Monday, January 5, 2015

Words and More Words!

Welcome to the first of four posts, each on a Monday, of the 2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair! This week is hosted by creator of the VCF, Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds, and homeschooling mommy blogger Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses.  Make sure you pop by their blogs and say hello!

We had so much fun with the Virtual Curriculum Fair (VCF) last year that I could not wait for it to roll around again.  Since this busy mom doesn't get to curriculum fairs often, ok, like not in the past 10 years, I love being able to see what things are out there via the web.  Plus, when things are recommended by a fellow mom not just a vendor trying to sell you their product, I know I can trust in their experience.

So that is what I am going to share with you over the next four Mondays- our experiences.

First week up is Playing With Words: the Language Arts! We are going to explore Language Arts and the many things that fall under that broad title!

Ok, here goes, try not to think I am a nut!

For lower Elementary ages, there is a lot out there.  And I have tried most of it I think.  Seriously! And crazy thing is - after 16 years of homeschooling, I have come back around to some old tried and true things.  The problem is there are a few I just do not want to give up. So I do it all.  Yes, I know, it is a problem I have.

This is what it looks like for our 2nd grader-
Week 1- Explode the Code
               Sonlight 2nd grade reading

Week 2- ABeka Language Arts
               Lightening Literature, 2nd grade

Then repeat!  While it sounds manic I know, it does help us keep from getting bored with one thing.

We also use All About Spelling.  This was new to us last year and I was sold on it from the moment I used it!  If you are just starting out or have a kiddo struggling with spelling, start here and do not look back!

For writing we use Write Shop.  I love the simplicity of this program and that there are fun activities woven in with the writing.  It keeps my strong-willed boy busy and engaged.

My 7th grader's language arts looks like this-
Wordly Wise- I have used this for vocabulary for years and swear by it.  This year we switched over to the online version and the boy is singing my praises.  It's the little things, trust me.

Lightning Literature- Again, this started as a review and I love it.  Honestly, we used Sonlight Literature for years but at the higher levels I was disturbed by some of the books they had the kids reading.  I am much happier with Lightening Literature, plus I love how they alternate between a novel and then poetry selections.

Spelling Power- Buy the book once and it lasts from Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Basics for Communicating Effectively, Applications of Grammar, Book 1- (Christian Liberty Press)- Again, new to us.  (Can you tell this was a year of change for us!?)  So here's the deal- Grammar is one of the subjects I have struggled to find a perfect program for.  And trust me, I have tried.  What I found was either something so simple it was pitiful, or something that diagrammed enough sentences to drive even a grammar queen crazy. This workbook has found a happy medium.

IEW- Yay, Mr. Peudwa!  I taught this years ago to my girls and was excited to start back with it this year.  Such a solid program for writing.  My daughter who just graduated from college was complemented continually on her writing - I can tell you this was the reason!

And then there is my 11th grader.  Hold on to your hat - I will try not to confuse you.

Wordly Wise- Yes, all the way to 12th grade!  She uses the old-fashioned workbook!
Sonlight Reading- Yes, I stuck with it for her since we had it. We are slowly transitioning completely to Lightning Literature.
She also just completed British Literature and speech online (duel crediting) from Maranatha Baptist University.  I need to write about this sometime but for now let me just say that if you are not duel-crediting classes, you might need to!  Seriously!  It saves time and money and is an easy transition to college level work.

Yes, you might have noticed that she has completed two different literatures this year which eliminates her senior year literature.  Instead she will be devoting next year to duel-crediting classes to get ahead on college core classes.

Since we are talking about words, let me say a quick word about Foreign Languages.

Yes, we do them!
Let me just give you a list of several different ones we have used and the pros of each.  I tell people often, there are MANY good ones out there - you need to find the one that best fits your child's learning style.

SongSchool Spanish- A cute easy-to-start program with songs, games, and puppets!
Flip Flop Spanish- Great for hands on and visual kids.
Spanish For You!- Well organized lessons!
Spanish for Children- Primer A from Classical Academic Press- The best way for kids to get the grammar part of Spanish in.
Homeschool Spanish Academy- Great for auditory learners!  What better way to learn but from a native speaker!

I hope I haven't overwhelmed you thus far.  Remember, I currently school three kiddos at completely different levels and have done so for a while.  This is not my first rodeo, as my daughter says! ;)

I hope you will join us next week as we talk about all things science and math!


Wanna read some other fabulous posts with tons more ideas?  Head on over to these wonderful ladies' blogs and see what they have to say!

Building a Foundation of Words by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Language Arts for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Bible-Based Language Arts Resources by Tauna M @ Proverbial Homemaker
Relaxed Homeschooling: Language Arts in the Early Elementary Years by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Loving Books and Words by Sarah@Delivering Grace
5 Language Arts Resources We Love by Becky @ Milo & Oats
Teaching Reading at Home: A Tale of 5 Readers by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset
A More Simplistic Approach to 7th Grade Language Arts by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Language Arts Reading for Delight-Directed Learning by Susan @ The Every Day of Education
How To: Spelling Dictation by Heather @ Only Passionate Curiosity
The World of Words in our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Unschooling and Words, Words, Words by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Learning With Literature and Language Arts Resources by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Language Arts in Our Homeschool (2014 – 2015) by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World
Our curriculum choices ~ Language Arts by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun
The 2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair ~ Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Loaded Pistols: Virtual Curriculum Fair Playing with Words by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
A Renewed Focus on Reading Aloud by Debra @Footprints in the Butter
Language Arts in our Classical / Charlotte Mason Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm
Logic of English Foundations: The Grand Prize Winner of Phonics by Chelli @ The Planted Trees
A Sentence a Day Teaches Grammar the Fun Way by Amy A @ One Blessed Mamma
Tackling Language Arts by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Middle School Monday - Lightning Literature and Composition by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Day by Day in Our World
Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue
Lisa @ Golden Grasses

I Choose Joy!

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