Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Language Arts Liberation!

Ever since we began home education I have struggled with finding the right balance for language arts. There are just so many areas which seemed essential to a good education: reading; writing; spelling; handwriting; poetry; literature read-alouds; grammar. Covering all these sub topics could easily fill a whole day not to mention religion, maths and so on.

In the beginning I tried to fit them all in. Much stress ensued! As I waded through curriculum forums, review sites and discussed curriculum with other mums, I always felt that I wasn't getting it right. Child x was memorising poetry, child y was diagramming sentences, child z was writing a thesis (or so it seemed!)

In my effort to find the right balance I tried many programmes. You name it I have either tried it or know something about it! With every curriculum switch I was sure I had found the perfect fit. But filling our mornings with 4 or 5 language arts lessons lead to disjointedness and stress. Bilby would complain and I would find something else, or he would like one programme, but I thought it was too schooly!

Late last year I decided enough was enough! Four years of chopping and changing had done none of us any good. After reading this wonderful blog post and other sources related to grammar, writing and keeping things simple, I decided to pare down my language arts expectations once and for all.

Our school year begins in a week and I am adamant that I will break the cycle of curriculum jumping! This year I have decided that the boys will continue their spelling programme (Phonetic Zoo) and return to Emma Serl's Intermediate Language Lessons. That's it! We will not change after a few weeks or months, and I will not read about other programmes or listen with too much enthusiasm to the choices of others.

And now that I've told the world, I better follow through!


Sarah said...

I'm so glad you found that post helpful! You know, this is the first year that I haven't done the whole chop-change-curriculum-hopping. I'm just hanging on to Ruth Beechick's advice, and as a result we are having the best homeschooling experience we've ever had! There's just something so powerful about keeping things simple, isn't there? Wishing you all the best!

Erin said...


I really encourage you to stick to your resolution{{}} You're smarter than I, wish I had found that wisdom back then.
So often we make homeschooling far harder than they have to be.

Tricia said...

Thanks Erin and Sarah. I think the difficult part will come when it *appears* to not be working. When the tears and tiredness set in. Bilby will not doubt just expect that a little complaint will result in a new text appearing on the table! But not this time!