Learning With Literature and Language Arts Resources @ As We Walk Along the Road: The 2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair

Welcome to the first week of this year’s Virtual Curriculum Fair. The hosts of our fair are Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds and Chareen@ Every Bed of Roses. You can read more about the Virtual Curriculum Fair and know what fun is going on this month here.

Language arts is my favorite subject. I love to read. I love to read aloud. I love to share books with my kids. Believe it or not, I love grammar also. When I was in school, I diagrammed sentences for fun- true confessions. Handwriting and spelling are probably my least favorite parts of the language arts. (That probably reflects in my kids’ abilities!) In today’s edition of the Virtual Curriculum Fair, I’m sharing the language arts resources that we’ve been using and a look at what’s been working… and what hasn’t.

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Let’s begin with my two high school students.
Kathryne 10th Grade
Kathryne is using My Father’s World for her Bible, history, and literature. Both of us love this packaged curriculum because it is heavily focused on literature. The theme of her studies is world history and literature. She’s an avid reader anyway. The bulk of the curriculum is based on 18 books, including classics like Beowulf, Pilgrim’s Progress, Silas Marner, A Tale of Two Cities, and Pride and Prejudice. Along with the reading, she writes essays or has other projects to reflect what she’s reading. For instance, after reading Pilgrim’s Progress, she had to write a letter to the author. She’ll also have a research paper to complete the second semester.
Charles 9th Grade
I can begin discussing Charles’s curriculum by saying, “Uggh.” While Kathryne has always been my easy, take things in stride, use whatever I give her, student, Charles…hasn’t. He hates reading…unless it’s a book or book series he can really get into. Charles probably won’t go to college- not because he’s not intelligent, but because sitting still in general isn’t a good fit for him. I’ve always been tremendously thankful that I homeschool him and have the freedom to adapt! On the other hand, I want him to complete the requirements for a diploma in our state, just in case God does have college in his future. And so we must balance school choices with what he can handle and what requirements he must meet.

He began the year intending to use Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings. I picked this up a few years ago and finally thought he was ready this year. He made it through for a week or so, and then the amount of reading per day, along with the heavy writing required, was too much. If you have a student who loves literature, this is an excellent curriculum. It uses the Lord of the Rings books to teach many different literary elements and themes. It also has quite a bit of different kinds of writing. We abandoned the curriculum, and he just read, finishing the first book.

We’ve then moved away from Lord of the Rings entirely. Instead, I’ve chosen novels that relate to his American history (which has been an uggh! also). I’ve incorporated reading and writing about the novels relating to the topics he’s studying in American history. Here are the novels I’ve picked so far:
Early settlers: Calico Captive (Speare) The Landing of the Pilgrims (landmark)
American Revolution/US beginnings: Around the World In 100 Years (Fritz) Johnny Tremain (Forbes)
Civil War: Slopes of War (Perez)
Other: Bully for You Teddy Roosevelt (Fritz) Of Courage Undaunted (Daugherty)
He’s really enjoying this more, and he actually really liked Johnny Tremain, his most recent novel. I’ve accepted the fact that with Charles, I’m always going to be piecing together what works for both of us.
Besides the literature, which has been a trial and error effort, Charles has used two items that we’ve both liked. Both were review items from the last Crew year.
Fix-It Grammar from IEW is a great grammar review for him. It’s unique because it teaches grammar from the perspective of editing sentences. This is great for Charles because, although he can learn grammar, he’s always had difficulty applying it.
The other thing we’ve both liked was a set of videos from Standard Deviants Accelerate. This company has unique, funny educational videos. He watched the Composition series of videos and really liked them- and learned something!
Ashlyne and Rachel 4th and 5th grade

If Charles is difficult to match with curriculum, at least the girls are easy. Ashlyne and Rachel are almost as easy as Kathryne. Rachel loves to read but struggles with writing and spelling. We’ve used a variety of resources that help to balance their strengths and weaknesses.

Logic of English is a complete reading, spelling, grammar program that the girls and I reviewed last year. I love it, and we’ve kept up with it this year. We took a break to do a little of the same Fix-It Grammar I reviewed with Charles, but I’m thinking we are going to go back because I really like the grammar and spelling of Logic of English. This is a pricey program, but if you can budget for it, it’s a really good one. Unfortunately my review of this one was with the posts I lost this year, but you can check out other Crew reviews here, and it is truly worth while to find out more about this program.
For handwriting practice, we began the year learning cursive letters. The girls knew some cursive, but not all letters. Then we’ve moved into Handwriting Lessons Through Literature The girls are now still practicing cursive, beginning with combining phonograms and moving on to phrases from literature.

For literature, we’ve used another review product that has been one of my favorites both times we reviewed it. Moving Beyond the Page has some awesome literature units that include comprehension questions and a variety of activities, including writing and vocabulary study. We’ve completed several units for review, and this year I began with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe unit. We then moved on and did The Sign of the Beaver unit. We really enjoy these. I usually read out loud and then the girls do the activities independently.
We finished The Sign of the Beaver before Christmas and when we begin school back, we’re doing something a little different. I’m reading to the girls a book recommended in the Read Aloud Revival podcast. (If you haven’t heard the podcast, it is an incredible resource for encouraging reading aloud with your kids.) We are going to be reading The 13 Clocks by James Thurber and using Teaching the Classics from The Lit Center to discuss it together.

More literature and language arts coming soon to As We Walk Along the Road:

This year I’ll be posting a series about reading aloud. Each week I’ll share about reading aloud and give ideas about making reading aloud a part of your family. Each month I’ll be sharing a particular book for discussion, giving ideas for using this book as a family read aloud. I’m going to have a link up each week so that bloggers can share their own posts highlighting read aloud books they are enjoying with their families. I’d love to have you come and join me.
Visit the other Virtual Curriculum Fair bloggers:
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
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
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
Words and More Words! by Michele @ FamilyFaithandFridays
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
A Renewed Focus on Reading Aloud by Debra @Footprints in the Butter
Tackling Language Arts by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
The Great Grammar Discovery by Laura @ Four Little Penguins


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