So far we've covered topics such as identifying a family vision, figuring out what your children want to learn, decluttering the school area, and planning a daily rhythm.
In this e-mail, we will discuss morning time and language arts since they support each other so well.
Why do we teach language arts? It becomes such a big part of your child's education, and their ability to write a clear essay or have an intelligent conversation is an important part of their success as adults, especially if they plan to go to college.
Traditional schools give children workbook pages that cover spelling, grammar, composition, punctuation, and handwriting, but in a Charlotte Mason homeschool, we combine subjects to make the teaching of language arts much more efficient.
If the goal is to become effective communicators, or maybe even noble and beautiful communicators, then the core of their learning shouldn't be poorly written textbooks but rather beautiful literature.
This is where morning time becomes so important. As you gather your children to read heartwarming stories together, copy sections of the poetry and verses, and discuss or “narrate” what you read, it helps them develop an ear for good writing.
And this makes the rest of your language arts so much simpler. Instead of squeezing out good literature in favor of tedious language arts programs, focus on just a few skills each year.
In the early grades, have them read or listen to stories, memorize poetry and verses, copy from good literature each day (we include copy-work sheets in four levels in the Peaceful Press bundles), review phonics (Nourishing Nature and Peaceful Preschool both have extensive phonics review) or work on spelling. Resources like Explode the Code can also help review word families and decoding words.
As they move into third or fourth grade, we add grammar or writing (I love resources from IEW). Fix It Grammar from IEW is a favorite because they focus on dissecting sentences and understanding parts of speech. I love the IEW writing books such as American History Writing lessons because with short texts about the subjects we are already studying in our Peaceful Press resources and clear directions that help them narrate a passage in their own words, it's a great building block towards good writing. At this point, they might only need spelling once weekly, especially if they are still copying from good literature.
We also incorporate daily note booking or narration in the Peaceful Press elementary resources. Sometimes this can be just drawing a picture about what you read, creating a diagram such as a frog's life cycle, or retelling in their own words the chapter you read in the Narnia stories. This is a fantastic way to develop good writers as it teaches them to observe and be curious about what they are learning.
This is another reason we don't recommend overloading your children with language arts workbooks. The Peaceful Press incorporates literature, copy work, and narration so pick one extra language arts subject to focus on each year so your child can enjoy margin to think and process what they are learning.
In the following e-mail I'll share some ideas for homeschooling with littles, but in the meantime, let me know if you have specific questions or subjects you'd like me to cover.
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