With all of that said, that's not exactly how we ended up doing things. With Autism and ADHD, we sometimes have to mix it up a bit! So each day we would go over the little rhyme, until Mr. B had memorized it. On the first day I would take the card and give him a traditional style spelling test. The words he had issue with, I would put a dot next to. Each dot represented the number of tries it took to get it right. This allowed us to focus more on the problem areas to reduce any sort of confusion. We did this daily, focusing on the words he needed more help with while still throwing in some of the ones he knew, until he was getting them all correct. Once he could get them all correct with me speaking them slowly I would put in the CD. At that point, I had him do the program as designed, and he would have to score a 100% via the disk before moving on. With that said, this was no a quick moving program due to the way I chose to use it. But again, with autism/ADHD, concessions must be made at times. I would much rather move slowly and ensure mastery rather than move quickly and ensure mediocrity.
Does Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level A Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?
1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?
As you can see from my adaptations, it is easily adaptable. It's not an online based, or timed program, so you can easily move at your own pace. I would not jump ahead and skip anything since spelling is one of those subjects that builds on itself. It has taken us a while to get to the 3rd set where we are now, due to the way I've shaped it to fit our needs, but I still would not skip anything to move faster. That would defeat the purpose I think.
2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?
There are NO hidden fees. You get your package, and it contains everything you need except paper and pen. Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level A is intended for grades 3-5, though older students who need spelling help could also use it. It is not "baby'ish" in anyway. You are locked into the level you choose because of the nature of the product. It is long lasting, and will accomplish a full year's worth of spelling.
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?
This is the tricky question. It's going to depend on your child. Mr. B has autism and ADHD, and usually too much repetition bores him and causes learning/progressing issues. This did not. He thoroughly enjoyed repeating the lessons until he scored 100%. Each daily lesson is pretty short lived. I think the most we spent on any day was 20 minutes. The variety of words, and the complexity of the words, in my opinion are a good ADHD challenge that will keep interest and attention. The audio CD's warrant the need to pay attention, close attention, in order to get all of the words. That will challenge ADHD students to focus, as well as students with autism to really focus on the spoken communication and make sense of what is being said.
4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.
This is just spelling, so there's no additional subjects covered really. It's not like the writing program that utilizes passages on other topics to teach the writing.