Homeschool Language Arts
Our Language Arts Activities at the Start of the Year
I wanted to share some of the things we are doing for language arts in our homeschool as we begin year. For our homeschooling family, we think of language arts as basically four different activities: 1) independent reading, 2) a novel we read together, 3) language arts (literary analysis, grammar, vocab, editing, etc.) and 4) writing. We try to do all four of these every day.
Number 5 used to be spelling, but we stopped doing spelling regularly at some point when the kids were in middle school. You can read more about the spelling program we used all through elementary school [All About Spelling (affiliate link)] and why we ♥ loved it at this earlier language arts post!
My daughter is in the middle of the Maze Runner. She gets up, has her breakfast and reads while I am finishing the dogs’ walk, feeding the dogs, getting my own breakfast and my morning coffee! ☕ Then we continue on to whatever is next on our schedule for the morning. (I plan to write more about our homeschool schedule in another post.)
Lit and Lunch
The past couple of years, we’ve been reading a novel together during lunch time. We are reading a book about the Indian captive, Mary Jemison at the moment. We’re about half-way through and are enjoying that! We often take turns reading so the other person can eat!
Book Analysis: We started back with a review of some literary analysis terms. I wanted to be sure she remembered literary devices such as alliteration, metaphor, simile, rhyme, idiom, symbolism, imagery, humor, personification, onomatopoeia, satire and others. Each day ED reads through a children’s book. Then she tries to find examples of some of the common literary devices. We’ve spent time going over examples of each.
It has been a really good activity. Children’s books are wonderful because they are a quick read, but allow us to talk about the different genres and to talk about a range of literary devices. We’ve talked a lot about why these authors use the words that they do. We’ve looked closely at the imagery talked about alliteration and looked for examples of onomatopoeia!
There haven’t been any examples of idioms in any of these books, but I brought out a worksheet about idioms and we’ve been going over sayings like: break a leg, live it up, at the drop of a hat, the best of both worlds, bite off more than you can chew and others!
Other times of the year we will do grammar, vocabulary or other language arts activities. My daughter also uses a language arts book (and I can share more about that if you are interested or you can drop me an email!)
This week for writing we worked through some fun writing activity pages. I shared them earlier this summer and you will find those here: Back to School Writing Activity Pages. We both did all three pages and actually had fun finding out what the other’s current favorite color, book, season, (etc.) was. We also shared what we had to say about some of the question prompts like
- What do you like to do? What makes you happy?
- What are you excited about this year? What are you dreading?
- What makes a person nice?
- Describe your life five (or twenty) years from now.
We both wrote quite a bit on those three pages! It was a fun way to start off the year and having prompts often helps get the writing juices flowing.
ED has also been doing a bit of writing and research about some of the Australian states and territories. She started with the Northern Territory, which is where she was born. 😊 I talked more about our new Australian Unit here.
Now that we are done with those pages, I brought out all of the new notebooks and we chose new writing books for the year. We will still do a Writing Workshop model in our homeschool. Read more about the writing workshop here. For us, that still means
- We have a designated time/space.
- We have supplies ready.
- We have *choice.* Most of the time, we choose what we are writing (fiction, non-fiction, a letter, a research page or whatever). For my older kids, they may work on an essay that is in progress.
- *I* also write!
- No distractions – no phone, no getting up, no talking (so the other person can think/write)!
- We share what we have written at the end of our writing workshop (*if* we are ready and want to).
We started with a writing workshop model years ago and it has created a structure that has made writing time a joy rather than drudgery. See this post for much, much more about our writing workshop, including a video and lots of resources we have used over the years.
Persuasive Essay Writing
This year, ED (now in 9th grade), is going to be doing some persuasive essay writing. She will be choosing from a series of topic choices and will be writing/editing/submitting several essays this semester.
Once we finish our mini-unit on literary devices we’ll transition to talking about how to write a persuasive essay. We’ll talk about the structure of a persuasive (argumentative) essay and go into more detail about how to write a strong introduction and so forth. It has been a while since she has had to write any kind of essay and I think this will be a good place to start. She has a range of topics to choose from and we’ll spend time both writing a first draft, editing and polishing it and then submitting a final version.
Things are going well for language arts so far! It was fun having prompts to help us jump right back into writing. And ED said she enjoyed reading the children’s books. She said it has been helpful going over those terms each day and we’ve then used that as we talk about our lit book as well.
I hope your year has gotten off to a great start! Again, let me know if you have any questions or just want to share what you’re doing! You can always read me here at the contact page)! ~Liesl
As many of you know, I spent time putting together all of our writing resources into one easy spot. Head to the Writing Workshop page if you are interested in our Writing Resource materials or if you want to watch the video I made talking about our Writing Workshop.
I’ll be adding all of the materials I mentioned above into the Writing Resource Bundle as well.
Other Language Arts Posts
Here are some Language Arts Posts I wrote in previous years when the kids were younger.
Language Arts Update – (when my kids were in grades 2, 6, 8)
Language Arts Homeschool Checklist – What skills do I want the kids to have in order to become successful writers? In this post, I shared a list of some of the language and literary skills I wanted the kids to build in elementary and middle school.
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