Spelling is one of those subjects that in the summer when I am planning out for the next years learning, I have all sorts of grand plans for. Over the years I have tried out several different spelling curriculum but after a month or two I always go back to doing spelling more casually. Instead of doing it separately I include it in everything we are doing. Fortunately for me also, my daughter despite not teaching spelling to her formally as a separate subject, has very naturally became an excellent speller. I'm not sure if this is due to the huge quantity of books she has read over the years or if it is just something that would have came easily for her no matter how she was taught.
Spelling did NOT come easily for me. I remember as a child before our schools annual spelling bee, my mom drilling words to me for hours out of a book that seemed to have a million words I had to learn. This was never pleasant and tears were always involved. Still, I am glad that my mom spent the extra time with me that I needed as one year I won. (sure it was a small school but don't deflate my balloon hahah)
With my son's extra challenges I have never really pushed spelling with him in the same way I have reading, math and writing. He can spell most simple sight words but for right now he is a year behind the level that he can actually read. He can read many words that he couldn't begin to know how to spell yet- if that makes sense. Both kids also love to do spelling games online. There's nothing like having them learn how to spell when they think they are just playing a game! Also, I love Bananagrams as all levels of learners can play together.
I do think there is a lot of importance in knowing how to spell. The great thing about home education is the fact that I can tailor it individually to both of my children. Z~girl learns naturally with her other subjects and reading on her own. (she writes down unfamiliar words and looks them up later) A~man has learned simple spelling with his sight words and will hopefully continue to learn to spell bigger words as his reading advances. I will say, even though I am a fairly good speller...I am so thankful for spell/check. NOW if I could find similar way to check my imperfect grammar. ;)