View Full Version : Language Arts Curriculum

04-09-2012, 08:41 PM
Any suggestion for middle school reading, writing programs ( language, arts) for home schoolers? Wordly Wise seems to be a big hit so far. Thanks

04-09-2012, 08:50 PM
I really like Genevieve Walberg Schaefer's Understanding and Using Good Grammar. We liked Wordly Wise, too. MegaWords is great for middle schoolers who are struggling with spelling--it's not childish at all and really focuses on syllibication and the logic behind how words are spelled (for instance, 'ch' sounds like 'k' for words with Greek origins and 'sh' for words with French origins).

04-29-2012, 12:16 PM
HOT FUDGE MONDAYS published by Prufock Press isn't a program so much as a middle school resource for grammar, but we added it to our language arts studies last month and my kids love it. The activities are engaging, and my reluctant-writer (fine motor issues, rather than content) is excited to write every time we do a lesson. This is, of course, huge. We are only in the first section of the book which is on verbs, but my kids' favorite activity so far was on active verbs. They imagined they were soda pop cans on the way to a recycling center and had to write about their life so far, using active verbs (I was drained, emptied, etc.) They also designed pop cans to go with the lesson. My kids took it a bit farther and made simple signs showing their labels and ingredients lists and performed their one-page life as a soda can stories. Best grammar lesson in our house in quite a while! :)

04-29-2012, 06:53 PM
This hot fudge Mondays sounds fun! Do u use anything else or just this? I'm looking for a secular language arts for my dds too and I feel so lost. How old are your children, crw? Im just wondering if this might b a bit advanced for one of mine.

04-29-2012, 07:25 PM
By the way, you can also check out the Michael Clay Thompson stuff - my teen and I used his upper elementary stuff for middle school - its directed at gifted kids, so it was still a great challenge for us. We stopped because it got kind of dry after a while.

04-29-2012, 09:05 PM
You might want to take a look at Brave Writer (http://www.bravewriter.com/about). It's a lot to wrap your head around, but if you like what you see, Homeschool Buyers Co-op is having a group buy (https://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/brave-writer/?c=1) that ends tomorrow night (PDT). There are significant savings. My 5th(ish) grader is using the Arrow series, and we are getting back to Tuesday Teatime (http://www.bravewriter.com/bwl/poetry-teatimes/). My youngest will be using Wand starting ASAP.

My eldest used Michael Clay Thompson's language arts series (http://www.rfwp.com/pages/michael-clay-thompson/), and particularly loved Caesar's English (http://www.rfwp.com/series/vocabulary-elementary-program-by-michael-clay-thompson#book-caesars-english-i) (word-roots based vocabulary). We also used another word roots program that is published by the same company that produces Wordly Wise, which is called Vocabulary from Classical Roots (http://eps.schoolspecialty.com/products/details.cfm?seriesonly=2252M). It's more workbook-y than Caesar's English, though, and part of what really drew Jazz to CE was the fact that MCT delves into the history and/or origin of the words and also gives examples of the words in use in great literature.

Like Cara, we used the elementary levels kinda "late"--Jazz did the Town level in 7th grade, and it was perfect for him. He would have continued with the Voyage level if he hadn't gone to a charter school this year. He delved into CE2 on his own, anyway.

Jane is going to continue with Arrow, but will also be using Growing with Grammar (http://www.growingwithgrammar.com/) this coming year, as well. GWG is student-directed.

04-29-2012, 11:46 PM
Hi Jennifer,
My kids are 12 and 10. Both are gifted and have visual-motor weaknesses which make laborious writing unfun, also my my dd has a writing disorder. It's a challenge to find language arts materials that both challenge and engage them. We also do Michael Clay Thompson and they love it but we only do a couple of lessons per week. Both are finishing Red Hot Root Words, which is redundant with the Caesar's English from MCT, but they don't seem to mind. My 12 year old just finished the language-arts portion of the EPGY program from Stanford, and my 10 is still working on it. One more grammar book that we enjoy is A SENTENCE A DAY: SHORT PLAYFUL PROOFREADING EXERCISES. It's a slim book with a sentence on a page, corrections and explanations of the skills addressed in that page (e.g. capitalization, clauses, commas, etc.). We mostly use it when we travel and do it together. It's not so much a book for learning the skill as it is a resource to practice applying the skills.
I'm embarrassed to admit that we use so much. I really like to keep variety in grammar, mechanics, spelling and vocabulary so that the kids and I don't get bored. :)
P.S. I don't know if I can edit my earlier post but the correct publisher is "Prufrock Press" and correct title is "Hot Fudge Monday: Tasty Ways to Teach Parts of Speech to Students Who Have a Hard Time Swallowing Anything to Do With Grammar."

04-30-2012, 11:44 AM
We're going to use the Town series of MCT for our 11 year old. I'm so impressed with my son's knowledge of grammar from the Island series. It's really stuck with him. I quiz him sometimes to see how much he absorbed. He also did very well on the standardized test in grammar.

04-30-2012, 11:52 AM
I was also impressed with my son's retention of the material from MCT. Personally I love all of MCT's LA series but my daughter just wants the facts and doesn't want to listen to a story to understand grammar--might give it another try next year.

04-30-2012, 01:04 PM
I can't seem to find this on their site, but is MCT a PDF? I really like the looks of the Town series for my soon to be 3rd grader.

04-30-2012, 02:23 PM
I wish they'd sell it as a PDF, but I'm pretty sure you can only buy a hard copy.

Seconding Bravewriter for writing. :)

In addition to the many other good suggestions, I suggest just making a nice book list for reading/literature.

04-30-2012, 03:53 PM
No, MCT is not a PDF. YOu buy the books, large format paperbacks, and a full set is 4 books? 5?

Bravewriter you can buy as a PDF, but its just . . .writing. My teen is doing Bravewriter Help for High School now.

04-30-2012, 04:11 PM
Actually Bravewriter is more than just writing--it can cover grammar, mechanics (capitalization,etc.), poetry, literary elements, and more, depending on what you do with it.

04-30-2012, 04:13 PM
For instance, with Arrow, we either read aloud or Jane is assigned to read the book that a particular issue is based on. I've bought all back issues to align with what I think she'll be interested in/what I want her to read or hear. At least one literary element is covered per issue.

04-30-2012, 06:05 PM
This is true - if they were to use The Boomerang, that would be language arts... but I feel like TWJ is mostly writing focused. And she's against doing these formal grammar programs - recommending instead to integrate it with language arts through copywork and dictation and then to do a second language (that's certainly how I learned grammar) - but I think a lot of people want to do something like MCT or another grammar focused program.

05-02-2012, 01:49 PM
MCT is wonderful (and available through Royal Fireworks Press) (first of three reviews starts here (http://wp.me/pM1Cn-2Z)). Hewitt's LIghtening LIterature (https://www.hewitthomeschooling.com/Materials/mLightning.aspx) series, which starts with seventh grade, is an excellent literature program as well. There is a bit of usage and mechanics in the books, and one could have a child do a fair amount of writing with that program as well (reviewed here (http://wp.me/pM1Cn-bA)). If your child is a Lord of the Rings fan (or potential fan), HomeScholar Books (http://www.homescholar.org/LOTR%20Curr.htm) offers a fine literature program for that series (review here (http://wp.me/pM1Cn-6Z)).

Good luck!

05-04-2012, 08:38 PM
Sarah, thanks, I'd heard of the LOTR curriculum before, but it wasnt something I wanted at the time. We havent done any literature (we had too much work to do on writing lol), but this might be a real possibility for next year. I wanted to kick it up a notch and was struggling to figure out how.

05-05-2012, 10:52 PM
Hmm, i ran the idea by DH, who was ADAMANT that it would be a bad idea. He says there is NO WAY my son would be willing to read LOTR, his attention span is too short. Truthfully, he doesnt even have the attention span to sit through the movies. He's 16 and still reading YA fiction and fan fics, he really doesnt much like real novels at all. back to the drawing board, I think.

05-11-2012, 01:15 PM
Ok, i REALLY want to use that LOTR curriculum - it just looks so awesome! Orion agreed to read the first few chapters of LOTR and of probably Ct Yankee in King Arthurs Court (from the MCT lit program) and we'll look over both programs over the summer, and hopefully start one in the fall. I mean, reading LOTR over the space of a full school year seems like it should be possible. He's a good reader, he just doesnt have a lot of focus. So reading 15 pages and answering questions every day - i think thats a good amount of rigor. I want Orion's work load to really step up next year to get him ready for starting community college, which has a large amount of homework, esp compared to what we've been doing.


05-16-2012, 05:59 PM
Cara, could he also listen to it? That might help increase comprehension and allow him to do something with his hands to maintain focus. The way each chapter is reviewed in the curriculum is VERY helpful for comprehension. I won't say my older liked that part, however, and I think that's because it showed how poorly he had read. My younger, on the other hand, ate it up.

05-16-2012, 06:35 PM
Honestly, i think its easier to get him to read it. He likes reading (mostly, i still have to MAKE him do it) but i think just listening, his mind would wander. Like i said, he has trouble even sitting through the movie. He is definitely a reader, tested at 3rd grade level in kindergarten. He just, in general, has a short attention span. But he seems to like specific assignments, so, again, if i say "Read pages 50 - 67 and do the assignment on page 12" . .. he can do that. he wouldnt finish the book as a pleasure read, but as an assignment - i mean, this guy read a whole biology text book no problem, and finished 2.5 books of Hakim's Story of Science with no complaints. Because they were assignments.

(we just ran out of time for the Hakim books - we might finish them, not sure yet - really, how much molecular physics does he need in high school!)