Teaching English in the Homeschool

Whether you are just starting or you’ve been homeschooling a while, teaching English can be a challenging subject. The subject itself has so many sub- subjects… and not to mention variations of rules and variations on those rules. It can be tough… but of all the subjects the Language Arts is the one subject that is key to all learning. If we can successfully teach a child how to read, write, and communicate they have tools that will serve them the rest of their lives. Not to mention giving them a good foundation to learn so much more in the other subject areas.

We’ve traded in some of our long standing Language Arts methods this year. I’ve realized with my Senior daughter that my focus on writing was too weak. We’ve chosen various types of curriculum that help us to focus better on writing skills. We have also chosen various workbooks that enable us to get to the meat of grammar. We haven’t changed our stance on our favorite writing process or vocabulary fill in the blank program. Somethings work great, and these are two of our favorite.

So far, this year has shown me great improvements in my children’s writing. Everyone from the oldest to the youngest is being challenged. Maybe well get an author out of one of them!

A Love/Hate Relationship

Language arts and math are the core of the core subjects, and the two subjects that present the greatest challenges to most students. In that respect, language arts most often presents a love/hate relationship to most people. They either love it and the English language’s impossible grammar, or they hate it. Yet, I wonder – is there a way to make all learners enjoy language arts?

With the broad range of inifinte learning style possibilities, there is not too great a chance that we will ever find a cure all for the hatred of language arts, but in the meantime I think we can improve the general opinion. 

Language arts tends to be a “dry” subject.  The general study of spelling words, grammar, syntax, and parts of speech just dosen’t lend much excitement.  However, coupled with a great reading curriculum,  excitement can be drawn into the “drier” side of language arts.  Yet, there are still other ways to bring excitement into the “hated” side of language arts. 

When I teach Language Arts,  I definitely steer towards a more interesting approach to teaching this subject, don’t stick with a plain “text only” approach.  Mix it up – make it exciting – you will see a BIG difference in how children respond. We like to use as many language arts games as possible such as compound word games.  Make spelling interesting by using games to teach the words. I have mentioned Spelling City in previous posts, but it really does make a difference. Children’s outlook on spelling has changed across the country in public schools and home schools because this program uses games to practice and quiz the student. Don’t limit your creativity – if you can think of something to make it exciting – try it!  Children respond to someone who seems to enjoy what they are teaching – and they assimilate that excitement.  They see you excited about your subject matter, and they get excited… it’s contagious.