Tuesday, July 8, 2008

my loose plan for language arts...

I'm having to get a bit more serious about language arts when planning for next year. The kids did well on the LA portion of their CAT tests, but they were their lowest scores. So, here is my loose plan...

I have struggled with a spelling program for years. The first program we did just never clicked with Alex. It seemed random in its word lists... no pattern that we could tell, no explanation of spelling rules, etc. So, last year I decided to go a complete 180 degree turn and go with a program that was very spelling rule based. Man... that one was a train wreck. It was so complicated that I could never fully figure it out. I've since learned that they offer actual classes on how to use their program.... so I don't feel too bad about not being able to figure it out, but that just confirmed that it wasn't for us.

This next year we'll be trying out Sequential Spelling...
I'll be starting with level one and using it for both Alex and Clara.

For the spine of Alex's grammar program, I will be using Rod & Staff grade 3...
We used grade 2 (sporadically) last year... but this year I'll be taking the advice I had read on a message board and doing a lot of the work orally instead of having Alex copy EVERYthing out of the book.

For practice, I'm getting Evan-Moor's Daily Paragraph Editing Grade 2....
Yes, I am ordering one grade lower than what he'll be in.... but he needs the practice and he needs to build his confidence. I figure this is a low stress way to do this. I'm going to get the ebook through CurrClick so I can just print the pages as I need them instead of having to make copies on a copier.

And then comes the part I'm most excited about... I've been working on putting together a living books language arts list for us to use next year. This will serve to be fun, reinforcement for Alex and Clara's only "formal" grammar. This is born from my love of Julie's Living Math site and my dislike of grammar. I needed a way to make it fun... something we all looked forward to instead of dreaded.

I've purchased a couple books so far...Woe is I, Jr.
I've been reading it and so far, I'm really enjoying it. I even learned a thing or two... however, it's hard teaching this old dog new tricks so I still resort back to my old ways... sigh. (I ordered it from bookcloseouts.com for a better deal than Amazon.)
Eats, Shoots and Leaves: Why, commas do make a difference!
The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why, you can't manage without apostrophes!

Okay... I ordered these from bookcloseouts.com a couple of months ago (although only the apostrophe book is still available). They were supposed to get put away for next year BUT the kids begged to look at them. Well... then it was all over. They LOVE these books! They think they are HILARIOUS! Each two page spread has the same words on each page... only a slight change in punctuation has taken place. The resulting sentence (with corresponding illustration) totally makes sense to them. After reading them over and over that day... they excitedly showed the book to their dad when he got home. They went page by page explaining to him how each sentence changed in meaning due to the punctuation. The books currently live on our dining room table because the kids regularly read them while they eat.

Honestly, it was these two books that inspired me to run with the language arts living books list idea. I had been thinking about it for a while but seeing the way they reacted to these books, I knew it was something I had to try out.

Okay... enough rambling! :-)

(and a big THANKS to my friend Tracy who helped talk me off of my language arts planning ledge I was on last night!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I'm still here! I haven't abandoned this blog... I promise!

If you read my other blog (Scattered Thoughts) you know that we've have a rash of doctor and ER visits in the past few weeks. Thankfully, we seem to be through that rough period now.

I have been working hard on my plan for next school year and finally placed a couple of book orders over the weekend. I'll try to start posting about that soon.

I have this weird hang-up that all posts should have pictures. So I'll leave you with a couple photos of my children doing geography today.... LOL!We played a quick game of "find the state" while playing at the park today. This is a pretty fun way to learn the states... it's too bad that it's in a school's playground so we'll have limited access to it most of the year.

Okay... I'm off to bed!