The Good and The Beautiful Language Arts Curriculum Wasn't a Good Fit, Now What?
A few years ago, we tried out Jenny Phillips’ Good and Beautiful language arts curriculum. I was thrilled to give it a try, and I even came up with a way to keep the language arts curriculum organized since we used the downloadable version. I was disappointed that it wasn’t going fit for our family since I had printed all the pages and created binders for my daughters. I hoped the all-in-one curriculum would help us reach our language arts goals, but my daughters didn’t find it enjoyable, and honestly, it was just too much for me to adjust to make it enjoyable for them. The stories featured weren’t of interest to them, and I found myself having to make too many adaptations for us to be able to use the program.
The Good and the Beautiful has since been restructured and added new subjects to the catalog. We haven’t used any of the newer products since we stopped using it a few years ago, but I am still often asked questions about what we’re using now so I figured I’d share for those who have given it a try and found that it wasn’t a good fit.
Language Art Options for Those Who Need Something Other Than the Good and Beautful
One thing I learned from giving an all-in-one curriculum a chance is that I prefer using a variety of resources. By using more than one company’s products, we are less likely to become frustrated with the conservative or lack of diversity slant that is often a part of homeschooling curriculum. By choosing each resource, we are able use products from a variety of publishers and gives me more freedom to include lessons I've created. Sometimes using a curriculum can unintentionally take away freedom in teaching because of the urge to use the curriculum to its fullest. The mix of language arts resources gives my daughters the opportunity to learn information from more than one perspective which allows them to, at times, see themselves in stories and the content that they are learning from. Some of the resources we use to teach reading, writing, and grammar are:
Homeschool writing resources for upper elementary and middle school learners
There’s nothing wrong with using curriculum or resources to help guide your child’s writing process. Depending on the school year, we have used different methods to teach writing. This year we've used Daily Spark writing prompts and other resources to help teach my daughters how to write clearly. Other years, we’ve used WriteShop and Evan-Moor products. A must-- whether we're using curriculum or not-- is encouraging my girls to journal. Journaling and writing prompts are simple ways my daughters can apply what they’ve learned from curriculum and resource books to an interesting question.
Evan-Moor Daily Six Trait Writing is a daily writing resource that includes grammar, graphic organizers, and a different weekly writing assigment. We don’t always finish the writing in one week if I want them to practice editing and rewriting.
WriteShop is a full curriculum that covers each writing genre. Parents are encouraged to model writing with this program.
The Daily Spark is a booklet filled with 180 writing activities. This is great if you want your children to practice applying their writing skills or if you need a break from using curriculum.
Journaling is my go to because writers become better by writing. My daughters journal when they aren’t working on a specific writing assignment. My oldest have take to writing stories now which is really cool.
The Mailbox Prompt, Plan, Write! is a resource book with writing activities for each writing genre. The worksheet pages include a prompt, a graphic organizer for planning, and a writing activity related to the prompt.
Homeschool grammar resources for upper elementary and middle school learners
I can’t get away from doing grammar lessons with my girls. I believe some topics have to be directly taught especially if I want them to know the vocabulary related to the topic. This is the case when it comes to why we do regular grammar lessons in our homeschool. I don’t use a ton of resources to teach grammar. We have used the first three books of Fix It Grammar, and we will start book four next school year.
Fix It Grammar is a daily grammar curriculum that teaches how to identify the parts of speech through stories. Each book is a story. After correcting the daily sentence, students write the corrected sentences at the end of the week which also helps strengthen writing skills.
IF Grammar is a workbook that reminds me of my days of a student. I use it to make sure my daughters can apply the skills they’ve learned in a different way. I know that using the same curriculum can form habits so seeing that they can take it out of one book and apply to other books or areas of learning is important to me.
Homeschool reading resources for upper elementary and middle school learners
Evan-Moor Reading Informational Text is a resource book focused on reading for information. It includes vocabulary activities, comprehension questions, activities focused on identifying information within the text, and writing activies.
Evan-Moor Reading Literary Text is a resource book that exposes readers to a variety of genres and provides opportunities for literary analysis. It includes vocabulary activities, comprehension questions, activities focused on identifying information within the text, and writing activies.
Teachers Pay Teachers has a ton of literary shops that offer reading guides for learners of all ages such as Add On To Learning. If you want to check for understanding, adding comprehension guides to your plan of study occasionally may be a good option for your homeschool.
The path you take when teaching language arts to your child will depend on the child you’re teaching and the goals you have for language arts in your homeschool. The goals I have for my children include: being proficient writers which means I need to make sure they have time to write whether we’re using a curriculum or not; comprehending and relating to variety of texts which means that I invest in books that they enjoy and books that I think would be good for them to read whether the book is listed on the “classics” list or not; being able to differentiate the different parts of speech so they will be decent writers and readers which means we do some grammar work even if it’s only ten minutes a day.
Teaching language arts doesn’t have to be stressful, and I’ve learned for us the best way for it not to be overwhelming is by implementing it into our homeschool using methods that make it less of a subject and more of a part of life.
What are you using to teach language arts in your homeschool?