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:
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?