Friday, May 20, 2011

Homeschool Review: Wordy Qwerty

Last fall, one of the programs I was THRILLED to get a chance to review for the 'TOS CREW
was Read, Write, Type, an online typing program that did a great job of teaching my girls to type in a fun, easy way. When I was asked about reviewing the "sequel" to Read, Write, Type, I was abit less sure. . . Wordy Qwerty focuses on reading and spelling for 2nd and 3rd graders. And, while my girls read fluently, and love to "write" stories, I haven't stressed proper spelling, and up until a couple months ago, their writing was all VERY phonetic. I'm fine with that at this age, and figured accurate spelling can come later, and to a large extent will come automatically as long as they continue to be voracious readers. So, a "spelling program" didn't seem like an ideal fit for us. But I said we'd try it. Somewhere about the time I was stressing about this, but before we actually got the review item, they both started asking me how to spell EVERYTHING when they were writing. I think a big contributing factor was setting them up with their own (highly supervised) e-mail accounts. Gmail automatically flags misspelled words, so that brought their spelling errors to their attention without me having to point them out to them, and once they were aware of them, they started asking how to spell things they hand write as well. So, as it turns out, Wordy Qwerty came to us at a great time!

Wordy Qwerty is an online spelling and reading program that takes the "next step" after Read, Write, Type to teach spelling rules through 20 consecutive lessons of fun games and songs. We received 2 licenses, so that both MiniMe and Sassy could continue with the program. You can purchase the online program here. The price starts at $25 for one license and goes up from there depending on how many licenses you need. I believe (but didn't try to do it), that you can "deactive" one child and set up a new name all in the same license, so if your children won't be using the program at the same time, you might  be able to have them share a license. Check the other reviews on the TOS Crew and or contact the company for the details on this though, I really don't know how that part of it works.

You can go here to see a list of the spelling rules covered, and there's a link at the bottom of that page for a short video clip from Wordy Qwerty.

One thing I LOVE about this program is that there is NO teacher prep or participation required. Since my girls already had logins set up from doing Read, Write, Type, I literally just had to assign the Wordy Qwerty licenses to them (from my login on my computer) and tell them to go try it out. I check with them to make sure they're doing some of it every day that we do school, and I login periodically from my computer to see how they're progressing, but that's all I've had to do. I love that!

And my girls are LOVING the program. I will say that their scores are all over the place, some lessons they are at or close to 100% other lessons they are below 50%. I suspect that part of this is whether the spelling rule is one they already were aware of, and part of it is whether or not they were distracted by other things going on around them while they're working on the lesson. I will probably have them go back and either do select lessons over, or go through the whole thing again once they finish going through it the first time, to reinforce and improve on the low scores. But given that they came into it with zero "schooling" in spelling rules, they've done great! And the best part is, they are ENJOYING it! 

These programs are a great hands on style of learning that I would think would be helpful to all learning styles. They can be used in a relaxed school environment like ours, but could be "assigned" and monitored more closely if the parent desired.

I'd recommend Read, Write Type as a great introduction to typing for 1st or 2nd graders, and Wordy Qwerty and a great follow-up to it, for most any homeschool style.  Obviously those who prefer to not have their children have "screen time" as a part of school wouldn't want to use these products, but otherwise, it's a great fit for most anyone, as far as I can tell!

Disclaimer: We received 2 online licenses in exchange for writing this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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