The homeschool families I know all tackle language arts a little differently. I thought I would share how we work grammar and spelling into our schedule over the course of the year. I’ll also share some of the topics we tend to cover each year.
Back a number of years ago, I always tried to do both grammar and spelling daily… but I found that too be too much with all the other subjects. So, we would alternate a few weeks on spelling and a few weeks on grammar (punctuation, editing practice, etc.). Now that the kids are older, we generally spend the fall semester on spelling (even my older two do spelling because they work on more challenging words/SAT prep vocabulary) and the spring semester polishing grammar skills.
I’ll start with grammar first. In the spring semester, we start honing in on grammar skills. Some of the topics I try to cover include:
- comma rules
- quotation marks rules
- underlining & italics
- regular & irregular verbs
- We even spend a little time going over some of the basics:
- periods (the rules about initials and abbreviations M.D., p.m., D. H. Lawrence etc.)
- hyphens (especially when to divide words with a hyphen)
- parts of speech (and a dash of sentence diagramming)
Now that the kids are older, I use the Writer’s Inc. Student Handbook for Writing and Learning (affiliate link) as a grammar reference guide (the back section, pages 487 to 563). It has a really well written explanation of all of the grammar rules with examples. It has been really useful!
And just as an aside, this is a really great reference for writing in general. It is for upper middle school and high school students. It has sections on the process o writing (prewriting, drafts, revising, etc.), the different forms of writing (journals, descriptive writing, narrative writing, poetry, essays, research papers, persuasive writing and more). If you need a writing reference guide for your students, we recommend this!
Even more important than just going over the rules, is having kids practice finding grammar mistakes! This week I just printed out the comma rules sheets I made a couple years back. We went over those… and I also made a new sheet (which I’ll share in the next couple of days). As you probably know, I have tons of FREE grammar pages here on the blog. Look through the Language Arts Resource page for those!
These were some of the things we’ve been going over the past week or so (Remember, these printable are all free!):
- Comma Rules and Practice Pages
- Comma Rules Practice Pages
- Comma Rules and Practice Worksheets (fall theme)
- Comma Rules and Practice Pages (Free Worksheets) - Ocean Trivia
We need to go over the rules for using quotation marks and italics/underlining (with titles of books, short stories, TV programs, names of ships, poetry, etc… Even I have trouble remember when to underline & when to use quotation marks!)
We definitely need to go over semicolons again.
And, we’ll also spend time on some of the tricky homophones. Here are some of the pages I made in the past:
- Their, They’re, There – Its, It’s Free Practice Sheets
- Here is a recent practice sheet I made for their/there/they’re and its/it’s
- Grammar Practice: Possessive Nouns and Pronouns
- Free Grammar Worksheets: Homophones (words that sound the same, but are spelled differently)
I also have a couple of workbooks (grammar practice books) that we have used for years. They’ve worked well for us.
The other practice (grammar) book that we’ve used are the Editor in Chief® books by the Critical Thinking Company. (affiliate link). I really like these books because they have a short paragraph and tell the kids exactly what kind and how many errors to look for. And, these books, unlike the SkillsBook above, provide the answers in the back so the kids can check their own work.
And now, I’ll switch gears a little bit and talk about Spelling. We tend to do spelling in the Fall (though ED is still doing spelling most days with SpellingCity).
ED is still working through ED is using the All About Spelling Program (affiliate link) program. She’s working on books 5 and 6.
I really love this program and all three of my kids have used it. The rules are laid out nicely and it doesn’t take much work on my part to go through the rules and practice sentences. When they were younger, I just loved the practice tiles. Here’s a link to All About Spelling vol. 2 (affiliate link) vol. 2.
I also have a subscription to Spelling City. We have the paid version, but they have a free version as well. I created lists for the kids and they can work on them when they have time. As I said above, I even have some word lists for my oldest for SAT-prep. My youngest *really* loves all the games and activities and happily does spelling first thing in the morning!
Over the years, I also have created quite a number of spelling games and word sorts. My daughter has always enjoyed playing rounds (and rounds) of spelling bingo!)
Here are some of the games/activities I’ve made. Find out more using the links below. You will also find these in Our Store.
Long E Words: e ee ea e-e, ie, ei, y ey
K-Sound Spelling Sort: This set works on the /k/ sound: covering the hard K-sound with spellings c, k, ck, ch, cc and que.
See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts. You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group. Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. Happy Homeschooling, everyone!! ~Liesl
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
Here are a couple of related language arts posts that might be of interest:
- Reading List Grade 4-5
- Reading List – Grade 7-9
- 5 Tips for Helping Kids to Write – Writing Resource Pack (Currently FREE!)
- Free Literature Study Guides for Well-known Novels
- History through Literature – Book Lists for Units on China, Middle Ages, American Revolution and More!
- Writing Workshop: Conflict in Literature (Man vs. Man, Man vs. Self, etc)
- Essay Writing (LD’s 9th Grade Writing Activities)
- Free Homeschool Planner and Discovery Journal
How and Why We Started Using a Homeschool Writing Workshop and Other Writing Workshop Resources:
- Creating a Homeschool Writing Workshop – Post #1 — How/Why we needed a change in our writing program
- Creating a Homeschool Writing Workshop – Post #2: Creating a Writing Workshop Area and Materials to Have on Hand
- Creating a Writing Workshop Post #3: This post is about Mini-Lessons during writing time, mentor texts and includes reviews of 8 or 9 writing books that you might find helpful.