Four Reasons Why I Love a Literature-Based Language Arts Homeschool Curriculum ...And A Review of Kendall Hunt Publishing

Although I loved reading when I was in school and had been an avid reader as long as I could remember, I rarely liked the “language arts” classes I took throughout my school years. Why? These classes weren’t actually using books. Real books.

Instead there would be a grammar workbook, a spelling workbook, a writing workbook, and a reading workbook. If I was lucky, the reading workbook might be accompanied by actual real books. But most of the time it was a “reader” that had a compilation of short stories, parts of stories, and poetry. There wasn’t much real, quality reading going on in those “language arts” classes.

Thankfully I’ve been able to remedy that with my own kids in our homeschool. I’m always on the lookout for resources that will teach language arts in the context of real, well-written, appealing books. A few months ago I found a new publisher with a language arts program for 1-8 grades. I was very glad to come across them and really liked the approach immediately. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review another one of their units for 8th grade.

 Kendall Hunt Publishing review
Disclosure: I received free materials and compensation in exchange for review. All opinions are always my own.

The publisher I’m talking about is Kendall Hunt Religious Publishing Division, and I had the opportunity to take a look at the Environment unit of their Pathways 2.0 Reading and Language Arts program. This is a language arts program that definitely fits with my desire to have a literature-based language arts program.

Four Reasons I Love to Use a Literature-Based Language Arts Curriculum in My Homeschool

Vocabulary words and spelling words actually make sense because they are learned in the context of a real book.

Do you remember being in school and being presented with a list of spelling and vocabulary words to memorize. I did it. I have a pretty good memory, and I usually scored high on the tests they gave to see if we had memorized those words. But many students didn’t do well. And one reason was that we really had no context for these words.

In the Kendall Hunt Pathways curriculum, a portion of the words that students are given to memorize for spelling and vocabulary are words that come from the text they are reading. These words are going to be easier for the student to understand, and learning the meanings of those words is going to help the student understand the book.

Students are learning reading comprehension skills with a real book.

Back in my days of learning with a “reader” we would usually be required to read a portion of a book or occasionally a full short story. We would talk about reading skills, things like plot, literary elements, character development. But there didn’t seem to be anything to tie these elements together because we weren’t reading a complete story. Instead, we might discuss plot with one reading and character development with a completely different piece.

The curriculum from Kendall Hunt Pathways uses the book that the students are reading as an anchor to teach various reading comprehension elements. Students learn about elements like the author’s tone, features of expository text (because the reader for this unit is nonfiction), evaluating the writer’s claims- and they learn these elements from the actual book they are reading for the most part.

It provides awesome opportunities for discussion and critical thinking.

One of the things I’ve loved best when reading books with my kids is discussing and inspiring all of us to think critically. When the language arts program is literature-based, kids have more opportunity to do this.

The Pathways teacher’s guide has questions that you can discuss with the kids about what they are reading. The curriculum is meant more for a classroom, but you could easily adapt this discussion section for one or more of your kids who are using it.

Writing lessons include grammar in context and refer back to the real book you’re reading.

I have learned by watching children when I taught in a traditional school and by watching my own children that when kids learn grammar in isolation, they don’t remember and use it correctly in their own writing.

The Pathways curriculum teaches grammar in the context of writing, teaches writing skills and gives kids the opportunity to practice, and has kids refer back to the book they’re reading for some of the assignments.

Kendall Hunt Publishing review

More About Kendall Hunt Publishing and Their Faith-Based Reading and Language Arts Curriculum

Who is the publisher of the Pathways curriculum?

Kendall Hunt Religious Publishing Division published Pathways 2.0, a faith-based reading and language arts curriculum, available for grades 1-8. This company strives to provide curricula that is flexible where students can progress at their own pace and is faith-based, providing moral connections that strengthens the development of the whole child.

What is Pathways 2.0?

Pathways 2.0 is an integrated language arts curriculum for grades 1-8. There are nine units for each grade level. Each unit uses a real award-winning trade book as the anchor text. You can see every unit for every grade here. Each unit includes reading comprehension, writing, and spelling and vocabulary. The teacher’s guide is detailed in laying out what to do for each of these sections each day. It seems to be written for a class or a small group. But it would be easy for a homeschool mom to adapt for one or just a few students who are using the curriculum.

Is this curriculum written from a religious perspective?

Yes. The curriculum is written from an Adventist worldview. At the beginning of the teacher’s guide is a graphic with an overview of the Adventist worldview. The curriculum refers back to this and makes faith connections frequently. However, if you aren’t an Adventist and are just using this curriculum from an evangelical Christian perspective, you won’t have any trouble adapting. There is room to be flexible in this curriculum.

Will you love this curriculum?

Here’s a look at some of the types of homeschool moms who will likely love Pathways.

  • Moms who love using real books. I love that every single unit of this curriculum uses a real, well-written book as the anchor text.
  • Moms who like a direct, well-written plan. The teacher’s guide has a schedule that covers the standards addressed during that week as well as activities for students and any resources needed for the week. If you prefer to be flexible, you can adapt this plan. Homeschool moms are good at that, I know!
  • Moms who are looking for materials that address national standards. The teacher’s guide lays out all of the standards in “Reading Informational Text,” “Writing,” “Speaking and Listening,” and “Language.” In each week’s overview, there is a section that shows standards covered that week.
  • Moms who want to help kids make spiritual connections with what they are learning. No matter what faith denomination you come from, you can use the faith elements in this curriculum to discuss things from your personal worldview.
If you want a curriculum that has the structure of a textbook-based curriculum that uses real books as the anchor text and teaches spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and writing in context, you’ll likely be a fan of Pathways 2.0 from Kendall Hunt Publishing.

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