A few months ago we splurged and I got myself a new computer*. It was a pretty decent deal from Dell. Since we decided to put a school room upstairs and because I make a lot of my own school material on the computer, I finally realized I could do some of that work during actual school time if I only had a halfway decent computer upstairs.
Because I'm often making my own materials, I needed the typical suite of office-related software. I was very familiar with Microsoft Office products and had assumed I would need to purchase them. But no! My geekily awesome husband discovered OpenOffice. (I have not yet downloaded the newest version so all of my comments are based on an older copy.)
OpenOffice has the same functionality as Microsoft Office. Word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs are all included. It even has a database program which is above and beyond what Microsoft usually provides in its Office suite.
I've been using it for a while. It opens regular Microsoft formats and can save in Microsoft formats too, if you're concerned about compatibility. I haven't had any issues with stability. Not all of the functionality is the same, however, and that's annoyed me a couple of times. My biggest issue was cutting and pasting from web pages. Because I like to use some of the resources from Ambleside Online, where there are free electronic versions, but my daughter doesn't like to read on the computer screen, I was trying to print out some of the electronic books. That turned out to be difficult, but I don't know that Word would have done any better.
I mention this because I thought I may as well post some of the phonics lists I've made. I want to keep them in a format that anyone could edit. That way any words that don't suit can be easily removed or other words added. I spent so much time making them, perhaps someone else can benefit as well. If you want to download them, you may also need to download OpenOffice if you don't already have a word processing program.
*Yes--the new computer does have Vista. Since I mostly surf the web and do typical office work, I really haven't seen a lot of issues. Really weird things do happen (like not recognizing mouse clicks on the task bar). Internet explorer is truly the most annoying though. The tabs are OK (not thrilled with them--wish you could tile windows). What really peeves me is that pop-up windows don't work properly. They pop-up and the main window also changes to that content.