I was talking to a friend who was complaining about having to drill her 11-year old boy on spelling. The boy goes to a different international school here and in that school, he's actually taught many rules of spelling. As many as 16 rules, which I find kind of absurd. Something like if a word ends with a vowel, say, Hope, then you don't add a p before -ing, so it's Hoping, but if it ends with a consonant, say Hop, then you add a p, it becomes Hopping. I may be wrong with my examples, but this is the gist of it. Even for words ending with -sion or -tion, apparently there's a rule for that, if it's someone's job/profession, then it ends with -sion. Really??
On the other hand, at Sean's elementary school, I don't think spelling is even taught. They don't even correct misspelt words, as far as I know. Sean is generally fine with spelling and this is from reading lots. I've never had to give him lists of spelling to learn from, and no, no drilling ever. I believe kids who read a lot will find spelling relatively easy, recalling from memory words they've seen in print and noticing patterns in different words.
And then there's this, where teachers 'correct' spellings which aren't even wrong in the first place!