This booklet from Sonlight Education Ministries is more of a teacher’s resource, but parts of it can be done with your children. In this post we outline the contents of this booklet (which you can download here) and when you will need it …. and we show you step-by-step how to make spelling cards! 🙂
When Will I Use This Booklet?
You may recall previously…
|0 – 7 years||Family Bible Lessons|
|8 years||Grade 1: Family Bible Lessons & start supplementing with your own first language curriculum.|
|9 – 14 years||Grades 2 – 8: Rainbow Covenant, Lesson 1 -> 13 & continue with your own first language curriculum; (optional: supplement with a maths curriculum)|
This booklet can be used during Grade 1 as a supplement to your language curriculum (more about this below under the heading ‘The First Grade’).
The Grades 2-8 academic lessons refer to spelling lists and spelling cards. If you are wanting to start Lesson 1, you will need this booklet for instructions on how to make these spelling cards.
What Is This Booklet All About?
So what all is in this booklet? Well, it’s divided up into four sections:
1. The Everlasting Covenant
This is a series of five bible lessons covering the story of Noah, along with some poems, stories and activities. This is the section that you would go through with your kids. Each bible lesson has a few spelling words, which is great for getting your Spiritual Spelling Dictionary Card Collection (that’s a mouthful!) started. The lessons are fairly short and so can easily be covered in five days (Mon – Fri). Try doing a bible lesson and then slowly working through pages 11 – 24 where you will find poems, stories activities etc. Also, the lessons have much to do with rainbows and the flood and so they are great for continuing the rainbow theme on from the Rainbow Covenant. The last page of this section (page 25) has some excellent ideas on making Language study more practical when reading stories (for example, identifying sentence types (statements, questions and exclamations) and also paying attention to quotation marks to recognize actual words spoken).
2. The First Grade
This sections explains in more detail Sonlight’s recommendations for Grade 1. In a nutshell, it is recommended that a full year be spent on language skills (reading, writing, spelling, speaking etc) before beginning any other academic subjects because “a good reader, writer, speller, and speaker usually excels quickly in all other classes.” And so it is very important to have a good solid foundation laid before progressing to the Grade 2-8 lessons. If your child is struggling with reading and writing, you may need to take longer than a year – and that is fine. During this year you would also begin making Spelling Lists from the Bible (see section 4 below) and starting to build your Spiritual Dictionary Card collection (see section 4 below).
3. Spelling Basics
This optional section you would work through after that good foundation of Grade 1 has been laid. It can be used as a review that you can go through with your child. It has some great ideas for spelling games, how to learn spelling words, exercises on tricky words and dictation exercises.
4. Spelling Lists, Spelling Cards, Spelling Tests
This section teaches you how to make Spelling Lists from the Bible (an optional exercise you can do during Grade 1 and also during Grades 2-8 to supplement the regular spelling words from the academic subjects.) In this section you will also learn how to make Spelling Cards and start to build your own Spiritual Dictionary Card Collection. We will go through this in more detail below as you will use this throughout the Grade 2-8 lessons. Lastly some great ideas are given for spelling tests and also preparing for spelling tests.
Making Spelling Cards
Throughout the Grade 2-8 Lessons you will find spelling lists from the various academic subjects. From these lists you will make spelling cards and keep them together in a box. The number of cards you make each week will be determined entirely by the readiness of your children. Younger children will only make one card per week and older children possibly 3 cards per week. Sonlight also recommends that cards are only made every other week. This is not something to rush and try to get as many cards made as you can … but rather an opportunity to explore God’s Word and introduce the student to bible study skills. I love how Sonlight puts it: “… do not do so many cards that this becomes an endurance test for your child but rather make it an enjoyable exercise in learning about heavenly things“.
When I first looked at these spelling cards, I have to admit I felt a little overwhelmed … but in actual fact they are quite simple, yet powerful. We must remember that children soak up everything like a sponge and spelling words are no exception. What makes these spelling words a little different to a usual spelling list, is that a definition is added to it (along with a memory verse) AND a spiritual definition is also added (along with a memory verse). This is to teach our children to view things literally as well as spiritually. The same concept is used by Jesus in His parables, in nature object lessons and especially in Bible prophecy – each one has a literal meaning and a spiritual concept to be grasped as well.
On pages 65 and 66, Sonlight gives an example of a spelling card with instructions on how to make it. We’re going to go through this example step by step (with photos) and make our first spelling card together right now! My kids are quite young still and this type of word study is new to them, so we will initially be making these cards as simple as possible.
OK! Let’s get started!
You will need:
- index cards
- a box (to keep the index cards in)
Sonlight recommends the cards to be 4″ by 6″ (or roughly 10cm x 15cm) and page 67 gives you instructions for making a wooden box for storing your cards. I went to PNA and bought a pack of A6 white index cards and a plastic box to keep them in. I am a little disappointed that they are only lined on one side (the other side is blank), but it’s all they had so it will have to do! 🙂 I also got alphabetical page dividers of the same size.
You will also need:
- a good english dictionary
- Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries)
- KJV Bible
You may also need:
- Synonym dictionary
- Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary
1. Write the spelling word in print at the top left hand corner of the card. We’re going to copy the example on page 66 and so our word is ‘tongue’.
2. Using your dictionary, write the word in syllables. Unfortunately in our example, the word ‘tongue’ is just one syllable – so we left this step out.
3. Put down how to pronounce the word. I guess this would differ depending where you are in the world (eg. British English is different to American English), but here is an American English pronounciation guide. You would use your dictionary again for this step. Personally, I feel this is an advanced step, perhaps for older children, so perhaps use your own discretion here as to whether your children will understand or be confused by this step. Some language curriculums teach pronounciation to children and others don’t cover it at all.
4. Next we have two options. In the Sonlight example, they divide the rest of the card in two with a vertical line. On the left hand side is the literal meaning and on the right hand side is the spiritual meaning. Another option is to write the literal meaning on the front of the card and the spiritual meaning on the back of the card. We went with this option to give us more space.
5. a) Using your Strong’s Concordance, look up the word and find an example using the common or literal meaning.
Write this verse down either on the left hand side (if using a vertical line from point 4. above) or on the front of your card (as in our example below). You will most likely need to look up the full verse using your KJV Bible.
b) Write down the number of the word as it is used in the verse you selected from Strong’s Concordance. In our example, this is the number to the far right. Ours is a double quotation mark, meaning the same as the line above … so we follow the double quotation marks up a few lines up to the number ‘3956’.
c) Look up the Strong’s Concordance definition and write it down after the number. To do this we will turn to our Hebrew and Greek dictionaries at the back of the concordance. The Hebrew dictionary is for the Old Testament (as it was written in Hebrew) and the New Testament was written in Greek so it has a Greek dictionary. On our concordance, if the number is in italics, you need to look in the Greek dictionary (it would be a New Testament verse) and if the number is in normal print you would look in the Hebrew dictionary (for the Old Testament). In our example the number ‘3956’ is in normal print and the verse is found in Judges (Old Testament), so we will look up ‘3956’ in the Hebrew dictionary. Sonlight suggests using the “italicized words of the definition as these are the most accurate rendering of the translated definition”.
d) Using your dictionary, find and write down the definition that fits the verse you chose. You may include other common definitions here as well if you like.
6 a) Either flip over the card (or if you’re using the vertical line then on the right hand side) put the heading ‘Spiritual‘, ‘Symbolic‘ or ‘Heavenly‘. Now search your concordance for a spiritual or symbolic meaning of the same word. Not all words will have spiritual meanings, but if you find one, write it down. Ours is found in Acts 2:4.
b) Now comes the tricky part. If you can tell the word’s symbolic meaning (from the verse), write out a definition yourself as, most likely, the symbolic or spiritual definition will not be found in your concordance or dictionary. This will be something that you will learn over time by comparing scripture with scripture. Noah Websters 1828 dictionary is also helpful, but would most likely not contain prophetic symbolism. When you do find the symbolic meaning, you will have a key to help unlock the mysteries of heaven’s special code language(!). (On a side note, if you don’t have a Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary, it is worthwhile considering investing in one. Take a look at this youtube video from the Ten Boom Institute showing how dictionary definitions and values have evolved over the years. It’s heartbreaking how people’s principals and thinking have changed especially with what is now consider ‘truth’ and ‘law’. I can even see this degradation in my own English dictionary’s definition of the word ‘tongue’ compared to the dictionary definition used in the Sonlight example on page 66!)
7. Across the bottom of the front of your index card, write a full sentence using your spelling word, as it relates to the Bible lesson.
8.Optional extras for older children that you can also include on your index card are: etymology of the word (the historical origin), part of speech (noun, verb, adjective etc), synonyms, antonyms and other forms of the word.
Lastly, if you can’t find the word in Strong’s concordance, use a synonym dictionary (thesaurus) to find another word that has a similar meaning and then follow the same procedure above, but use your new synonym word.
And that’s it!
So, in the end, you will have a card with:
- the correct spelling of the word
- a literal definition and bible verse
- a spiritual definition and bible verse
- an example of how the word is used in a full sentence
I hope this helps you to tackle these spelling cards, to learn a new study skill while diving deep into God’s Word and of course to learn new meanings of words. Often, we think we understand what a word means, but upon looking up the word (for example, in Noah Websters’ 1828 dictionary), new and enhanced meaning is given to the verse we are meditating on. This is a great habit to establish while reading your Bible.
Have you tried making Spelling Cards from the Scriptures with your children? What apps have you found most useful? Share your experiences and tips with us in the comments below.
- Sonlight Grades 2-8 Lessons: Getting Started
- All Sonlight Education posts
- Parenting & Homeschooling Resources
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