ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Choose a Language Arts Curriculum

Updated on September 28, 2016

Making a Curriculum Choice

Choosing a language arts curriculum is a very important decision for your homeschool. Furthermore, the plethora of options can make choosing a language arts curriculum an overwhelming task. Where should you start? What do you need, and what is optional? Here are some guidelines to set you on the path of choosing a language arts program that fits your needs.

Books are the foundation of language arts.
Books are the foundation of language arts. | Source

The Elements of a Language Arts Curriculum

A language arts curriculum should cover these four broad areas.

  1. writing
  2. reading
  3. listening
  4. speaking

Within those categories, you will want to cover these specific areas:

  • spelling
  • vocabulary
  • literature
  • poetry
  • grammar and mechanics
  • composition
  • public speaking

As you design a language arts curriculum, be sure to evaluate how balanced it is. Does it cover all the areas adequately?

Young children, grades K-3, need to focus on reading more than anything. Then starting around third or fourth grade, introduce formal lessons on spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics. By middle school, students should be mastering paragraphs and essays. High schoolers need to move from simple reading comprehension into literary analysis. Each grade builds a little more on what was learned before, revisiting old topics, but studying them to a deeper level of understanding.

What Do You Do?

Which statement suits you more?

See results

Strengths and Weaknesses

When evaluating your language arts curriculum, you should take stock of your child's strengths and weaknesses. There are two ways to look at strengths and weaknesses, and both have value.

Some moms focus on their children's weaknesses and teach to improve them. This is a good choice if the weakness is something as foundational as reading comprehension (for any grade) or essay writing (for upper grades). The other side of the coin is that constantly dwelling on a weakness can be demoralizing. So be careful here.

Another approach is to emphasize a child's strengths and develop them to the maximum. For example, if your child is an avid reader, you make loads of quality literature available and give him plenty of time for free reading.

Realizing a child's strengths and weaknesses in language arts can help you choose a curriculum that fits. If a child struggles with spelling, you may need a very rigorous but slowly paced program. If your child excels in writing, you can consider advanced materials that match his ability, accelerating past the areas he has already mastered. If a child is a natural at grammar, a brief overview each year may be adequate. But if your child lacks attention to punctuation and capitalization, a daily editing practice may be in order.

Writing

Is Your Homeschool Writing Cross Curricular?

See results

Reading & Writing in Your Other Subjects

How much reading and writing are in your other subject areas? If there is a lot of it, say in science and history, for example, you may not need as much reading and writing for your language arts curriculum. If, however, your other subjects are largely void of either reading or writing, you will need to add that in with specific language arts lessons.

I am a big fan of multi-tasking in homeschool. When I can have one assignment cover two or more topics, I think that we have been very efficient with our use of time. So I am careful to look for areas where language arts overlaps into history, art, music, science, and even math. When it does, I take advantage of the opportunity to get a "two-for-one" homeschool bargain.

If your history curriculum is full of living books, then you may not need to add many additional language arts readers. But if you use a textbook approach, you will certainly want to make sure your child is reading other quality books for language arts class.

If you require a good bit of writing in other academic areas, then you probably do not need as many language arts writing assignments as other homeschoolers. For example, if you use notebooking and written narrations for history and science, you know that your child is already getting daily practice with expository writing.

How About You?

Where do you fall on the continuum?

See results

What is Your Teaching Style?

Are you a laid back "let's just wing it" kind of homeschool mom? Or do you prefer everything laid out clearly, even with a word for word script for what to say to the children? Probably you fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. But take a good look at the structure provided in any curriculum you are considering.

  • Is the material scheduled for you or will you have to do that yourself?
  • Are there answer keys or suggested answers?
  • Are tests and quizzes included?
  • Is it a comprehensive program or just something that covers an area or two?

If you need a lot of structure, a textbook or a program with a highly detailed instructor's guide will be a better fit. If you need less structure, you can probably use most any curriculum and adapt it to your own style, ignoring the directions that don't suit you.

If you like an eclectic approach, you will feel comfortable with selecting from a buffet of language arts options -- one company for grammar, another for writing, and an assortment of word games and library books. But if you are very fearful of gaps, you may prefer the comfort of an inclusive plan that covers all the bases (like Abeka, Bob Jones, or Sonlight).

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)