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Spelling… My Thoughts on Abeka vs. BJU Press


While we did get all our BJU Press subjects in our huge Distance Learning bundle, I am just not a fan of Bob Jones Spelling. 

It is a commonly known fact that Bob Jones Spelling is pretty easy, and Abeka Spelling can be fairly hard. It is shocking to me the great difference between the two.

Haylee did well last year with the Abeka Spelling, and I just couldn’t bear to take what would seem to be a big step backwards with a ‘too easy for her’ Spelling.  Even if it meant NOT using the Spelling Books and video classes we had already paid for!

I am not an expert, and I do not claim to know everything, but here is my opinion


BJU Press has 24-26 or so words. No vocabulary and no poetry. They do have a journal topic every week which is nice.

Abeka has 18-24 words with vocabulary each week and a poetry section as well. The words toward the end of the book include three and four syllable words, whereas toward the end of the BJUP the words were almost ALL one and two syllables.

List 32, i.e.… THIRTY TWO weeks into 3rd grade and the BJU words are law, jaw, raw saw paw, claw, draw, thaw, all, tall, fall, call, hall, ball, wall, etc.   I’m NOT kidding. Those are the actual words in list 32!

Just look at the difference in these two…


I REALLY hated to spend any MORE money since {as I’ve mentioned one or twenty times} we already have  A LOT of buckaroos invested in her curriculum already, BUT I went ahead and ordered the Abeka 3rd grade student book off ebay.

That means Haylee is skipping the Spelling video lessons, and we’re just doing our effortless and mostly self-directed routine we had down pat last year. 

We used Spelling City every week… twice a week, and I am a BIG FAN.  I have all the Lists for the ENTIRE year already on my “page,” and I added it as an icon on the desktop making it easy-peasy for her to find.  That way I don’t have to rely on myself to mess with updating the words the whole year.  They are done and ready to go!

Here’s a Spelling City Tip… your curriculum’s lists may already be shared by another user, so you won’t be stuck manually entering thirty odd lists.  Just look through the List Sharing Thread and see if your curriculum/grade is there.  If you find it, {while you’re logged in} click the “import” button on each list you want to move.  Make sure you start with the LAST list, so on your page they will end up in order starting with #1.

Here is our Daily Spelling Routine

  1. Say-Spell-Say all words aloud
  2. Recite aloud the poem for the month
  3. Do one of the following daily activities

Monday… Word Build Write using a cookie sheet and alphabet magnets.  I need to splurge on another set, since the Haylee-girl often had to be creative when she needed a double of one of the letters.  :)


Tuesday… Exercises in Spelling Book

Wednesday… Spelling City Game {Free pick… whatever game she wants to play!}


Thursday… Spelling City PreTest {Click “say it” and the computer calls out the word. She types it, and at the end it will tell her any she missed.}

spelling city spelling test{via}

Friday… Test with Mom

This seemed to work really well for us, and made an otherwise somewhat boring of a class FUN!

What are some Spelling extras and activities YOU love?

{I hope I didn’t offend any BJU Spelling lovers… not my intent.  The VAST differences in the two curriculums were shocking to me, so I wanted to share my thoughts!}

smiley_face_bw free

8 Responses to Spelling… My Thoughts on Abeka vs. BJU Press
  1. Bette
    September 13, 2011 | 5:22 pm

    Couldn't have said it better myself and I do claim to be an expert. (Would be kinda sad if I taught 40 years and wasn't one, now wouldn't it!??!!) So now if Abeka would just follow BJU's lead and do better DVD's. Glad you are more concerned with Haylee getting the best education possible than the money, although that is a 'bummer' that you had to pay twice for 3rd grade Spelling! Love that website – sure helps to spice up a typical boring subject. Proud of the job you're doing. BTW – welcome home; you've been missed!

  2. Leah
    September 13, 2011 | 8:05 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I am using ABeka now with Caleb, but have still been exploring other curricula to see what is the best for next year and following…The differences are amazing and I would def. be going with Abeka spelling if it were between those two. I will tuck this away in my mind for later. :)

  3. Bakershalfdozen
    September 14, 2011 | 1:46 pm

    I knew that BJU is stronger in Math & Science and that Abeka has a better Phonics & Language program, but I had no idea the difficulty of the Spelling words were so drastically different! :/

  4. Kathy W.
    September 16, 2011 | 6:10 pm

    On the other hand, I believe BJU is trying to solidify the basic patterns of individual syllables before moving onto multi-syllable rules in 4th – 6th.
    It's great that your daughter is confident in her spelling skills, but for some children perhaps BJU would be a better fit.

  5. KayinCA
    September 27, 2011 | 4:31 am

    I love your site! Thank-you for the insight. I used BJU 4th grade spelling briefly last year but need to concentrate on vocabulary and strong spelling this year, so I am going to use ABEKA. I love their poetry selections and with SpellCity (thank-you for the link), spelling and poetry should be a winner this year! Thanks again!

  6. Anonymous
    November 19, 2011 | 4:19 am

    My daughter struggles with spelling, so learning the word families in BJU helps immensely. I think ABEKA pushes kids hard in those early years, but it's not necessarily beneficial. It will all balance out in the end. My daughter's best friend works a grade ahead in ABEKA (doing 4th grade whereas my daughter is doing BJU's 3rd grade) I always thought she must be so far ahead in spelling etc., but found out she couldn't spell some simple words on a field trip we were on, so… One thing to consider too is that BJU let''s you move up a level in 2 subjects if necessary. They are very accommodating.

  7. Briana Marshall
    July 24, 2013 | 5:04 pm

    I have been using ABEKA up through 2nd grade. I am planning to try BJU for 3rd grade….I also like Spelling City….My experience with ABEKA spelling is that I had to really push forward with my daughter, age 8, to make the spelling words happen each week….For her, the pace of the spelling is a little too fast, and I believe we are going to enjoy the patterns of the spelling words in BJU….looking forward to giving it a try….I have been very happy with her reading ability with ABEKA….the math section has been going too quickly, so I am looking forward to a steady pace with BJU videos for math…..
    I also like Click N Kids for spelling…my daughter enjoys it as an additional computer activity…..

  8. Debbie
    September 11, 2013 | 4:49 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that as of 9/13, BJU has changed grade 3 spelling book, and it is wonderful. Words are challenging and great skills are presented in an exciting way.