SpellQuizzer – It Makes Dimples Smile

Do you see the smile on Dimples’ face?  That is the expression she wore the day she got 105% on her spelling test.  Not only did she get 23 spelling words correct, she also got the five bonus words!  This was an extraordinary contrast to her previous spelling tests.

How did she improve so dramatically?  I can tell you.  She finally got the practice and repetition she needed each day.  Did I finally become an awesome mom who quizzed all of her kids on their spelling words each night?  Sadly, no, but I did become a mom who spent a little bit of time on Saturday recording all four of my girls’ spelling lists with my new SpellQuizzer software. (hint: read to the end of this post for Give-Away information.)

The creator of SpellQuizzer, Dan Hite, contacted me to ask if I would like to try his program and then review it.  I thought it sounded interesting, but it was just as we headed into the holidays and it took me ages to get to it.  I wish I had done it earlier.  I am a huge fan of anything that makes my crazy life easier.

There are lots of neat techy aspects to SpellQuizzer, but I’ll tell you about it from my non-techy mom perspective……Rusty downloaded the SpellQuizzer software to my computer.  Impatient as usual, I decided to try to figure out how to use it without reading the instructions.  I opened the program, it gave me the choice “Create a Spelling List”, I clicked on that and I was ready to create Dimples’ list for the upcoming week.  I typed in a word, then recorded the word and a sentence with a microphone.  I did this for all 28 words in minutes.  It was such a breeze that I then recorded Ladybug, Honeybee, and Boo’s spelling lists too.

The girls immediately began taking turns quizzing themselves on their spelling words each day.  When they missed a word, it showed them the correct spelling, and at the end of the list it offered to repeat the misspelled words.  The girls could see their progress and when they finally got 100% of the words correct, the program cheered and applauded.  They loved it!

The wonderful extra benefit for Dimples was that her anxiety decreased as she practiced.  She was no longer waiting for somebody to have time to quiz her, she could confidently quiz herself.  She began using using SpellQuizzer each evening and again in the morning before school.

I’ll be honest that I was a little bit nervous when she left for school Thursday morning, but she came home with a huge smile on her face.  She made me close my eyes before she placed her test in my hands.  For the first time this school year, she got a perfect test score which exempted her from the final test on Friday.  She was so happy! My homeschooled girls also got 100% that week!

The second week Dimples got 103% on her test and the next time she earns100%, her name will go on the Stellar Speller chart.  She is motivated!

An unexpected turn happened when Ladybug decided to enter and record her own words.  Honeybee followed, and even Boo has created her own list.  It is that easy to use.

For moms with kids in school, homeschooling moms, or moms with feet in both worlds, like me, SpellQuizzer is fantastic.  Download a free trial and give it a whirl; if you love it you can purchase it for $29.95.  I would love to hear if it works for your kids as well as it does for mine.

To make things even more exciting, I am giving away a free copy of SpellQuizzer!

To Win SpellQuizzer

The giveaway will end next Friday, February 12. You can have up to four entries in the random drawing. Each one of the following is worth one entry:

  • Leave a comment telling us what one of your favorite educational tools is.
  • Subscribe to my Twitter account, @OneThankfulMom.
  • Tweet or blog about the giveaway using this link: http://bit.ly/ahxyPJ.
  • Subscribe to the RSS Feed. Be sure to comment to tell us that you subscribed.

Happy Learning,

~Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

36 Comments

  1. Jennifer McConnell
    February 5, 2010

    My favorite educational tool is the computer and specifically the internet. I have kids who love to get on the computer and seem to learn so much more that way then the book way. They will google as much as possible to find as much as they can on a topic. I also love the educational sites that have learning games that are fun but have them really learning facts and study skills at the same time. I have also seen an improvement with reading for my Ethiopian kids who really struggle with reading books but seem to really enjoy reading the news and other things on the computer. I have several who struggle with spelling so I would love to try this tool as well!

    Reply
  2. Lisa H.
    February 5, 2010

    Sounds like a program worth trying!

    I'll say my new product that I'm liking this year is our new math series…We're using the program that comes with the K12 curriculum, but we purchased it independently….Here's the link: http://www.sadlier-oxford.com/catalog/category.cf… It's called "Progress in Mathematics" and I think it has the best of the best. It's focus is basic arithmetic, but it also includes problems to develop thinking skills and to help children learn to apply math to real life situations. It has a few ideas for hands on learning, but if your child doesn't need that, you can skip that part and stay focused…. It's colorful like A-Beka, and very reasonably priced. At the lower grade levels, I've not needed a teacher's guide.

    Reply
  3. Susan
    February 5, 2010

    I subscribed!

    Reply
  4. Crystal
    February 5, 2010

    What a great idea!!!! I have an (almost) three year old so right now I am just happy she can spell her name 🙂 I will have to tell my mom about this! She still has two in elementary school who would LOVE this! I have been following your old blog – so excited to follow the new and improved one! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Chris
    February 5, 2010

    We love The Learning Company's programs especially Reader Rabbit Reading Journey…sadly the don't work on Vista 64 bit very well

    Reply
  6. Roma
    February 5, 2010

    My favourite educational software is FASTTMath, a program designed to produce instant recall of math facts. You can adjust the settings to choose among addition, subtraction, multiplication or division; choose the set of facts (0-9 vs 0-12); set the the recall time (1.25 or 1.75 seconds); and set the problems per lesson (50 vs 70).

    What distinguishes this program is the methodical approach to building math fact memory. FASTTMath first tests the child to see which facts they already know and how fast they type. It then presents them with three "focus" facts daily. They have to first solve a set of problems and then play a game including their focus facts and a few others. With repeated exposure, they can recall the focus facts quickly. It takes 10-15 minutes a day to use. This software is designed for classroom use but can be used at home.

    My daughter, Grade 4, has dyscalculia. At the beginning of the year she still had to count on her fingers. She began using the software in October, and she is making good albeit slow progress.. My son, in Grade 1 and with no math issues, is also using it to build up his math fact recall.

    Reply
  7. Jennie
    February 5, 2010

    Dimples has an amazing smile! (my kids aren't spelling age yet, so please don't enter me in the drawing).

    Reply
  8. Emily
    February 6, 2010

    Interestingly enough, my favorite educational tool right now is also for spelling–it's phonogram 'tiles' that are magnetic and let early spellers 'build' their words. It has REALLY helped my boys see what they're doing and make choices about which tile to use in a given situation (c or k? for example). Here is the link: http://www.AllAboutSpelling.com/heloves2spell

    Reply
  9. Lisa
    February 5, 2010

    My daughter just turned 4. We recently got the Leap Frog Tag Reader pen that "reads" the books. I like it because she can put the pen on any word and it will say the word, or she can have it read each sentence to her. It doesn't replace our reading time together, but it is a great addition, especially when we are on long drives.

    Reply
  10. Becky
    February 6, 2010

    One of our favorite learning tools is the Teaching Textbooks math books. Each grade level set includes a textbookand computer CD's that have a teacher explaining every lesson, as well as step-by-step solutions to every problem in every lesson. The explanations are well done. My kids have done really well with this math series. And it has made my job as a homeschool mom, of a lot of children, a lot easier.

    Reply
  11. Roma
    February 5, 2010

    I subscribed!

    Reply
  12. Jessica
    February 6, 2010

    I subscribed! Also, one of my favorite educational tools is the Handwriting Without Tears program. My daugther spent kindergarten in public school and came home with many handwriting papers with all the letters backwards. We had her correct her papers when she came home, but it wasn't enough. I started this program when we started homeschooling this year through recommendation from her occupational therapist and developmental vision doctor because writing everything backwards was making both math and reading difficult for her. Now she is reading 2nd grade and higher level books with confidence and she is picking up math pretty quickly. Both my kids love the program because after they finish doing there handwriting they get to color the pictures for the lesson they completed.

    Reply
  13. Positively Orphaned
    February 6, 2010

    Just wanted to tell you the new blog looks great!

    Reply
  14. Jillian and Crew
    February 7, 2010

    Our favorite educational tool for the boys right now is Signing Time DVDs…they have kids of various abilities signing and singing…it shows the concept and the children sign the word, the word is also in print…it has been a great motivator to learn American Sign Language, its fun and it is promoting reading skills as well! If we are going to do TV it is the best 30 minutes we could do!

    Now I am heading to go find you on twitter, duh! I should have looked for you there before!

    Reply
  15. Leslie
    February 7, 2010

    Right now our favorite educational tool is the Didj–the girls love playing the games and they hardly know they are learning. 🙂

    Reply
  16. Heidi
    February 8, 2010

    My favorite educational tool (and easy to make project) is the "Sand Paper Letter – Sensory cards" ! Great for children who need the sensory input. The child traces the letter, while saying the phonetic sound…the roughness of the sandpaper gives the extra sensory input.

    This is an example:
    http://www.infomontessori.com/Pictures/montessori

    Reply
  17. Mandy
    February 8, 2010

    Favorite educational tool – Hmmmm … so many to choices. But, I think I'll have to go with my current favorite (which changes from time to time) – SAXON MATH. Good, solid curriculum. We have used it from the beginning which has been about 4+ years now.

    A few other favorites – First Languages (well-trained mind) by Susan Wise Bauer, Egermeier's Bible Storybook (EXCELLENT Bible reading for grade school), Handwriting Without Tears program and Story of the World. LOVE these books!!! It's so hard to just choose one. =)

    Reply
  18. Kathy
    February 9, 2010

    My absolute favourite educational tool is Teaching Textbooks Math Program.
    After almost 20 years of home schooling, I was thrilled to find a math program that works and that my children love, and I love.
    Thank you for an excellent blog. I have learned so much from you as we wait and pray for the day that we will finally be able to bring our children home.

    Reply
  19. paige
    February 10, 2010

    I subscribed!

    My favorite educational tool is my library card–so much information, and all accessed for free!

    Reply
  20. Dana
    February 9, 2010

    My favorite for all my kids has been Saxon Math. For Bible, I love The Child's Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos. For silly fun, we love to do Mad Libs at snack time. It's a goofy way to reinforce or learn parts of speech. For reading decoding and comprehension practice I love Reading A-Z's Raz Kids website. We homeschool in partnership with a private Christian school and they have a subscription to this site. It's excellent.

    Reply
  21. Dawn
    February 11, 2010

    Starfall.com
    Free phonics site. Excellent and effective resource.

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 11, 2010

      Dawn, My girls love Starfall too. Great suggestion.

      Reply
  22. Marissa
    February 11, 2010

    Right now my favorite education tool is the outdoors. But that's soon to change.

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 11, 2010

      The outdoors is great. We have had some nice winter days and the boys have been going on "adventures" in the pasture.

      Reply
  23. Michelle Q
    February 11, 2010

    I really like the Leap pad DVD's and the word whammer. But nothing beats good ol' fashioned books.
    I also subscribe to your wonderful blog.

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 11, 2010

      So true, Michelle. By the way, I rarely meet anyone who also has "Q" for their last initial. I love being a "Q", and it makes a fantastic monogram.

      Reply
  24. Abbey
    February 12, 2010

    We love books! All kinds of books, but a few favorites are: Story of the World (Susan Wise Bauer) and The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. I'm not sure the latter would score major points with my kids, but I like it because it is very thorough phonics teaching.

    Reply
  25. shelley
    February 12, 2010

    we have been using math whiz. joe got it for christmas-my mom bought it of amazon. it quizzes them and they have learned so much! and i hate doing flash cards, so this is much easier. 🙂
    link on amazon-http://www.amazon.com/Educational-Insights-8899-M…

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 12, 2010

      Shelly, thanks for the suggestion. I think I may order a Math Whiz. I love letting the kids do simple things, like math facts, on their own so I can do the fun things like literature and writing….oh, science too (thought I should add that since I'm married to a scientist).

      Reply
  26. Scot
    February 12, 2010

    Favorite Learning tool. Can't say I really have one, but years ago, when our oldest was practicing her ACSI spelling bee work list, I wrote my own program and that would play a separate sound file. Sounds similar to what you Dan Hite wrote, but I never thought to improve the program. It was also very tedious to link the sound files to the program… I'd love to enter the contest. Next learning tool. Using the stop watch on my Android phone for timing oral math drills.

    Reply
  27. Scot
    February 12, 2010

    okay Lisa… I have plugged your blog post on my Facebook status and Buzzed about it on Google buzz .
    http://www.google.com/profiles/bickell. I don't do twitter, so might my facebook and buzz posts suffice as a substitute for a tweet? I also subscribed to your blog with my Google Reader. I am happy for your kids improvement in spelling test scores!

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 12, 2010

      Scot, thank you for spreading the word. Yes, Facebook and Google Buzz will count. I appreciate it! Dimples got 101% this week…we still can't believe it!

      Reply
  28. Erin
    February 12, 2010

    just wanted to say how BEAUTIFUL Dimples looks in that picture – and so proud. WTG Dimples! Congratulations!

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 12, 2010

      Thank you. I think that every time I see the picture.

      Reply
  29. Julie B.
    February 12, 2010

    My favorite educational tool … that is hard. Just focusing on the younger set, I'd have to say simple things..hundred chart, alphabet cards, number cards, cuisinaire rods. Another tool: LOTS of praise,pats on the back, smiles. There is always something to smile about!
    Julie B.

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 12, 2010

      Julie, I am a total sucker for math manipulatives – I just love them. My favorites are pattern blocks and geo-boards. I like peg boards and Cuisinaire rods too. You are so right about encouragement.

      Reply

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