Language Arts seems to be one of those subjects that can either excite or terrorize the homescooling momma. Either we feel completely overwhelmed because we don’t know our parts of speech, or perhaps the thought of diagramming sends fear-bumps scrambling along our extremities. Or maybe you feel completely confidant teaching your students the rudiments of the English Language, I mean.. how hard can it be right?
Some basic information.
- Every sentence starts with a capital letter.
- Every sentence needs proper punctuation, such as: periods, question marks, exclamation marks, commas
- Every sentence needs a subject and a predicate.
- Every sentence should be a complete thought.
- Indent the first sentence of every paragraph.
There are 8 basic parts of speech: Nouns, Verbs, Adverbs, Adjectives, Pronouns, Conjunctions, Interjections, Prepositions
- Nouns are naming words.
- Verbs are the action words.
- A transitive verb needs a direct object.
- An adjective modifies a noun and can have 3 forms: simple, comparative and superlative
- An adverb generally modifies a verb, but can also modify another adverb or even an adjective; they tell when, where, or how.
- A preposition always shows the relation of one thing to another. ( Think of this… what can a plane do to a cloud)
- Conjunctions connect words.
- Proper Nouns should be capitalized.
- A comma is used for a series of lists, after a person’s name, after an interjection, and to separate clauses or phrases.
- A question mark is used after an interrogative statement, right?
- A statement and a command require the use of a period.
- An exclamation call for the emotional exclamation point!
Ok, I can handle that but wait. What about complex sentences? What about Subordinate Clauses? What about verbals and gerunds? What about diagramming? and…and..and???
Finding a good Language Arts program can be both a blessing and a stress-producer. It is equally hard when the teacher, aka. MOM, feels inadequate because she forgot what she learned in school or doesn’ t remember learning it at all.
This is where I want to remind you that when homeschooling we have a chance to not only redeem our children’s education but ours as well. One of the best things we can do as homeschooling mothers is to teach our children the skill of learning. Show them HOW to learn and walk alongside of them. Show them how to find the information and they will be prepared to tackle any subject.
Give them tools to be successful and they will not feel inadequate in their learning. Give them a passion for learning, because they see you learning, and they will note hesitate to learn new things.
A lot of times our children are afraid or dislike a subject simply because we choose to share our ‘opinion’ of that subject. Maybe you had a bad experience in English 101. Or your 6th grade teacher was super strict and you have a fear of failure. ( No offense to the 6th grade teacher.)
The point here is that in order for our children to have a love for learning, even in Language Arts, we need to give them the chance to succeed and excel. We want to give them tools. That may even mean we need to get out the thinking cap and try on the learning hat ourselves. Don’t be afraid of those looming names and descriptive words, embrace it and have fun with it. You will be surprised how much you love it.
A few suggestions for Language Arts that we have loved and others that may excite you:
Language Arts through Literature from Common Sense Press.
- We love this program. I have used it with our youngest from the very beginning and wish I would have done it with the older 2. It is a gentle and thorough introduction to the subject of Language Arts with repetition that helps to cement the concepts.
- Once the student can read well this is can be an independent curriculum. ( Note: Teacher ( Mom) does need to follow up and make sure student is completing work.)
Jensen’s Grammar by Frode Jensen
- If you love Saxon Math, you will love Jensen Grammar. This is a no nonsense approach to grammar. It totally fits the type A personality. It is a workbook style grammar program that is very practical.
- There is a younger story version called Grammar Land with workbook pages. We have enjoyed this as well. The stories are informative and entertaining.
Our Mother Tongue
- A very thorough history of English and the many aspects of Language Arts study. We use this often as we are studying alongside our other English materials.
- An oldie but goodie. This is a thorough, though sometimes difficult to understand English curriculum. What I loved about this is the details in parsing and sentence structure that helped us to understand our writing better.
Emma Serl’s Language Lessons
- For the gentle introduction into grammar, these books are a great choice.
Some ebooks that I have found helpful:
- Practical Grammar and Composition by Thomas Wood
- Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide
- The Art of Writing and Speaking the English Language by Sherwin Cody
English Grammar Revolution – I think this is a wonderful site with monthly email option which is filled with practical grammar tips and sentence diagram puzzle. Her monthly email is one of the easiest way to teach sentence diagramming I have found so far.)