A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Readin' and Writin' Part of Homeschool

So this week, the Virtual Curriculum Fair is talking about words.  Specifically, Language Arts.  This covers handwriting, reading, English, spelling, literature, etc.

We've tried out some really great programs over the years, and it's nice to be able to share our favorites with you.

Patriotic Penmanship (click links for reviews) a good once a week program
Logic of English has some great supplemental activities, and lets you choose from a variety of font sizes.
CursiveLogic was a big hit with Hannah.  She wanted to keep the book when she finished it.
New American Cursive worked really well for Jack because it was bite sized and included some drawing activites, too.

honorable mention:  A Reason For Handwriting, Level K, is hands down, the cutest curriculum book, like ever.  I used it with Jack and with Katie, and I'm a little sad that I don't have any younger kids so I can look forward to seeing the adorableness again.  Actually, A Reason For Handwriting is a pretty good program at all levels.

Reading and Phonics Programs
Reading comes easier to some children than others.  Don't despair!  One of mine was a very late reader, and is now, finally, reading for pleasure.  It does happen.

book programs
Jolly Literacy - makers of the awesome blocks that I love so much that I ended up buying the word ones, too
Blue Manor Education
Scaredy Cat Reading System - with tons and tons of flash cards

software programs
Read, Write & Type
MaxScholar - which can also be used on the iPad
Reading Kingdom - I really think this program helped Jack (and Katie) a lot.  I was sad when our subscription expired.
Ultimate Phonics - We had a hard time getting excited about this one.

Talking Shapes
Literacy Soft

honorable mention:  We have worked on adding more sight words in a fun way to our kids' collection of knowledge.  And also Hot Dots, a game my kids have enjoyed, has lots of different card sets for various subject areas, and can help reinforce early readers, too.

Language Smarts E from The Critical Thinking Co.
Logic of English Essentials This is a big, thick book and a really great program that you can use over and over, because one teacher's manual covers all 3 levels.
Fix It Grammar  We didn't actually finish this one, at least, we haven't yet, but Jack loves this program.  One sentence per day is totally doable to him.

honorable mention:  English PACEs from School of Tomorrow.  We used these for years, and they have an online placement test so you can check to see what gaps your child needs remedial work on.

Spelling You See - which we use now and really love.  Our first experience with SYS was levels C and E, and now we've also done A, D, and F, and are currently in B and E (again).  Love love love.

A Reason For Spelling - which is geared for a classroom, but other than that, I really liked it.  Stories, activities, lots of variety.

We've also used Word Building PACEs, again from School of Tomorrow, again with the online placement testing.

Memoria Press - We really enjoyed Paddington, and Jack went on to collect a dozen more Paddington books because of being introduced to him through Memoria's 3rd grade Lit program.  We're on our 3rd book now, and I feel the grade levels are a little advanced.  I'm doing Farmer Boy with my 4th and 7th graders, and I still have to help them with some of it.

Free Reading
I like having quality biographies on hand for my kids to read.  I didn't like the poetic little kid version of the YWAM books, but the regular ones are nice.

My kids have enjoyed the Goldtown books.  They run off with them for "free reading" time, and as a homeschooler, I smile inside, knowing they're getting a little learning in with this historical fiction series set right here where we live.

Probably the most valuable reading resource, of course, is the library.  When we visit the library regularly, my kids read a lot more.  Even though our home has literally over a dozen bookcases, somehow "new" books are always more interesting than the ones we have here.

Creative Writing
Honestly, I'll be watching the links this week to see what other families are doing for this one.  I'm terrible about getting my kids to write.  I give them a writing prompt and ask them to write in their journal every once in a while, but this is absolutely an area in which I could improve.

Communication is so vital.  Let's give our kids the tools they need to understand and convey ideas.

If you would like to share posts related to Language Arts, or wish to read more, please visit the other participating blogs:

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are writing about Playing with Words this week:

All posts will be live by Monday, January 9th at noon EST.
Delight Directed High School English by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Act Your Part Well- 2017 VCF by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
The Search For Language by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays
Our Top Picks for Language Arts by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Multiple Approaches to Language Arts in 2017 by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
How We Cover the Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Use Your Words by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
The Art of Perfecting Macarons by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Loving Languages Every Day by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind
Speech Therapy & Elementary Latin by Yvie @ Gypsy Road
The Readin' and Writin' Part of Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Children Who Love Books by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Customizing High School Language Credits by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
A Poetry Feast by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Teaching Language Arts without Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
I know your pain and it is worth it! by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Language Arts: Our Style by Annette @ A Net in Time
Words! Words! Words! by Lisa M @McClanahan 7
10 Wonderful Word Games (+1) by Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Finding the Right Words by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
What About Reading Comprehension? by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
Teaching Grammar and Writing Through Discussion by Chelli @ The Planted Trees

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  1. I'm totally with you on Spelling You See. When you first reviewed it, I got it for Matthew and it turned spelling from a fight to a learning experience. He's in G now, our 3rd year. I skipped one level so it would line up with our history better.

    Zhou is in A, and it is too easy, so I've started skipping. Writing is hard for him (both my boys are left handed), but phonics and spelling have gone surprisingly well. Totally recommend Spelling You See!

    1. I'm so glad it's working for you! That makes my day! :) I am a little bummed to not be on the Crew this year, but I'm glad to know my reviews did have an impact.

  2. We just started using a spelling series this year and I've already seen a tremendous difference in my boys writing and spelling.

    1. We skipped spelling one year when I bought the whole, "They'll learn to spell on their own, just by reading a lot," line. I regret that. My kids seem to need a spelling program.

  3. We love reading; writing is a struggle for my boys! Will definitely have to look into some of those handwriting programs you mention. We use Ultimate Phonics and Jolly Cubes with the two younger ones who are learning/struggling with reading. So glad they love to read though! Hoping some creative writing will encourage them to love that as well. How blessed we are to be able to have so much freedom in what we do. :-)

    1. Sometimes fun writing paper helps. I found a blank Lego mini-figure writing page on Pinterest that inspired my boys.

  4. Thank you for sharing your favorite language arts programs. I'm using Spelling You See with my 2nd grader this year and it's a pretty good fit---glad I decided to try it.

    1. Spelling You See has been a great fit for my child who struggles with reading and spelling. :)

  5. I like Logic of English, but I really love their Foundations program for younger students. Big fat puffy hearts on that one.

    We're pretty hit and miss on creative writing too, but my oldest likes to type skits up on the computer for them to act out...that counts, right?

    1. I bet Foundations would be a great program for my Katie. She's doing well with Jolly Literacy for now, but we're zipping through it.

      Skits are absolutely creative writing!

  6. There are a lot of good resources here! Thank you for sharing!!!

  7. Always neat to see what other people use for homeschool. I remember my daughter working on Reading Kingdom years ago when I had to review it when I was a Homeschool Crew reviewer. Never done Spelling U See but have always used Math U See. Creative Writing is a favorite of mine!! We used to write from prompts every Monday - http://www.brandiraae.com/36-weekly-writing-prompt-ideas-for-homeschoolers-printable/ I also used Imitation In Writing which I wrote about. I've probably written about others, too. Feel free to check out my blog under the homeschool tab. :) (www.brandiraae.com)

    Thanks for linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays!

    1. Thanks, Brandi! I'm printing your list now. :) "Trapped in something sticky" should be an interesting one!