Read these 12 Homeschool Language Arts Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home School tips and hundreds of other topics.
Many homeschool programs spend a great deal of time preparing their students to become independent and responsible learners. Planning a language arts curriculum is often done in a manner that provides real life skills to be applied in real life situations. For many homeschool parents the homeschool language arts curriculum is a combination of learning to read signs, newspapers, food labels, rules and directions which provide a great starting place for young learners as they become accustomed to the world around them. For many children, learning to adjust, follow guidelines and rules is often an extensive lesson in social behaviors. In this case, a homeschool language arts program that identifies and helps to facilitate understanding in a young mind is a valuable and realistic academic goal.
As the child matures, the homeschool language arts program could extend into business documents, contracts, writing personal checks, reading bank statements, monthly bills and other daily documents that are dealt with in a responsible adult's life. This type of homeschool language arts curriculum is beneficial as it helps children and young adults to realize that language arts is not something studied within a textbook or reader but is actually all around us everywhere we go. As you provided the guided lessons for your child, it will be important to have established a method of assessment for comprehension accuracy. If you have a variety of different lessons and curriculum already planned for your language arts program, slipping these ideas in as independent points of interest will still benefit the awareness of the learner. For example, during a nutrition unit, you could have a language arts lesson on how to read a food label accurately. This extension will satisfy necessary learning in the nutrition unit and extends the homeschool language arts curriculum into the real life applications that will become so important in adulthood
As you begin to seek out a homeschool language arts program, finding one that promotes family closeness and discussion is a benefit that will extend into many different areas outside the realm of the language arts curriculum. It is a proven fact that children who are talked to, really talked to by their parents, will continue to “talk” through the middle and high school years. Children raised in a home that expresses respect, kindness and a sincere interest in their thoughts and ideas will grow up to feel secure in sharing and discussing a variety of different topics. Sonlight Curriculum® is a Christian based homeschool curriculum that uses a language arts curriculum complete with literacy choices that are enjoyed by the whole family. As you begin to use the different language arts readers in your homeschool classroom, you will enjoy a family closeness through the literacy discussions and activities that extend the learning and comprehension for the whole family unit. Through your child's academic and social development, the open discussion you share at the start of their life will continually to positively influence your relationship through the years. This open door of communication will become one of the most valuable assets you develop within your homeschool program. The strong relationship you will share with your teens as they begin the middle and high school homeschool programs will provide a solid foundation and a special closeness as they continue to grow into adulthood. The special time you shared over storybooks and conversation in childhood will become a relationship built on open communication in adulthood.
If you would like your children to be challenged at spelling you can purchase spelling games which they can play on the computer. If you are looking for free spelling games on the Internet go to funbrain.com. At Fun Brain you can set your child's "difficulty level" so the spelling poses a challenge. Children love to play on the computer, so use it to your advantage. They are a great supplement to homeschool language arts. Watch as your children's spelling skills improve while they have fun in the process!
Here are the ten steps to spelling that we use. After we pretest to our 10 words for the week, I sit down with each child and go over each of the ten steps... once for each word.
1. Say (pronounce it aloud).
2. Look (look carefully. Ask yourself questions such as, "Can I spell it the way it looks? How many syllables are there? Are there any double letters? Silent letters? What are the vowels in each syllable? Anything peculiar about this word? How many letters are in the word? Are there any odd syllables? Any parts of the word spelled unlike they sound? Anything unusual about the word? Any difficult combinations? Is the word a noun verb, etc.")
3. Say (say the letters while looking at the word)
4. Close (close eyes and visualize the word and spell it)
5. Check (check that you got it right)
6. Trace (trace the word on your desk, in a sand tray, on sand paper, on a fabric board, using large arm motions)
7. Write (without looking)
8. Check (was it right?)
9. Repeat (steps 1-8, if it was not right)
10. Sentence (write the word in a sentence
Are you content with your nightly reading to your child? He or she will benefit more from the reading, and probably enjoy it as well, if you discuss the reading afterwards.
Here are some typical questions or conversation starter's teachers' use to prompt their students after completing a reading that you might use with your child:
• Tell me all that you remember about the passage, in your own words
• Wasn't it funny when ____! What else do you remember?
• What do you think about __________?
• Explain how ________.
• Did you learn anything new?
• What are five things you learned about _____?
• Tell me all you know about (a particular character). (Analyzing Character)
• How did Character A behave differently than Character B? (Parallel Characters)
• Why did you learn about (a particular character) in this chapter? (Analyzing Character)
• Why did (a particular character) do ____? (Character Point of View)
• Tell me all you know about ____ (location)
• Tell me all you know about ___ (occurrence)
• How did (a particular character) feel? (Analyzing mood)
• What makes this story "pretend"? (Fantasy vs. Reality)
• What clues told you that ___was about to happen? (Making inferences)
• Why do you think ___happened? (Drawing conclusions)
• Tell me exactly what happened in order. (Sequencing)
• What do you think of ___? (Making judgments)
• Describe the person telling the story. (Narrator's point of view)
• Tell the most interest thing about ___. (Fact vs. Opinion)
• Describe what happened because of ___. (Cause and Effect)
• Tell me all the ways ___and ____ were different/same. (Compare & Contrast)
• Is the ending/chapter good or bad and why? (Making judgments)
• Compare the actions of (two characters). (Compare and Contrast)
• Compare this book with another of similar style. (Compare and Contrast)
• Compare this book with another by the same author.
• Why did the author write the story this way? (Author's Point of View)
• How did the author know about these kinds of things? (Author's Point of View)
• What was the author saying about _____? (Author's Point of View)
Homeschool language arts can be a daunting subject for children, especially when it comes to reading. The key is to get them excited about reading. Nothing turns a child off to reading more than having to read books that they have no interest in reading. Instead of picking and choosing all of your children's reading books you should let them choose books which interest them on occasion. For instance, if you have a sports minded child, let him or her choose books which are sports related -- such as biographies of famous athletes or a book about trading cards. Not only will you tap into the child's interest but you are showing that reading can be fun and interesting.
Kids aren't able to write well until they have developed good fine-motor skills. These skills improve easily with lots of practice, so it's important to encourage your child partake in activities that tax their fine-motor skill.
The following activities can help your young child develop the precision, balance, and hand-eye coordination that are needed to perform the fine-motor skills used in handwriting, so they can subsequently have success in home school language arts:
* Give your child clay or play-dough to play with to strengthen the major muscles used in handwriting
* Encourage her to play with Legos, miniature cars, small blocks, action figures, and other small toys
* Do puzzles with your child
* Provide creative art projects that involve using crayons, marking pens, scissors, and finger paints, as well as tearing paper
* Play games with your child that involve the handling of cards and small game pieces
* Ask your child to sort collections of loose coins into stacks of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters
When you are searching for a homeschool language arts program for kindergarten children you should search for ones that teach consonants and short vowel sounds. First grade language arts programs should review short vowel sounds and consonants then progress to blends and long vowel sounds. A second grade language arts program should cover all vowels, consonants and blends. The great thing about core curriculums is you can add electives subjects to it (such as music or art) to personalize the curriculum to suit your child's interests. Core curriculums come with work schedules already laid out so there is minimal planning on your part.
Go over assignments with your children and help them understand directions and complex questions. Have them read, re-read and read again until they are certain of what they are being asked to do. Help them pick out important words or phrases in the directions or questions and clarify any confusion they may have.
Purchasing curriculum can be hard on a family's budget. If you want to show support to the homeschoolers in your extended family why not purchase them a curriculum gift certificate for the holidays? They can be purchased at most homeschooling websites. Purchasing a gift certificate is a lot easier than trying to pick out a homeschool language arts or math curriculum that matches the homeschooling style of your extended family.
Having trouble getting your child to enjoy reading and your homeschool language arts curriculum? Setting up a fun reading environment that appeals to your childs interest and imagination will make the act of reading more appealing to him or her. Reading on the kitchen table isn't even fun for you, so why should it be for your child?
For example, one of the best things we have done to encourage reading was to build a time machine! We covered a refrigerator box with aluminum foil, and added all sorts of knobs. We even found some very "time machine looking" things at a thrift store, to make it look even better. After putting a bean bag chair and small bookshelf in there, we were finally set to travel in time with our reading.
Make reading fun.
If your child is an auditory learner, you may want to go with a homeschool language arts program that is literature based. Not only will your child have access to learning phonics, but they will be enchanted with the stories that you read. Using literature based programs are a great way to teach your child about history, vocabulary and phonics while instilling a love for reading inside of them.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|