Homeschool Vocabulary Curriculum Forum

Good morning all! Welcome to another homeschool curriculum forum. Today we’ll be discussing vocabulary curriculum!


This upcoming year will be the first year I’m introducing a more formal vocabulary program into our homeschool. Up until now we’ve just been reviewing words that come with our spelling program and in our Abeka readers.

However this year we’re going to be working through Wordly Wise workbooks just to include a little more vocabulary focused work. I’ve heard fairly good reviews for Wordly Wise products. However I’ve also been cautioned that they are a secular curriculum so some of the terms used might not be appropriate if you prefer Christian materials.



  • Fairly inexpensive workbooks.
  • Students work independently.


  • Secular curriculum.
  • TBD as we progress through it!


One other vocabulary curriculum I’ve had my eye on and planned to use this year, but haven’t been great at it are the Vocabulary Cartoons. It is a book full of funny cartoons that help students remember vocabulary words through visual reminders as well as mnemonics.



  • Fun and memorable cartoons
  • Includes reviews and quizzes after every 10 or so words.


  • Only two levels are available, the elementary and SAT word power.
  • Unless you want to use the book to “show” students the cartoons, it is difficult to photocopy pages to allow students to color them.


So, now comes the fun part!

What are your favorite Vocabulary curriculum, resources, websites, etc? Leave a comment below discussing your choices for this year and why.

Feel free to ask questions or reply to each other too!

It’s my way of doing a forum without actually doing a forum haha!

And hopefully this will help us all as we start the process of researching curriculum, and trying to decide what will be the best fit for our homeschool.

Note: Please keep today’s conversations geared towards VOCABULARY, I will be posting one for each subject separately so we can keep our comments organized.

Click here if you missed my previous Homeschool Curriculum Forum posts!

Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post, I may however be affiliated with one or more products mentioned. The opinions expressed in this post were not influenced by the company. They are products I have used and felt like sharing, cuz’ it’s my blog and I can if I want to.


  1. Allyson says:

    We use English From the Roots Up. We also use Prima Latina for Latin and that has helped my son’s vocabulary very much. I have also made lists of homonyms/homophones that I give him periodically to look at.

  2. Cassie DiStefano says:

    We used Wordly Wise for my third grader this year. Like you said, she just worked through it independently. The words are just regular words that they may already know but they usually have more than one meaning. Each word lists each definition, the part of speech and an example sentence. I like just reading through the list with my daughter to show her how one word can be used in so many different ways and as a different part of speech. There are about 4-6 activities for each word list, including a reading comprehension, and the activities themselves are what make this such a great vocabulary program. They are really geared to make the student think outside the box. My daughter will breeze through reading comprehension (Abeka read and think) with multiple choice answers but the reading comprehension in Wordly Wise really makes her think. They have to answer in their own sentences and use a vocabulary word in their sentence if one is not used in the question.

    I have already purchased book 4 for her for “next year” and book 2 for my son. This will be the first time he will be using vocabulary besides occasional science vocabulary. This year I didn’t have an answer key and made checking her work very time consuming! I made sure to purchase answer keys this year! They too are inexpensive at under $4.

    I haven’t seen any material to make me worry that it is not Christian material but I will be aware now.

    • What level did you start with for your 3rd grader? Mine will be in 3rd, and we have not done formal vocab. Her normal speech is pretty advanced, though.

      • Cassie DiStefano says:

        We used book 3 that a friend had as an extra. She had half a year of vocab (about 10 words per list) when she was in public school 2nd grade. Then this year she had three vocab words including with her spelling list in Abeka 3rd grade spelling. When our friend gave us book 3 of Wordly Wise I told her we would just go through it at our own pace. She is above grade level in reading and comprehension but this was challenging (just the right level of challenging I think) because of the format.

        I will be getting book 4 for her and book 2 for my second grader. From what I previewed, I think they are pretty much “grade level” equivalent with their book numbers.

  3. Carol S. says:

    I’ve also used Wordly Wise with my two teens. I will most likely be starting it with my younger kids as well this year. I had to laugh at what Cassie said about not buying the (very inexpensive) answer keys one year. I, too, found that to be a big mistake and ended up buying them. WW gets rave reviews on Cathy Duffy’s website and I have found that to be accurate. It’s easy to use, inexpensive, easy to correct (with the answer keys!) and teaches very useful words. No, it’s not a Christian workbook, but I haven’t found anything objectionable in the workbooks at this point. There are many worthwhile vocabulary programs out there, but WW seems to get the job done without the high price tag of some other options.

  4. I have been looking into Wordly Wise, and love the word lists they use. I also like the activities they provide to reinforce learning the words.

    Wordly Wise also has some free stuff on their website, such as word lists for each book and an audio for each lesson…(some books, not all)

    Wordly Wise can also be done online instead of the workbook approach. That can also be purchased through…it was on sale a while ago…not sure if it still is right now…but worth checking!!

    Love these blog forums Erica! Thanks for all your time!

    • Vanessa Anderson says:

      I too love homeschool buyers co-op! I just posted it on here not realizing someone already did. The deal is still on and I think it’ll be there for awhile. Anyhow, have you used it online? I used the workbook but I think online would be a better fit for us. 🙂

  5. I used to use Wordly Wise way back when I used to teach in an Episcopal elementary school. I liked them then and remember having little slips they could fill out to get extra points if they found a Wordly Wise word in their reading. We filled a whole bulletin board with them.

  6. I started using Wordly Wise this year with my oldest. (15 yrs. old) He has always been very advanced in his spelling & vocabulary so I went with a grade ahead to give him a challenge. So, far we both LOVE it! My boys work mostly independently for all their lessons anyways, so this just fit right in.
    Both my boys also use Memoria Press Latin. And the oldest requested to learn Greek this year.

    • My kids are learning greek and latin too. I think you’ll find they will have a greater enjoyment in vocabulary because of knowing those root languages

  7. We have used Wordly Wise some over the years. I’m not sure how much my children remember from it but they did work through them independently.

    Now I usually just make up flash cards with Latin or Greek words and add cards each week. My son puts them in a “correct” and “incorrect” pile when he works through them and then keeps going through the “incorrect” pile until he gets them all right.

  8. Kathleen Calabrese says:

    We have used Wordly Wise for several years. My youngest son will just be starting with it in Sept. My oldest son loves it. It is fairly simple, he does it on his own and it has definitely expanded his vocabulary.
    I recommend it.

  9. Samantha Lehmann says:

    I am all about loving learning connections lately. We turned off the tv for Lent. Easter ends this Sunday and we are keeping it off until Pentecost…. Well… We will see. So, Timberdoodle has this game. Almost $30 so pricey… Maria’s Words, I think. It’s a stack off 155 picture cues and words you use to predict the meaning. We really want it and tried to win it twice. Hubby just lost two big contracts, so we are just trying to keep the kids home next year… Even if we eat ramen! So, it is high on our list for birthdays etc. your three love living math… Bet they’d love it.

  10. Amy Machin says:

    If you go to the Wordly Wise website ( and click on “Student,” it will take you to an interactive area. You can either go through the word lists by book level (it will read the word to hear correct pronunciation & give you the definition) or you can play games (concentration, etc.).
    So having said that, we have not bought the books but use the website. (BTW, it’s free thus far!!)
    I’m also looking into incorporating Latin vocabulary too…eventually…

  11. Courtney says:

    We used Wordly Wise this past year for our 4th & 5th grader & we loved it!! It was easy to use & very helpful. My girls learned so many new words & it was very easy for them to do the lessons independently. We already received their test scores for this year & in vocabulary both girls scored at a High School level. : ) I would highly recommend! 🙂

  12. My kids will be in 3rd & 1st in September. I have not done a Spelling or Vocabulary curriculum before. We did My Father’s World 1st grade for my 2nd grader this year because he was struggling with reading and it really helped. He’s still not the most confident reader, but he is reading now! Anyway, would Wordly Wise be something I can use as Spelling and Vocabulary together? I’m not sure which to do, I don’t want him to miss out on important lessons, but I also do not want to overload him with stuff.

    • Cassie DiStefano says:

      I have heard of people using the lists as spelling words as well. If you look at their website it shows you the whole word lists for each grade level so you can decide if they would work for you before you buy.

  13. I’m planning on starting Wordly Wise next year with my second grader. Any advice on what materials are necessary at that age? I’ve definitely gotten the impression that the teacher’s guide isn’t, but will I be sorry if I don’t purchase an answer key for that level? Are the tests helpful, or is there enough material in the workbook to make them unnecessary?

    • Cassie DiStefano says:

      I’m not planning on using any tests for Wordly Wise. I’d say that the exercises are enough. Definitely get the answer key. I didn’t have a teacher guide this year so I am not purchasing one for next year. I usually just read through the list and all the definitions with my child on Monday and then they work independently through the week on the activities.

  14. Adrianne says:

    My son used Word Roots this year but I was planning on going with Wordly Wise 3000 for next year. I am so please to hear all of the postive reviews!

  15. Hi Erica, thanks for having these forums! They are very helpful as I am planning my curriculum for next year (I am doing my research before my homeschooling convention in June). My daughter will be in 2nd grade and I hadn’t even thought of including Vocabulary into the curriculum!

  16. I just purchased Marie’s Words at our recent homeschool convention. It is a stack of 550 index cards with pictures to help learn the meanings. On the back of the card it has the definition, synonyms, antonyms, pronunciation, and a sentence using the word. My son will be starting 2nd grade so I am thinking of doing a card each week or maybe more frequently if he likes it. 🙂

  17. I would also like to know what materials are necessary to begin Wordly Wise. You all talk as though you only order the Student book, and not the teacher??

    • Cassie DiStefano says:

      Regina & Linda,

      Definitely can leave out the teacher guide. I just read through the words and definitions with my child on Monday and then they work independently through the week. Order the answer key to check work! =) Only about $4.

      • Where are you purchasing the answer key at? I am only finding the Wordly Wise K book and teacher manual. The K book is between $10-12 and the teacher guide is between $63-75.

        I do not see an answer key available.

  18. I have the same query as Regina… The teacher’s book costs USD75+ and that’s a lot more expensive than the student book. Can we leave out the teacher’s book?

  19. cynthia says:

    I don’t see just an answer key for $4…

    • Cassie DiStefano says:

      I bought mine on and they had the answer key for under $4. The workbooks were less expensive there also.

      • cynthia says:

        Thanks! As I look at the level 2 book, it seems like it would be boring. Any thoughts, anyone that’s used the program?

        • My very advanced 2nd grader did level 2 and really enjoyed it. It wasn’t terribly challenging for her but she wasn’t bored by it either.

  20. we use Vocabu-Lit love this program. Lessons are simple, not overwhelming, but my kids learn a lot. I love that it uses vocab from Classic and modern literature. There is so much great literature out there, that it would be impossible to read it all. I like that my kids are exposed to different things out there and we can choose to read something in more detail if we choose to, but if not, then they have at least been exposed to the names of the books.

    • Thank you, Angel! I just checked this out and, Wow!!! I love the look of this for my young son! I really appreciate your sharing this!

    • Hey, I know this is an older post, but I’m looking into vocabulary for my second grader next year. Would we need the teacher edition also for this, or just the student edition workbook? Thanks so much!

      • I don’t usually get the teacher’s guide, but it takes a bit longer to grade that way. But so far I haven’t really needed them.

  21. Has anyone used Horizons spelling and vocabulary set? Curious.

  22. We use
    With my older kids, we use it with our Apologia Science vocabulary words. I create a word list for them and they play some of the definition match-it games. I’ve also printed some worksheets for them. It has helped them reinforce and get a better understanding of the scientific terminology.
    With our youngest daughter, I make up a list of vocabulary words from whatever book we are reading that week for better comprehension. We’ve really gotten a lot of use from this website.

  23. I havent been using a curriculum because we just read so many books. we have been making a vocabulary book and everytime we come across a word that the kids dont know in the reading I have them look it up in the dictionary and then the copy the definition (sometimes we rephrase it to make it more simple) and then they draw a picture of something that they think of when hearing the word. Every 8-10 words we go back and review them all and look at the pictures and talk about other ways of using them. since most of the time they are pretty big words and above the spelling level (my oldest is 2nd grade) we dont necessarily practice spelling it. so far it has been good and I feel like my kids have a great vocabulary but Im wondering if I need to be doing something more. Is there a whole lot more to a vocabulary curriculum? do I need to be doing something formal? thanks for any input you may have!!

  24. Vanessa Anderson says:

    This past year I used Wordly Wise with my 2nd grader (workbook). I too felt a way about it being secular and all, however, when we come across things like “one million years ago” I was prepared with an explanation.

    I do like this program, however, this year I will not be using the workbooks but I’ll be using them online. I’m a part of homeschool buyers co-op which is FREE and they provide it at a discounted rate. If your interested, please look into it and sign up. You can save up to 89%… making it $39.95 for a year’s subscription for one child and $29.95 for any others.

    Hope I could be a blessing to someone! 🙂

    • Vanessa
      Could you please identify the homeschool buyers co-op.

    • I have been looking at the online version of Word Wisely for next year. Have you compared it to the workbook you used? Do you like it? Do your kids like using the computer with it? I am still debating but my daughter loves computer work and tends to not be a workbook person so was thinking that would be good, but I don’t want too much computer work. Are the lessons short? Do you know? Sorry for all the questions. i’ve really been contemplating it. Thanks.

  25. Heather says:

    I never liked Wordly Wise 3000 or its predecessor. My older two always asked why they were doing it as it was filled with words they already knew from reading. We found it to be nothing but busywork.

    Most elementary kids who read a great deal will not have any need for a formal vocabulary program until they have finished their spelling sequence…usually around 6th grade. Many programs (Spelling Workout, Rod and Staff, for example) switich over to a more vocabulary type study in 7th or 8th grade. High schoolers usually use a formal vocabulary program to prepare for the SAT or ACT tests.

    A few workbook options I know of are Vocabulary from Classical Roots, Word Roots (has software, too), and Sadlier-Oxford. You don’t need program at all if your kids are studying Latin and/or Greek and are reading well-written books.

  26. Has anyone used Vocabulary from Classical Roots? It’s inexpensive and I’ve heard great things about it. I think we will try it this year.

  27. I just got Wordly wise for my 7th grader.
    We just started our homeschooling journey. We are homeschooling this year through a Charter school and I am thrilled that some of this “non-traditional” curriculum is offered.

    the Wordly Wise 7 –My son who is vocabulary challenged (up until last year in 6th grade)
    Likes to do this workbook, and it is making Vocabulary interesting.
    He is really understanding vocabulary better, and is LOVING to read further…(Im thankful for that because all he wants to do is math and science….LOL)

    There is a website that they can go on attached to each unit and learn more about the vocab words and play games with those words. Very cool tool.

    I wouldnt choose some of the sentence structures they use. That being said, I think it is a great tool for teaching about some of the things I dont agree with 100%. Some of the words are a little easy.
    I dont see many more cons, but we have just started like I said.

    Thank you for your blog, I love reading about your journey too. I have 5 kids, ranging from College to 5th grade so reading blogs like yours is saving me from crazy right now! HA HA. 🙂

  28. lisayvonne says:

    We use vocabulary curriculum from beestar. Questions are all very good and my daughter finds the questions interesting and challenging. She loves to compete on this site with other kids from a lot of other states.

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