Tuesday, September 15, 2009

language arts

That pile above is what we have for language arts this year. I'm very excited about what we're using this year... and that says quite a bit given I generally "strongly dislike" language arts.

First we'll start with the core of our language arts this year...

On top is Grammar Island. That's the book we're currently working our way through. It is a totally different approach to grammar than we have ever used before. It actually scared me a bit when I got it. I didn't know what to do with it! It wasn't the typical workbook format that we've had in the past. That said, I joined the yahoo group and got a general idea as to how people used the curriculum and off we went. We're not terribly far into but I have to say that the kids love it. Yes, I said "kids". This was supposed to be for just Alex but one day Clara was hanging out just outside of Alex's door while we were working in Grammar Island. She wandered in, loved listening along and has insisted on being part of Grammar Island time ever since. Now, she doesn't do the actual work with the book that Alex does, but if she loves listening in and is getting anything at all from it, that's a nice bonus. In a couple of years, when she's ready, we'll go through the book for real with her, but for now, the exposure is great.

The other books in the stack are Sentence Island, Practice Island, Building Language, and Music of the Hemispheres.

For variety and work with punctuation, spelling, capitalization, etc., I got this...

Last year I got a proofreading book for Alex. He enjoyed it somewhat, but didn't love it and I wasn't completely sold on it. So, as I went paging through my great big Rainbow Resource catalog, I found The Great Editing Adventure books and thought I would give one a try.

So far I've been very pleased with the book. It is a series of short little "lessons" that go together to form a funny little story. I bought only the teacher's manual. In a classroom setting I'm assuming you would write the "lessons" on the board, but I decided to just type the lessons up with my handy dandy StartWrite software (I love that program... I use it all of the time).

Above is an example of one of the lessons. I sit down and type a bunch up at once and then put them, one at a time, into one of Alex's file folders throughout the week.

In order to do some of the lessons, he needs these...

If a word is circled, he's to look it up in the dictionary and be able to tell me the definition. If it is underlined, he needs to look it up in the thesaurus and substitute a new word in place of the underlined word.

He makes editing marks to make corrections on the part I that I had typed out. He brings it to me once he thinks he's found everything. We go over the answers and then he rewrites the lesson, with corrections, on the blank lines below.

He doesn't exactly love it yet and maybe he never will, but it's a pretty low key way to work on his proofreading skills and I like that he has to actually rewrite the lesson versus just make editing marks.

As for Clara, we're taking a much more low key approach with her this year. She has struggled with school in the past and needed to learn to love school again. I thought these would be fun for her for grammar....

She is so enjoying the one on one time with me this year. We're doing so much more reading, discovering and discussing when it comes to school. These books have been so great for that. We curl up on her bed together and read... discussing the little prompts in the book along the way. There is a whole teachers guide that came with the set, but I haven't really used it yet. It has these cute little reproducible mini books inside, but our copier is out of ink so I haven't done anything with them yet. I really think I want to get the Punctuation Tales set too, but I haven't completely justified placing yet another amazon order (yet).

Finally, I also have these in the mix...
Clara enjoys watching the Grammar Rock portion of School House Rock. So we work it in when we can.

I have no opinion on the Standard Deviants' Enormous English DVD pack but NOT ONE SINGLE DVD in the ENTIRE set works. Thankfully I purchased the set from Rainbow Resource and they have an amazing customer service department. They contacted the manufacturer and they are sending me a new set directly. I'm anxious to get it so I can check it out and see what it's like.

1 comment:

Julie Ranee said...

Hi! I'm really enjoying your blog! I was just referred to it by Sarah Goblot. I homeschool my 3 kids. I have a 3rd grader and I need something different for language arts. I'm so glad I came across your post. Thanks for taking time to share!