Selecting Language Art's Curriculum
Homeschool parents today have a spectrum of choices when it comes to language arts curriculum. Rainbow Resource, the super center of all homeschool supply companies, offer 515 full curriculums, and over 700 individual items to help with grammar/usage/mechanics. Overwhelming! Instead of offering a review of specific products or endorsing one company over another, I want to offer a few tips regarding languages arts in general:
- Keep the long term goal in mind: The goal of all language arts curriculums should be to develop writing skills. In adult life, there are few times you are asked to indentify a verb and definitely never identify if it is written in the indicative mood, present tense, active voice, second person . You are, however, going to use one in your writing. Like I just did.
- Take into consideration where you are starting and how much time you have. A parent working with a 2nd grader who anticipates homeschooling through high school has a different situation than a parent working with a struggling 6th graders knowing that child has to fit into a traditional school program next year. Find the curriculum that meets your needs, which may or may not be the one used by all your friends.
- Show the necessity for writing. There are situations daily where you can show your child how writing is required in everyday life. Let them help make a grocery list, address the envelope when you pay a bill, or fill out a new patient form at the doctor. These are real life writing situations they will encounter all their lives.
- WRITE TOGETHER. One of my favorite activities to increase writing is to do student/parent response journals. Have your child write in a journal each day. Rather than grading their journal in the traditional sense, follow up their writing with your own written response in their journal. If they spell "impossible" wrong in their entry, chose to use that word in your entry. Underline the word in your writing to draw their attention to it. Enjoy getting to know your child!
- Be cautious of busy work. Busy work is a real FOX in homeschooling. Children know when they've "got it". If that was seventeen sentences ago and you are insisting they finish the workbook page, you might be spoiling their natural love of learning. When doing a worksheet focused on technical skills, I usually ask my students to do 7-10 sentences and then we do a quick check. If all are correct, they probably have the concept down.
- Return frequently to the long term goal. Doing a vocabulary workbook this year? Ask your students to include two vocabulary words in their writing each week. Notice your child is consistently misspelling a word in their writing? Add it to their spelling list. Is your grammar text covering ending punctuation? Go back over the last few writing assignments and edit their punctation. Apply all those language arts skills you are learning to daily writing.
Have specific questions? Feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org