Homeschooling Mid-Year Planning: Language Arts

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Homeschooling comes with its own varieties of idiosyncrasies and prejudices, just like any brand of education.

Public school varieties are positive we are teaching our kids in the basement wearing handmade Amish bonnets and feeding them conspiracy-laced bunker oatmeal while mentally depriving them of “actual education.” Homeschoolers are pretty certain we’re all 3 grades ahead in math, and our 2nd grader actually loves Chaucer (no one loves Chaucer), and our neighbor’s sister’s cousin’s kid taught himself Latin in Kindergarten. In the car.

3rd declension FTW!

I remember one time when I was in a homeschool coo-op meeting, and I told everyone I loved using textbooks.

*laughs maniacally*

Yeah, they nearly lynched me for that.

Textbooks omg that is so boring wouldn’t you prefer to teach your kids pre-algebra by cutting potatoes into quarters and saying it’s fractions?? Look, if you flip the potato over, it’s a reciprocal!

No, that’s not how math works.

Not on my watch.

We may be homeschoolers, but we go by the book. Because they aren’t going to give us snacks or do-overs during the SAT, and we’re not messing around over here.

However, you can make learning something you love…and something your kids will love.

Watch:

I have a struggling reader. She hated reading, even though her mother has a degree in Literature and our entire house is surrounded by amazing books, and fought sitting through any stretch of reading exercise she was given.

Dyslexia isn’t an easy mountain to climb.

But this girl loves her some scary stories. If it’s gross, disgusting, creepy, disfigured, in the dark and named “BoogeyBoo,” she is all into it.

So when she found “Goosebumps” on Netflix, she nearly lost her mind.

And so did her little sister who couldn’t sleep for days after. We had to oust “Goosebumps” from the TV, just for the sake of some people’s mental well-being, and everyone agreed it was for the best.

One day, we were at the library. Lo and behold, an entire section of the library devoted to R.L. Stein’s “Goosebumps.” Have you ever seen a girl so excited in your life??

No. No you haven’t. Because she checked out her favorite stories, and read book after book until she was finished. She loved it. She loved reading. Oh sure, it wasn’t Chaucer or any of the Bronte sisters….but that’s because those books are other people’s favorite books. These were her favorite books.

Literature is a personal journey. The stories and characters speak to you, where you are. 

Sometimes you are 38 and love “The Turn of The Screw,” and sometimes you are 13 and love spooky stories about haunted ventriloquist dummies.

Reading can be in books, in magazines, in journals or articles…and sometimes it is hard to know where to find what you’re looking for!

Besides the library, here are 5 other places we use to find great material for reading!

 

1. ReadWorks   http://about.readworks.org/

 

I love ReadWorks because there is a lot of very high quality material there, with options of subjects and grades. This morning I printed out a 24 page packet for 8th grade, and we are going to be studying mental and emotional health this week. We are covering comprehension, vocabulary, themes and bigger ideas. My 1st grader is studying articles about bugs 🙂

 

2. LiteracyTA  https://www.literacyta.com/lta-toolkit

Okay, so I found this last year, and it has changed my life. Like, more than any other site…but it is kind of intense, and you have to navigate through it a bit. But once you get it figured out, there are entire lessons on writing you can use. Make a cup of tea and find a quiet corner in the house (that isn’t the bathroom) and get into this one. It will not disappoint.

 

3. Starfall  http://www.starfall.com/

An oldie but a goodie, and always a favorite. Particularly for younger kids and beginning readers, you cannot go wrong with Starfall.

 

4. Reading Rainbow  https://www.readingrainbow.com/

A new favorite in our house! We have been subscribers to the Skybrary for over a year now, and it has been amazing. There are stories, games, and very easy navigation between worlds (see: genres) for older kids and younger kids.

 

5. Newslea  https://newsela.com/

This is a great resource for kids to get involved with current events. Instead of letting your kids loose into the nefarious articles of CNN or The New York Times, Newslea is a much safer portal into the world. You can create personal logins for your kids, and have particular subjects listed, rather than just getting the full firehose of news blasted at you. Highly recommended.

 

 

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