Language Arts

Sometimes this doesn’t make as interesting material for a blog post, but we do cover grammar and language arts in addition to All About Spelling (we love, love love this program and it deserves its own post sometime), writing (we often use the Teacher Filebox for this), and First Language Lessons.  For basic rules of grammar we use the Write Source Skillsbook as our core (more about that below). We rotate around in these different areas.

This past week we’ve been working on verbs that change the Y to I and add -ES (cry, cries). We’ve also worked on the endings -er and -est. I used a lot of pages from the Teacher Filebox (the massive collection of Evan-Moor products), but there were a couple of worksheets I made up myself. The first one (on the right) is on Adding-er and  -est (tiny, tinier, tiniest).

The second (pictured left) is a quick page I wrote up for the kids to practice making plurals in a variety of ways (adding -s, -es, changing the y to i and adding -es, changing the f to v and adding -es, and  irregular plural forms).  Feel free to download your own copy of Practicing Plurals here if you are interested.

The last one is for DD. She still isn’t catching all the commas needed in a letter, so I made another worksheet. She has to add commas and circle the letters that should be capitalized. You can download that here.

(Sorry they’re not super cute–just functional as I was in a rush!)

 Write Source Skillsbook:

We decided to go with Write Source Skillsbook (only the student workbooks) because of their gentle approach to introducing grammar. My son has always been a reluctant writer. I wanted something that introduced concepts and basic grammar rules but did not require much writing.  This program seems to work for us.  We only use this once or twice a week, a bit more in the spring as we approach the testing we have to do to fulfill our states’ homeschool requirements.

Since I know I always do better when I have something to look at I have added in some photos of Grades 1 through 4.

Above are the Grade 1 and Grade 2 Skillsbooks. They cover things like capitalizing the beginnings of sentences; using a comma in letters, dates, etc.; contractions; plurals; abbreviations, a handful of homophones and more.  They require students to circle or underline mistakes/corrections/answers, put in correct punctuation and to write one or two word answers. Generally the students only have to write 1 to 3 sentences to practice each skill.

Grades 3 and 4 go into more depth about many of the concepts introduced in the first two books.  Grade 3 covers when to use a capital letter in a bit more depth.  It shows how to use apostrophes and introduces quotation marks, and hyphens. It addresses homophones. Grade 4 goes into more depth about quotation marks, colons, semicolons, italics, underlining. It talks about clauses, prepositional phrases and talks about different kinds of sentences. It covers most parts of speech from noun, pronoun and verb to adj, adv, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections.

Again, this is a series that goes over the grammar rules in a gentle way, but does not teach writing. (It does NOT introduce students to different types of writing like forming paragraphs nor does it introduce students to narrative writing, expository writing or anything like that).  For what I was looking for (basic grammar without too much writing), this series of workbooks was perfect. And the price was right as I got the workbooks for between $5,25 and $7.75 each.

I have heard others that like these programs, but I personally know nothing about them:

Finding out more: One place I like to go when I’m considering what curriculum to choose from is Rainbow Resource. Just type in the curriculum you are interested in and you’ll find reviews.  Even better you can request the Rainbow Resource catalog. It is a great resource. It’s bigger than a phone book–filled with lots of helpful reviews. You could spend countless hours reading reviews and trying to find the best curriculum to fit for your children’s needs.  And the other option is to do a google search of “review of — grammar island (for example).” Lots of homeschoolers have posted their reviews online.

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