For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Monday, January 2, 2012

Language Arts at Our House

Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

I find it always interesting to see or hear what others use in their homeschool, and how they make a certain curriculum work for them. So,when I heard about the Homeschool Curriculum Fair over at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds I thought this would be great to participate in.  Every week in January we will let you in on how we tackle a different school subject in our respective homeschooling homes.

The first week of the fair, which is this week, is dedicated to Language Arts.

So, I'll tell you a bit of how I do Language Arts at our house.

First off when I think Language Arts I think of Reading, Literature,  Phonics, Spelling, Grammar, Writing, Vocabulary and Comprehension. Now, my boys are 6 and 8 and not all of these subjects need to be taught at that age level, so I don't.

Both my boys read early without formal training except for Starfall (after I noticed that they actually sight read). When they were preschoolers they watched lots of Blues' Clues and Super Why. Our kids also were read to a lot in the earlier years up until recently. (We need to get back to doing more of that.)   They both read above grade level with good comprehension, so I do not do any formal reading subject.

Also, when they were younger they used to know how to spell too but somehow lost it. My problem though is that they both hate holding a pen, so writing and spelling are very hard for me to implement in our homeschool. What I am doing no, though sporadically, is using phonic tiles and teach them rules about spelling, as well as have them copy sight words. I started using Writing with Ease this year but found it hard to keep up with, as it is very teacher intensive. It is a very good program for writing, which I will try to still use but only may be once a week,as opposed to 4 times a week. I love it because it teaches kids to think through the passage they are exposed to, and also have them do copywork or dictation, which is really good for spelling and developing good writing skills.

Although at the moment I do not sweat the spelling and the writing in our Language Arts teaching, we do a lot of Grammar. My oldest has a very enriched vocabulary and speaks well. So I figured it would not hurt to start Grammar and started him with First Language Lessons when he was 5. We did Level 1 and 2 and enjoyed it. In grade 2 we switched to Bob Jones English Grammar 2, and though it went well, I thought it was more busy work than actual teaching so switched back this year to First Language Lessons, level 4. This is going well so far. Although it is repetitive and teacher intensive, I like that it is straight Grammar and you really learn how the language works.  It is a scripted curriculum and heavy on diagramming. I like that it includes narrations as well as dictations which we do from time to time.

I believe that Language Arts is rather important, and a strong point in my eldest that needs to be nurtured, so this year I have added Micael Clay Thompson Language Arts program to our line up:
  • Grammar Island: set in story form it is great for understanding and practicing word identification and functions in sentences.
  • Building Vocabulary: Great for studying roots and stems.
  • The Music of the Hemisphere : study of poetry. I can't comment yet as this is for later in the year.

To add to our Language Arts, I am always on the look out for games. They use E-learning for Kids, or site like on the computer,  grammar apps on the Playbook, and board games such as Scrabble and Jumble Plus.

Another thing that is very big at our house is audiobooks. My boys love audiobooks and there is always one running in the background in the house. This is great for introducing Classics and for enriching vocabulary. My boys, especially my eldest, is not a fiction book reader (he rather go for fact books), however,I have been able to have him read a lot of classics (that he actually was able to enjoy) through audiobooks. You can check my literature tab to see a running lists of the books they have enjoyed so far.

So, this is how we do Language Arts at our house. If you want more picks into other homeschoolers' homes, make sure to visit the blogs below and be inspired and encouraged:

Reading on Time by Cindy Horton @ Fenced in Family

Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Christa Darr @ Fairfield Corner Academy

Reading and Beyond: Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World

Language Arts that Work for Us by Melissa @ Grace Christian School

Learning Language at Our House by Jessica @ Modest Mama

Virtual Curriculum Fair: Language Arts by Christine T. @ Our Homeschool Reviews

The Learning of Language by Dawn @ tractors & tire swings

Reading and Spelling: Modifying the Magic by Pam @ Pam and Everyday Snapshots

An In Depth Look at All About Spelling by Missouri Mama @ Ozark Ramblings

Virtual Curriculum Fair: Let's Talk About Words by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Why We Love Classical Conversations Essentials (and how I know that is not a complete sentence!) by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Virtual Curriculum Fair---Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Angie @ Petra School

Whole Language vs. Phonics by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic

It's All About the Art of Language by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning

Watching Movies for Language Arts Class by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest

Only 5 Spelling Tests a Year! (Can we do that?) by LP @ Just Pitching my Tent

Playing with Words by Chrissy @ Learning is an Adventure

Virtual Curriculum Fair Week One Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Leah Courtney @ The Courtney Six Homeschool Blog

Playing with Words, the Language Arts by Cindy @ For One Another

Heart of Dakota- The Fine Details part 1- Language Arts by Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles


Lynn said...

great post. Thanks for sharing about how you use your curriculum.. and thanks for stopping by my blog to read mine.. Looking forward to reading more this month :)

Our Homeschool Reviews said...

My dd still loves Starfall. :)

Cindy said...

My oldest loved Starfall too, but the 2nd one never really got interested in it. In my experience, your boys not wanting to hold a pen/pencil at their age is VERY normal. Mine are 11, 7, and 4. The 11 year old does more writing now and doesn't seem to mind anymore - I guess I first noticed a change about six months ago when he was 10 1/2. The 7 year old does a very little bit of writing with our spelling program, but I don't ask much from him yet.

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