Being Intentional

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At the end of a challenging homeschool day, my husband is the first to remind me of our vision for our children’s learning at home…

  • a love for God
  • a love for His Word
  • a love for others
  • and a love for learning
How can I keep that in my thoughts?  How do I keep that focus? 

As a homeschool mom, I see two clear strategies that can assist me in staying focused on our goals.

1) Being intentional in spending time with Jesus…

The first way, and probably most obvious, is to personally stay close to the Good Shepherd.  I need to make sure I am making time to meet with the Lord a priority.  Am I reading my Bible each day and meditating on what He says through His Word? Am I taking time to pray and listen from my Savior?  Am I leaning on Christ and letting Him direct my thinking, words, activities, and day to day?  If I neglect this most important relationship, my vision begins to wane and I can gradually lose the focus of ‘love for God, love for His Word, love for others, and love for learning’ – turning it completely to academics and the stress of trying to do more and more, and entirely missing the heart.   How do I know this?  Well, sadly, it is because it has happened frequently to me along this homeschool journey.  I need a constant reminder to sit quietly and rest, to lean on the One who has called me to this journey, and to abide in His Word.

2) Being intentional in sharing Christ, His Word, and biblical truths with our children…

A second way to attempt to stay focused is to incorporate more of God’s Word and learning through using the Bible during our school days.  When choosing curriculum, I try to look for (or create) resources that are founded on and transmit a biblical worldview.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates,  so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
~Deuteronomy 11:18-21

It’s about being intentional in what we choose to use and do
during these short years we have been given with each of our children.

Some academic areas are easier than others to find materials that meet that criteria.  For example, we have discovered numerous science and history curricula that integrate the Bible and subject matter quite well.  Other areas, however, seem to be lacking and seem much more difficult to integrate.

Can aspects of language arts be taught using the Bible?  Yes!  One example is teaching spelling skills, handwriting, capitalization, spacing, and punctuation using verses of Scripture.  Joyful Heart Spelling Skills uses this method and was developed from a desire to incorporate God’s Word with the learning of spelling skills for early elementary students.  Joyful Heart Spelling Skills focuses on 73 spelling rules, starting with three letter CVC words and gradually builds and progresses with more difficult skills.  Each spelling skill is practiced during the duration of the skill focus through use of copywork, dictation, word sorting, building words, color writing, and a variety of hands on suggestions for forming words using a different medium or practicing the skill in a more hands on way.

Teaching spelling in this manner allows us to gain one more time during the day in which we can intentionally set His Word before our eyes, write it, think about it, and talk about it – enabling us to learn both academically and spiritually.


Want More Information about Joyful Heart Spelling Skills?

Spelling – Bible Copywork and Dictation
Spelling – A Rules Based Approach
Spelling – Build It
Spelling – Write It a Different Way
Spelling – Making it Varied
Spelling – When to Start

To succeed in keeping our focus and vision before us involves being intentional.  Staying close to Christ and in His Word as well as utilizing resources with a biblical emphasis can help us stay the course – instilling a love for God, a love for His Word, a love for others, and a love for learning.

Spelling through Scripture

Are you searching for an opportunity for your children to…

  • practice and use correct spelling within the context of God’s Word?
  • focus on correct capitalization, spacing, punctuation, grammar, and handwriting?
  • study, memorize, copy, and type passages of Scripture in manageable sections?

Try Joyful Heart Spelling through Scripture!


JH Spelling through Scripture Cover

All you need to get started is…
1) a binder with tabbed dividers…

IMG_5692 2) a few materials for word practice set aside…

(You can use items like letter tiles, window markers, gel pens, letter stencils, etc.
We currently store all of our  spelling materials in zippered pouches within a drawer.)IMG_7234

3) a computer in which students can perform basic typing…IMG_5977

4) sheets printed from Spelling through Scripture…

  • Scripture Passages ( 27 passages broken down into manageable sections)
    Sample Passage1Sample Passage2








  • Copywork Sheets (available in print and cursive)
    Print CopyworkCursive Copywork 




    With 27 Scripture selections, ranging from a few verses in length to entire chapters, Joyful Heart Spelling through Scripture could easily span several grade levels.  It is ideal for students in the 4th through 7th grades who already have a firm understanding of essential spelling and phonics rules (Our family personally uses and recommends Joyful Heart Spelling Skills .)

    Once the foundational skills have been established, students still need practice within the context of writing.  We have chosen to review and practice skills by incorporating copywork, typing, and studied dictation of God’s Word using Joyful Heart Spelling through Scripture.

    During copywork (either handwritten or typed), children are constantly referring to a correctly written model and visualizing the correct spelling of words as they write or type their own copy of the selected Scripture passage.

    Dictation comes after copywork and a thorough review of the Bible selection.  Children study the verses before having the section dictated to them.  This is modeled after the Charlotte Mason method of prepared dictation.  The dictation aspect of Spelling through Scripture is similar to that in Joyful Heart Spelling Skills.  Dictation helps to solidify previously learned spelling rules in context.  Children check their own copywork and dictation against the original, using careful observation.  Students have a correct model to compare to as they work toward accuracy.

    The concept of Spelling through Scripture is easy to implement and is packed full of literacy skill review!  Spelling through Scripture gives children the opportunity to focus on correct capitalization, spacing, punctuation, grammar, and handwriting.  It gives children the opportunity to practice and use correct spelling within the context of God’s Word.

    JH Spelling through Scripture Cover
    When you purchase Spelling through Scripture, you will receive 3 PDF files in a zip format…
    1) Spelling through Scripture
    (instructions and 27 printable passages broken down into manageable sections)
    2) Spelling through Scripture Print Copywork
    3) Spelling through Scripture Cursive Copywork

    ** If you are interested in both Joyful Heart Spelling Skills and Joyful Heart Spelling through Scripture, just purchase Joyful Heart Spelling Skills and receive both bundled together! **



Spelling – When to Start

Last week, I shared several components of Joyful Heart Spelling Skills.

JHSS Cover

Spelling – Bible Copywork and Dictation
Spelling – A Rules Based Approach
Spelling – Build It
Spelling – Write It a Different Way
Spelling – Making it Varied

Now that you have a feel for what Joyful Heart Spelling Skills looks like, you might be asking –

Would Joyful Heart Spelling Skills be a good fit for my child?


From Phonics to Spelling

For many years, at Hubbard’s Cupboard, I have had the privilege of sharing many secular and Bible based literacy resources for early childhood and kindergarten aged children.  The Joyful Heart Spelling Skills curriculum builds from these previous years of experience and resources.

The following are my personal suggestions for what to use leading up to the start of Joyful Heart Spelling Skills:

  1. Joyful Heart Bible and Rhyme (This is a free chronological study of Bible stories, rhyming, phonemic awareness, and  letter/sound correspondences for 3-5 year olds –3 days of learning per week stretched out over 38 weeks.)
    Bible and Rhyme1  lettersorts
  2. Joyful Heart Character (This is a free study of Biblical character traits and sequential early reading activities for 4-6 year olds – 4 days of learning per week stretched out over 38 weeks.  The literacy learning focuses on phonemic awareness, word families, reading sight words, reading 3-4 letter words in and out of context, and learning correct formation of letters.)
    Word Swatter Listen and Tracesightwordpractice
  3. Phonics practice: such as is found in the Explode the Code Series (levels 1-3), lots of hands on CVC word building and manipulation, as well as Word Family, CVC, Silent e, and Vowel Team Word Work
    word family work Word Family Word Sort
    CVC words Boggle Jr ExplodetheCode
  4. Lots of listening to stories being read aloud (beyond their reading level) and many opportunities to read leveled readers and real books aloud to someone!
    reading practice readingpractice2

The literacy activities, above, prepare children to take the step from phonics (learning the sounds each letter makes and how to combine the sounds to form words; translating written words into spoken sounds (reading/decoding) )  TO  spelling (applying phonics skills to writing sounds that one hears (writing/encoding) ).

Obviously, you don’t have to use the resources that I mention above, but as a Christian educator I would encourage you to look for curriculum or materials that have similar characteristics…

  • materials that incorporate God’s Word with learning
  • phonemic awareness activities
  • experience with word families/ rhyming
  • sequentially taught phonics lessons for learning to read
  • read alouds
  • lots of practice and enjoyment of real books/readers that progress in difficulty with the child’s growing competence in mastering reading


So, when would I recommend starting Joyful Heart Spelling Skills?

I designed this spelling curriculum to be ideal for 1st-3rd graders (as well as some 4th graders who have experienced difficulty/frustration with spelling in the past).

Children entering Joyful Heart Spelling Skills should be developing a greater attention span, have a firm grasp of how to correctly form letters, be able to read longer words quickly and easily (fluent), have some experience with copying words/phrases or short sentences, and spell 3 letter CVC words without difficulty.

Although there are many aspects of this curriculum that might appeal to children earlier than first grade, the component of Joyful Heart Spelling Skills that needs to be considered when determining if a younger child is ready for beginning this curriculum is the copywork and dictation.  Copywork and dictation are used generously in Joyful Heart Spelling Skills and requires a great deal of fine motor control.  Some advanced kindergarten children may be able to use a portion of the materials (especially the ‘Cut It! Sort It’, ‘Build a Word’, and ‘Write It a Different Way’ portions.)  However, I would be hesitant to use this curriculum with a child under first grade age due to the copywork/dictation aspect that is a vital part of learning and practicing the spelling skills. So, although there are hands on learning opportunities within Joyful Heart Spelling Skills, I would not advise using this curriculum with younger children as I believe that it would not be developmentally appropriate AND there are so many other skills that those younger learners need to grasp first =) .

My advice – consider my above recommendations and PRAY.

Spelling – Making it Varied

spelling samplerYou may have noticed that there are a LOT of pages in the Joyful Heart Spelling Skills download!  For each rule/skill lesson, the same style of sheets are used.  Please remember that with a printable download, you can choose which sheets to print for your child.  If you detect that the amount of writing is too much, pare it down a little.  If you desire for your child to complete a lesser amount of worksheets, alternate which sheets he/she does for each rule/skill.  If you recognize that your child needs more hands on or kinesthetic practice with the skill, choose an activity from the ‘Optional Spelling Practice Ideas’ sheets to do instead of a worksheet.  That is part of the joy in homeschooling – being able to tailor what we do to match our students’ learning styles and needs.


What are learning styles?  Learning styles are various approaches or ways of learning.  Children use all of the learning modalities to learn new information, but individuals may have a preference or more dominant way in their approach to learning.  Below is a brief definition of each learning style and some ways Joyful Heart Spelling Skills (JHSS) addresses them.


Visual Learners tend to learn best through seeing.  They may think in pictures and learn best through visual charts, displays, videos, and written work.

JHSS – paying attention to details of how words are spelled and noting spelling patterns, copywork and prepared dictation


words in the word

Tactile Learners tend to learn best by touching.  They are more inclined to need a hands on approach and the opportunity to explore and manipulate objects (fine motor).

JHSS– manipulating letters and words, forming words using different materials, writing words in a different medium




Kinesthetic Learners tend to learn best by moving and doing.  They are apt to need to have the chance to move as they are learning (gross motor).

JHSS– writing words using larger arm movements  (Strategies to address this way of learning can be found on the ‘Optional Spelling Practice Ideas’ sheet – two of which are shown below.)

tossandspellToss and Spell

hopandspellJump and Spell

Auditory Learners tend to learn best by listening. They are more likely to need the opportunity to talk through things and listen.  Reading aloud and using a voice recorder is often beneficial.

JHSS– orally saying and spelling words aloud, dictation



The ‘Optional Spelling Practice Ideas’ sheets, included in the Joyful Heart Spelling Skills teacher guide, have activities listed that fit each of these learning styles as well.


Each learning style is addressed within the study of Joyful Heart Spelling Skills – providing increased learning opportunities!


Joyful Heart Spelling Skills

JHSS Part 1 Cover

Spelling – Write it a Different Way

So far, in our look into the Joyful Heart Spelling Skills (JHSS) curriculum, we have learned…


JHSS has a Biblical emphasis and implements copywork and dictation of God’s living Word.

JHSS introduces children to spelling rules in a step by step progression.

JHSS gives children daily practice in order to further learn and apply spelling rules.


Another way of practicing our spelling skills is by using the ‘Write It – a Different Way’ sheet.  One day for each spelling rule/skill within Joyful Heart Spelling Skills, children are given a sheet that contains a variety of enjoyable and engaging ways to practice spelling skills.  What child wouldn’t want to write their words in shaving cream, paint their words with water on the sidewalk, or form their words with small blocks?  Just shade the diamond next to the mode of practice you wish your child to use to practice the new spelling rule/skill, provide the materials, and let them have fun learning their spelling words!  They need to say each word aloud, spell it orally, and then write it in the way noted on the sheet. Next, they check their word formation letter by letter and then place a checkmark on the sheet before continuing to the next word.


Writing words in

sand, flour, cornmeal, rice, or shaving cream.




Writing words on

a dry erase board, a chalkboard, a magna doodle, a window with a window marker, or the sidewalk with water and a paintbrush.





Forming words with

Wiki Stix, playdough, beans, small blocks, etc.  Children can get creative and use other items that you may have on hand as well (toothpicks, paperclips, sequins, etc.)!  Let them have fun!





My children look forward to ‘Write it – a Different Way’ day!


Please come back tomorrow as I’ll be wrapping up our week-long peek into Joyful Heart Spelling Skills by pointing out how multiple learning styles are addressed.



Joyful Heart Spelling Skills

JHSS Part 1 Cover

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