Literature & Language Arts in our Homeschool
Earlier this week, I had a wonderful back-and-forth email conversation with a reader about literature and language arts in our homeschool.
She had questions about the literature book/s we were using when my kids were in grades 2, 5 and 7. I thought I would share a lot of that conversation with you today. It highlights some of the language arts books/texts/resources we have used over the years. Plus, I’ve added in some of the resources we used for spelling, writing, grammar and so forth.
She had a specific question about the material my kids were reading at the beginning portion of our Writing Workshop.
At the time, my daughter (age 7) was reading through a Write Source textbook (It says Grade 3, but it was fine for my daughter at the time) while my older two were reading selections from the McDougal Littell textbooks like the ones above.
- Literature McDougall Littell -Yellow Edition (we used this when the kids were 5-7th grades or so)
- Literature McDougall Littell (this says 8th grade, but again, we used this in a range of grades)
Write Source is not a lit book, though… It’s a textbook about writing. It has chapters on the writing process. Some of the chapters include — the forms of writing (paragraph, descriptive writing, narrative writing, expository writing, persuasive writing), responding to literature (writing a book review), creative writing (writing imaginative stories & writing poems), research writing, giving speeches. Here are some sample pages
As for literature (short stories and stuff), we didn’t use a formal book like the lit books above until the kids were a little older.
Instead, when my daughter was in 2nd grade she/we just read a lot of books, chapter books, picture books, books related to our history units, etc. on her own and aloud with me.
I’ll paste in some of the books we read along the way.
These post have some of the chapter books my kids read (ages 8-12 or so)
- 25 Beloved Books for Ages 8-12
- 15 Chapter Books my 7-year Old Loved!
- Books and Series my 8 Year old has been Racing Through
- 10 Books (and Series) My Kids Love (Ages 9, 11)
And we also read books related to our history units
- 6 Native American Picture Books
- China Unit: Books! Books! A Huge List of Children’s Books
- American Revolution Unit: Books, Movies and Resources for Kids
- West Africa Notebook Pages and West Africa Books for Kids
- Civil Rights Books for Kids
I just remembered two other posts that might be of interest if you haven’t seen them (click on the link or picture below):
We still use the McDougal Littell Literature Books… This year, I went through all our texts and picked out about 30-40 short stories and selections and have been having the kids just pick up the book and read something (anything from the check list… or they can read a selection from the short story books I have there) a couple of times a week. (See the checklist in white below)… My son is a rebel (I say that tongue-and-cheek!!!) and hasn’t been marking off what he’s been reading!!
My youngest is in 7th grade this year/age 12 and she’s also working through the list (as well as my older two who are almost 15 and 17).
The short stories and poems are from all the various literature books (in the display area pictured above). My middle daughter read through most of those books when she was in 6-8th grades. She would read a book every 3 or 4 weeks!! Crazy, right? This year I decided to pull out some of the stories or authors I really thought they should read… and also pulled in some mythology because we are doing Ancient History. I marked the pages for the kids and told them what color book it was in.
Here’s our checklist, if you want check out some of the stories these various Literature textbooks include: free pdf Literature – Short Stories and Poetry
As you can see from the picture above, we just buy these used from Amazon (so they come from a bunch of different states).
Here are some other Language Arts Resources we have used over the years:
We often did spelling in the fall semester and grammar in the spring semester. Our family used All About Spelling for years and we LOVED it! This is a picture of ED is using All About Spelling (affiliate link) vol. 2 when she was in 2nd grade. We supplement it with other things like our Long A Spelling Sort and Long I Spelling Sort & Games.
(Find out more about the All About Spelling Program (affiliate link)
Find out more about our spelling games and activities here:
These games and activities are also sold separately.
My kids also used Spelling City throughout the years. (Not an affiliate, we just like this site.) We have the paid version because we use this program so much. I typed in spelling lists for both of them to work on. I have continued to purchase and use this website quite a bit over the years. My 12 year old is using it this year with some word lists from this free website: HomeSpellingLists.
We have a TON of free grammar worksheets on everything from the Comma Rules to Apostrophes, Quotations and more:
Other free grammar worksheets you can download:
- I made a new set of comma rules and practice sheets for the kids that go over these same rules.
- Their, They’re, There – Its, It’s Free Practice Sheets
- Comma Rules and Practice Worksheets
- Comma Rules and Practice Worksheets (Fall Theme)
- Grammar Practice: Possessive Nouns and Pronouns
- Free Grammar Worksheets: Homophones (words that sound the same, but are spelled differently)
- The use of apostrophes, quotation marks and underlining
- 11 Comma Rules and Practice
- Grammar Practice Sheets: Irregular Verbs and Nouns
- More Irregular Verb and Plural Noun Practice Sheets
- Grammar Sheets: Lay-Lie, Piece-Peace, Accept-Except
- Semi Colons Rules and Practice Sheets
- Here’s a post with a number of different sheets: Comma Rules, Apostrophes, Underlining and Other Free Grammar Sheets
Grammar Practice Books:
We have also use the series of grammar workbooks called Write Source Skillsbook. (affiliate link) We’ve been using this series for years. It explains a grammar rule and then has some practice sentences (or editing in the later books). It has worked really well for our family (in addition to the grammar sheets I’ve made for the kids!) 🙂 Below is a screen shot of the Grade 1 Skillsbook, Grade 3 Skillsbook, and Grade 6 Skillsbook. (affiliate links) These are under $10.
This summer I made a video about how/why we use a Writing Workshop and how it completely transformed our writing time. This Writing Workshop Page is where you’ll find that chatty video and our Writing Resource Bundle:
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