I hope I’m not missing anything!

When Ian was in kindergarten, I completely forgot to teach him how to write. I was so focused on math concepts and teaching him to read, that it just slipped my mind. When first grade came around, I gave him his first language book, and then it hit me! My baby barely knows how to write! So during the first part of first grade, we moved very slowly through his language book. I made up copy sheets for him every day. At first he started out tracing, but eventually I was able to write a line and skip a line, and he was able to copy each of my lines into each blank one. Fast forward one year, and he is writing well, but he still hates it. I hope I didn’t do that to him…

I was reading another homeschool blog earlier this morning. She talks about taking the eclectic approach for English with her ninth-grader. She also has a fun list of what hasn’t worked for her family. You should check it out!

Anyway, reading her blog reminded me that I’ve been wanting to give you all an idea of what we do around here. As I may have mentioned before, we begin each day with language. He likes that subject the least (probably because it involves writing), so we get it out of the way first. So far this year, we have done Total Reading Grade 2. While the title implies reading skills, it is so much more than that! It covers grammar, writing skills, testing, and has some creative writing projects as well. We have finished that book, all but the last ten or so pages, which I am saving for stressful days because he actually enjoys the testing section of the book. Today we will begin Language Arts 2, which is published by Harcourt Family Learning. We move at a rate of about 6 pages per day, so I intend to be finished with this one by Christmas. The topics covered in this book are Parts of Speech, Sentences, Mechanics, Vocabulary and Usage, Writing, and Research Skills. Both of these language books I picked up at Barnes and Noble, and I really like them. We enjoyed the first-grade versions as well. After finishing the language books, we will move on to Harcourt’s Writing Skills for Grade 2. I’m expecting this book to slow us down, but as long as we finish by April or so, I will be happy. After that, we will be focusing on creative writing. So our breakdown of the morning is as follows:

30-120 minutes on language (depending on how much time he wastes not focusing).

20 minutes reading for leisure (I always let him choose this chapter book – it is usually Magic Tree House).

30 minutes reading for science or history (always a chapter book such as a nature reader or book about Abraham Lincoln – I choose).

10 minutes reading aloud to me (admitedly, sometimes we skip this step).

I’ve been wanting to begin reading literature to him, like Peter Pan or something above his reading level, mostly so he can learn new words. Right now, I only read his science and history textbooks aloud to him.

30 minutes or so on Spelling City online. I’m using the word lists from A Reason for Handwriting, but when we finish that book, I’m just going to get some lists from the internet.

5 minutes on cursive writing. He’s learning one new letter a day at this point.

Hopefully, my somewhat eclectic approach is covering everything!

What methods/techniques do you use for language?

4 responses to “I hope I’m not missing anything!

  1. Not sure if you mean he hates handwriting or hates creative writing, or both, but I have never heard of requiring creative writing from someone so young. Now, I’ve not examined every curriculum out there, but it seems to me they are just learning how to form letters, what’s a sentence, etc., and as you said, they lack lots of vocab, so how could they write with much pleasure? How frustrating it would be to know your thoughts, and lack means of expressing them, maybe.
    My own were ready at about fifth grade. Amazing that most curriculum begins requiring it then, eh?
    My school motto was: You have forever to get the academic part right; you only have NOW to get NOW right.
    Also, we learn creativity by studying the creative ones around us. (By the way, not ALL people are creative; some have to grow up to be overpaid accountants, etc.) Copywork is very instructional for the early creative writing student. Perhaps you could give him a choice to write his own, or copy a Psalm or something. Perhaps having the choice, itself, will add pleasure for him?

    • There were a few creative-writing assignments in the book he just finished. Make a postcard, make a brochure, write a sentence about this picture, what happens next, etc. Honestly, the brochure one was the one that required the most from him, and he did the best on that one. When he has an assignment where he is making the words from his own head, I have him dictate, and then he copies what I wrote. For now, I am not forcing him to be creative and write at the same time. Sometimes the two steps take place on completely different days. But you just don’t know what your kids are capable of until you try! He hates both handwriting and coming up with stuff on his own, usually. (Unless he’s dictating an email…)

  2. Hope you’re not missing anything… that could be my daily refrain.The whole language arts area just involves so many things, it can easily feel overwhelming. I guess one of the benefits of homeschooling is that it’s never too late.

    My fifth-grader still struggles with handwriting. Or maybe I should say I struggle with her handwriting. 🙂 But we just keep at it, slow and steady. It’s improving with time and lots of patience.

    • That is the great thing about homeschooling. He was so far behind on writing when we started first grade, but he really has come a long way in just over a year. He’s ahead in two or three subjects, so we can spend a little more of second grade focusing on his weaker areas, which is not something the public schools can do easily. Thanks for your comment, and for your inspiration this morning!

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