Natural Speller versus Has-to-Be-Taught

My children: Ammon, Julianna and Mark
Will the “natural speller” please stand up?

Having homeschooled 7 children, I eventually figured out that either kids come as “natural spellers” or they don’t. And if they don’t, you have to teach them to spell.

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Quirky English


Emily, Louisa and Ammon at the Old Hundred Gold Mine in Silverton, Colorado

No wonder English is so difficult to learn!


We must polish the Polish furniture.

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

The farm used to produce produce.

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Spelling Those Tricky Words


My 3 youngest: Louisa, Ammon and Emily


Spelling correctly is just as important as doing your hair!

How’s that?

Well, it makes quite a first impression, whether on a job application or in a love letter.

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Spelling Clues


My daughter Louisa (15)

English is a beautiful language! It is the language of the Kings James Version of the Bible. It is the language of Shakespeare. Then, why—oh, why can’t we spell?

Over the years of teaching my 7 children to write, I wonder if perhaps I have seen nearly every misspelling known to man. Tomorrow, friends, though, a lot . . . these common words can be quite challenging. I don’t claim to any system of success, but I do know that giving kids a memory clue can help a great deal! Here are just a few of the clues I have discovered that help my kids spell better:

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"I" Before "E", But Not After "C"

The word "separate" has "a rat" in it. Remember this spelling tip and you'll always spell it correctly!

The word “separate” has “a rat” in it. Remember this spelling tip and you’ll always spell it correctly!

I am a product of the public schools of the 1960’s. I was taught the spelling ditty: “i” before “e” but not after “c”, and a host of other rules. Spelling rules seem to be made for the logical, perhaps, mathematical minds (not mine), but I am a good speller. How does that work?

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