The only vocabulary curriculum on the market, Worldly Wise 3000 has been around for decades and only gets better with each new edition. We are working out of the latest edition, which is the third.
Even though it is clearly written for classroom use, Wordly Wise 3000 can be easily adapted for homeschooling. We started out with the volumes for Kindergarten and First Grade, which require you buy the Teacher’s Manual, as well. After that, grades 2-12 do not require the Teacher’s Manual. So you only need to spend about $9 for a consumable student workbook per child. Rainbow Resource Center seems to have the best prices though you can find these everywhere else.
My children love this curriculum. Each lesson has a story, which I read out loud while they listen and look at the right picture in their student workbook. Each paragraph I read corresponds to a picture in their book. Then, they have to number the pictures in the order they happened in the story. There is a coloring page, a journaling page, and one or two other pages with words they must choose to match a picture.
It is a systematic way of teaching vocabulary and vocabulary is a strong indicator of future success. So yes, it is very important. Reading a lot is key also, but do you stop and look new words in the dictionary while reading? No, you don’t; nor should you.
That is why you need a systematic way to teach vocabulary and Wordly Wise 3000 will be your friend for life. Or, at least, until your last one graduates from high school.
What I found is that my children like this curriculum so much, they ask for more than one story per day. There are 15 lessons and you are supposed to spend two weeks on each lesson. But when you only have two children in the classroom, it all gets very efficient. One day, we did four lessons. They were still asking for more. I know the vocabulary itself was not that new or challenging to them, but I had to put a stop to it myself.
Imagine that. “Tomorrow is another day” used in a positive context. So the next day we did two lessons. And we always do at least two. As a result, we will finish this curriculum in two weeks. I just ordered the next three levels for them because I don’t want to hold them back. It will be interesting to see at what point they level off.
Learning vocabulary is supposed to happen through repetition: seeing words in different contexts and pictures, using them in their own sentences, maybe even drawing the concept. For Kindergarten and First Grade, Wordly Wise 3000 give you all sorts of exercises in the Teacher’s Manuals, but we don’t do them all. I have read so much to my children, they know 99% of these words already. To them, it’s more about the stories and the colorful exercises at this point.
Now and then, they don’t know what a word means but they get it from the context. Or, they have an idea about the meaning but it’s fuzzy. I asked them what “tropical” meant. They said, “tropical island.” Aha! I explained with a world map where tropical countries are found but that they are not all islands. It’s a lot of fun but then I love words.