Spelling is one of those subjects that you can get by on with out having to purchase a curriculum. If you've got a dictionary you're good. If you're creative and have a dictionary you're in even better shape! If you're organized about creating your own age appropriate word list from your dictionary then you definitely get an A+!
I however need word lists made up for me to share with my kids. It just makes life a little easier to have this done for me. I tried one year having a go at not using a spelling book and I felt like I needed some spelling support (that's what I like to call it any way).
We had a wonderful time with the dictionary, but I needed a tad bit more structure (for me).
So, to keep things from getting boring in spelling, and to keep the kids from feeling like they have to memorize a list of random words that mean absolutely nothing to them, and to keep them from pulling their hair out when I pull out a nicely arranged age appropriate list of 20 words to know by Friday, we try to bring in fun activities that don't feel like school.
One of those activities is a spelling word search.
You will need graph paper for this activity.
I first section off a piece of the graph paper. You don't want the section to be so big that they are forever filling in random letters. You just want it big enough to fit the entire list comfortably in the designated area.
I am usually not allowed to look or watch them make their word search. I am the one who has to find all the words when they are finished, so they don't want me seeing!
They place their words in all directions. Up, down, backward, forward, and diagonally.
When they are finished placing their words where they want them, they can start filling in all the empty squares.
Once they have finished with their word search they hand it over to me and see how long it takes me to find all their words. They deliberately try to make it as hard as they can for me.
This is a fun way for them to "write" out their words. We like this exercise a lot for spelling since it really is a game.