Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Measuring Scale For Ability in Spelling by Leonard Ayers a tool for McGuffey readers & dictation / narration work

This is a spelling assessment handbook to teach the most commonly used words. I came across this book on my journey searching for how to use the McGuffey readers. You can use it to test your student to find out what grade level they are in but that is a small part of this book. I am not concerned at what grade level they are in but want to improve their spelling from where they are and improving their writing by focusing on the most common used words .

  The beginning of this book goes in to details of all the different studies and research in creating this list so its not just a list of words that one person came up with. It originally was to compare phonetic verses sight words method of learning to read. The studies have been done in 250 cities.

 The beauty of this book is it has the the most common used 1,000 words in the English language used in writing. 

  Here is how the lists are broken down most common words we write:

  • 1rst 50 words = 1/2 of the words 
  • 1rst 300 words = more than 3/4 of  the words
  • complete 1,000 words= 9/10 of the words 

 As you can see this tool can be very handy when choosing what words to learn to spell in checking their dictation and narration work. 

Click here to purchase on Amazon

Here is an example of the first 50 words.

Here is an example of at the end of the week after I check their dictation work choosing words to work on for the next week. I don't have them do all of their misspelled words but use the word list to help pick and choose. I also will use my Spelling chart as I mentioned in another post if I see a spelling rule that needs worked on. This tool however is great for getting your students to write the most common words used in their writing assignments.

As you can see I did not choose the word sty. It is not a word they will use as often as the word one.

~* This is another tool I have found useful in my homeschool toolbox that I wanted to share.*~

Saturday, September 27, 2014

So what does eclectic mean anyway? MGuffey Eclectic Readers

So what does eclectic mean anyway? Why are the McGuffey readers called eclectic readers? 

         The title word Eclectic means that the stories and rhymes were culled from a wide range of literature. Thus the selections in the McGuffey readers include poetry and prose selections about history, philosophy, and science. This is why the books are titled MGuffey Eclectic Readers. William Holmes McGuffey (September 23, 1800 – May 4, 1873) was not the author (actually writing literature) of the eclectic readers but compiled great literature works to create the eclectic readers. This is important to understand as there are different versions of the McGuffey Eclectic Readers.
    Why is this important to understand? Since  I am a Christian I want my children to use the editions he personally put together. He was a man of God and a  minister in the Presbyterian Church. I will talk more about him as a man of God in another post but his love for the Lord comes through in the literature and poems he choose to include in the eclectic readers. Being an educated man and a professor he also choose great works of literature with rich vocabulary encouraging the students heart to Christ and character. When you study who he was as a man you will notice this shine  through in his work that he personally put together the McGuffey Readers.
  I will also post more in the future  about the different editions looking at why and who changed McGuffey's literature choices. Sadly, some of the later editions were to remove God from these great collections and the thought continues today in our education system. This is the reason we continue to homeschool and why I have chosen certain MGuffey editions to use in our homeschool verses others. 

 Below I have gathered some definitions and explanations by others concerning what eclectic means. 

  1. 1.
    deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
    "her musical tastes are eclectic"
  2. 2.
    of, denoting, or belonging to a class of ancient philosophers who did not belong to or found any recognized school of thought but selected such doctrines as they wished from various schools.
  1. 1.
    a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of source


Eclectic means choosing what seems to be best or most useful from several different sets of ideas or beliefs, rather than following one complete set of ideas or beliefs only. Example - Tagore's philosophy drew upon an eclectic mixture of both Western and Asian thought.

Other Answers (8)

  • Serendipity answered 8 years ago
    From dictionary.com:
    1. selecting or choosing from various sources.
    2. made up of what is selected from different sources.
    3. not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems.
    4. noting or pertaining to works of architecture, decoration, landscaping, etc., produced by a certain person or during a certain period, that derive from a wide range of historic styles, the style in each instance often being chosen for its fancied appropriateness to local tradition, local geography, the purpose to be served, or the cultural background of the client.

    It's used in this kind of sentence - "She used eclectic taste in decorating her home" meaning that she picked from various styles and color schemes rather than following one. 

  • sweet p answered 8 years ago
    Main Entry: 1eclec·tic
    Pronunciation: e-'klek-tik, i-
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Greek eklektikos, from eklegein to select, from ex- out + legein to gather -- more at LEGEND
    1 : selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles
    2 : composed of elements drawn from various sources; also : HETEROGENEOUS

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wecome Fall & Candles !!

I love fall ! It is my favorite time of year. I love: the cooler weather, colorful leaves, open windows, wind, football, sweaters, Ugg boots, hot drinks, mugs, warm fires, harvest celebrations, pumpkins, fall flowers, candles , soup, and even school time

One of the things we all enjoy is the smell of candles burning in the house. There are so many wonderful smelling candles but I love the cinnamon or cinnamon apple scent. It just has a fall smell to me and the red matches my schoolhouses & saltbox houses I have in my school room. So every morning I grab my cup of hot tea (pregnancy herbal tea) and light my candles. Since Titus is an active toddler who wants to blow out my candles I have them placed were either he can't reach them or close to me at my desk. 

  I sit next to the workboxes & my check box so I can check the kids work in between working with one of my kiddos. My fall and winter treat is the smell and the glow of the candles! Do you enjoy candles ? If so what are your favorite scents or brand of candles?  I just love the autumn  colors and warm smells!! Happy Fall !!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

125 mile bicycle ride weekend trip

 My two sons Joe & Daniel did a 125 mile bicycle ride from Maryland to home in PA this weekend with friends (our church family) .They camped outside along the bike trail and took time to swim in the river that was along the bike trail. We are thankful for the Godly examples they have in their lives and memories they are making that will last a life time. We are blessed to be apart of a church family that is truly family and friends.
 We are also blessed as a family of many boys to be in a church where men lead and are examples, challenging our sons to be men of God.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Using Reference Charts for Dictation or Narration ~McGuffey Readers as an Example

  We completed our dictation at the end of our week's lesson. After they are done with the dictation I check it with the student and go over the mistakes comparing it to the original. I posted yesterday examples of the reference charts and where to purchase.
   Punctuation & Capitalization ~* One of the things Job missed was his punctuation. Placing commas in a series of words. So I pulled out the Language Arts reference chart for 3-4 graders since he is in 4rth grade and we go over the punctuation rule. I then write on a post it note the spelling words and punctuation rules for next week for him to master. We will continue until he masters these topics. My Jr. High / Highschool students cover these rules daily using Easy Grammar.
      Choosing what to work on for the next week ~* I only choose 5-10 spelling words a week and choose the most important words for them to learn. If they have multiple punctuation or capitalization errors I only choose one to focus on. We will have plenty of time to cover the other rules. My goal its master one at a time. My kids do better learning through mastery.
 Here is an example of Angelo using the 5/6 grade Language Arts reference Chart. He did not capitalize words in his title. So that is what I will look for each week in his dictation until he masters that rule. He did remember the rule we learned at the beginning of the week using a comma  following a name.

Spelling ~* I list all we need to work on the post it note for next weeks lesson. After I choose the spelling words I look to see what spelling rules they need to work on. I grab my spelling reference chart and mark the rules we are going to work on all next week.
Here is a picture of my post it note. I have them look at the spelling word daily, close their eyes to see the word , then orally spell the word. We do this each day along with discussing the spelling rule. One day a week they may write the words 3 times or so for extra practice.

I own Christ Centered Phonics cards that have spelling rules on the back of the card. click here to if interested in the Christ Centered Phonics cards.I use these for Nehemiah since he is in 2nd grade for his spelling or if I notice he needs to tackle a phonogram in his reading.

Phonics/Reading ~* The Logic of English phonogram chart is great to use if they are reading out loud and you notice they are struggling with a certain phonogram. I mark it down and note it on the post it note.

Here is an example of the spelling rule under phonics application. You can use whatever tools you have with your child's dictation lessons.

Parts of Speech ~* We use Easy Grammar lessons to teach the parts of speech so I don't cover that with the McGuffey readers. It is taught separately.

   Since I posted the reference charts I use yesterday I thought I would share how I use them.
  You don't have to use them for just McGuffey readers but any type of dictation or narration work you are doing. I plan on posting how you can use this for your narration work in the history notebooking.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Homeschool Helps~ Reference Charts

I love reference charts!!! Instead of grabbing a text book for a quick reference I have these handy charts to use when needed.I can use them when we do our McGruffey Readers,  history / Science notebooking, math, writing, spelling, reading, etc. So I wanted to share these helpful charts with you and give links to were they can be purchased.

Here are examples of the grammar charts. They  are well organized which I love to make it easy to use.
I purchased these laminated charts from Christian Light Publications at 

I also like the Logic of English chart for spelling rules & phonograms. You can purchase this chart from CBD.

Click here for Logic off English spelling & phonogram chart

 These handy Math Reference Charts can also be purchased from Christian Light Publications click on the link above.

I received this for free from a homeschooling Facebook party :) I have been wanting this chart for writing so I was so happy to get it for free. It is great for taking you step by step in the writing process. It also gives you dress up tools to change the writing assignment from ordinary to extraordinary! You can purchase these at Institute for Excellence in Writing.

 Click here for IEW portable wall writing chart

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