June 28, 2008

Language Arts

I mentioned that I found a science curriculum for next year, but did I mention I found something for Language Arts that I think is really going to make a difference?

I just have to say that LA is one of the hardest subjects for me to teach. It isn't all of LA that I find troublesome. I seem to be fine in the first couple of years, teaching reading and the mechanics of writing. It is writing and grammar that really get to me. I actually start to have panic attacks when I try to figure out some of the grammar terms. I go right back to being that child in school that just doesn't get it and I have no one to help me. I think teaching this subject scared me before I even started.

I have tried to use Sonlight LA. In fact this past year I had planned to switch to something else because it just wasn't working for me or for my children. Then they re-did their LA and I got a little hope, thinking maybe now I could understand how to teach it and it will work for us. It ended up being another year of frustration and struggle not just for me but also for my son. I don't blame it on the curriculum. I know for many this curriculum is wonderful and they love the results. It just isn't for us. I have to have a curriculum that I understand and I can teach. I realized as I evaluated this year that I need something that spells it all out for me and explains things along the way. I get frustrated if I have to try to search for information. I get really frustrated if I don't understand why I am supposed to teach something a particular way or how to teach it. I loose my kids if I have to stop and go look something up.

In looking for ideas and direction for next year I, of course, put out the question to other home school moms, in the hopes that someone would have some ideas for me. That is how I found a book that isn't even published yet (planned to be released in a couple weeks) by Susan Wise Bauer. It is called The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease Instructors Text. There are workbooks being written too with the first one being released at the same time as the text and the second one following in August.

Normally I would need to hold the book in my hand or at the very least, be able to read reviews about it first. What sold me on this book was the sample pages that I was able to download, especially chapter 3 on "Why writing fails". Those sample pages explained so many things and helped me understand the how and why of teaching this subject. I am so excited to get a hold of this book and see if it is as good as I think it will be.

If this book is what I think it is, I will add in some grammar for my oldest and continue with reading and Explode the Code with my younger two and we are set. My oldest consumes books and has better comprehension and retention than I do, so there are no worries there. It is writing and grammar that were giving me panic attacks.


Renata said...

Hi, I found you through the blog ring. We are starting school with our 5 year old this fall with SL. However a friend has told me their LA is their weak point, so I am glad you posted about this. I am currently using Jessie Wise's Ordinary Parent's guide to teaching reading with him and I have really liked it.

SevenPilgrims said...

Hi, Linda! Just checking in with ya. (smile). I have started my young ones with Jessie Wise's "First Language Lessons" when they are about 1/2 way through their reading program . . . around 5ish years of age. It is a 2-year program with oral lessons - no writing if you don't want to - that focus on repetition and memorization of the basic basics. My young ones have learned several parts of speech without really knowing it and absolutely no struggle. Maybe 10 minutes a couple times a week . . . no stress . . . and they/we enjoy the interaction. They then have found the "older" curriculums easy to do. Big smile from this mom!

Kellie said...

Wow, this looks like a great book! We are also planning to use First Language Lessons this fall. Do you know how these two work together? Writing is not my strong point and it looks like this new book will be extremely helpful!

Linda said...


Not sure how these would work together. Susan may have mentioned it on her site but I don't remember. She has a blog you could check out. I would think they would work together just fine. If you have a young child you might want to wait and see how the reviews on this book are after it is out. I wanted to get it ASAP because I needed something like this last year. ;)

jennifer said...

Hi Linda!

I have struggled, too, in the area of LA. I tried Sonlight's new LA and ended up sending it back. It just didn't work for me. At the conference this year, I found Stack the Deck. I visited the booth and went to the workshop. It sounds like what I want to do, but I think I'll need to add some extra grammar. I know they have a website.