Homeschool Curriculum Series: Language Arts

Antique booksNow we come to one of my favorite subjects, the written word. As with all subjects, there are too many excellent choices, but here’s what’s worked well for us. The first books my boys used was a series called Explode the Code, which includes three primers and then eight workbooks, all consumable, teaching all the letters and phonics. A great start for reading.

In third grade I started them on Learning Language Arts Through Literature. The company makes the course for first through eighth grades, and then two courses for high school, one each covering American and English literature. We only used it for third through eighth grades. It uses good children’s classics, both complete books and excerpts, to teach grammar, spelling, vocabulary, reading, and writing. There are sections on poetry, research, reports, and study skills in each course as well.

We supplemented LLATL with Easy Grammar, which makes grammar easy by teaching students to identify and eliminate prepositional phrases, which then helps them to easily find and identify all the other parts of the sentence. Very thorough. An intense grammar drill of only about 10 minutes a day gave them a good command of grammar.

The boys learned their Latin and Greek roots by using…card games! Rummy Roots and More Roots each teach a lengthy list of roots and their meanings through four levels of play. When all four levels have been mastered, players know enough to decipher 2000 words without using a dictionary.

In high school we used a couple of A Beka’s literature books, but also just studied classic books on our own for both American and English literature studies. Two writing books I particularly thought were good are the Train of Thought Writing Method and Wordsmith Craftsman. The latter provides a good basis for college essay writing. I also insisted on a read-through of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style.

I made a couple of my own supplements. One was Daily Diagrams, 180 sentences from classic literature for them to diagram, one each day. And to help them get practice in library research, I made a library treasure hunt that used riddles, codes, and puzzle pieces. They did some of it each week at the library, and when finished, earned a new book of their choice. The material is specific to our family and our local library, so it’s not something others can use, but maybe it can give you ideas to do something similar on your own.

And don’t forget read-alouds for all ages! You can never hear too many good stories.



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