly spelling list. Here's what happened:
I was emailed the link to download the software and didn't have any problems with it at all. Next, I got to plug in my microphone and have some fun. Mr. 9 yo and Ms 10 yo are my two students who are currently doing weekly spelling lists, so I sat down with their lists and very easily entered in all of their words.
For each word you type in you have the option of recording the word and a sentence or definition to go with it. If you don't have a microphone, you can type in a hint for each word that the child would read. You can also choose to randomize the list playback when the student gets tested on it.
After I entered the words and recorded them, I went and took the test to see how it worked. The program simply repeated my recorded words, with the sentences, for me to type into the computer. If I got all the words right, I heard a cheering crowd. Any words I got wrong, I had the option of being tested on again. In case you're wondering, the fact that my two kids aren't great typists hasn't hindered their progress at all.
So, what do we think? Overall, I'd say we are all pleased with this program. It is very easy to use, hasn't error-ed out at all, and is fun. The kids like it and use it a lot (it sure beats trying to bribe one of their siblings into testing them on their spelling words!). Since they've been using it, they have been doing better on their tests.
Even though you may be a homeschooler, there are many benefits to using this program. There are ways that you can share your spelling lists with other homeschoolers as well as download already made spelling lists, some of which look pretty handy.
One benefit I thought of after we started using it was that you can go back and randomly test the kids on earlier spelling lists. It will be interesting to see how many of the words the kids can spell a few weeks after their test!
The only drawback I found may be the price. However, since you can use it with as many lists/kids as you want, it will definitely be available for multiple years and children. I guess if you break it down that way, it isn't a bad deal.
I give this product a thumbs up. I'll be putting up a permanent page for it on my website and will link to it as soon as it is available.