My oldest daughter was a learning experience in herself. With her difficulties in reading (which spilled over into pretty much all of language arts) I wavered between sending her to the local school, trying all the "reading" curriculum I could reasonably try with my limited budget and ignoring the issue. We had been slowly making our way in the McGuffy Primer. I picked up a copy of ...100 Easy Lessons. Thanks to review items, we were able to try Rocket Phonics and All About Spelling. All About Reading wasn't available at this time, though the readers started coming out soon after. None of these were the key. Learning spelling patterns and rules helped somewhat, but didn't prove to be the tool to decode everything. We continued reading aloud and doing much of the comprehension work orally. Due to a "pencil allergy" that made writing painful, thoughts of any other language arts were put off "until she is reading". It seemed as though my girl would always struggle. She didn't find any of the joy in reading that her father and I do.
Without realizing it, her younger sisters started reading with minimal intervention from me. We read through the various readers we had. I tried again with ...100 Easy Lessons. Daughters two and three didn't really need me. They were doing great just by reading and checking with me when they encountered more difficult words. I backed off on the planned lessons and curriculum with the eldest. I didn't give up. She didn't give up. We still read aloud. I encouraged her to read to the younger siblings. But if she didn't want to, then she didn't. I wanted her to enjoy learning, so we focused our attention elsewhere. Then, something clicked for her. Nothing done by me, no special curriculum, just time and patience. The only thing we did continue despite "quitting" everything else, was some large motion exercises I had heard of through Dianne Craft.
PAL from the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). If I could have just one program for reading, this would be it. It is such a joy-filled and pain-free process (for mama and the learner). I am looking forward to using this with the next two little ones. But if it is not "the" answer, I know to not give up. Those light bulb moments do come eventually.
So it looks as though the "no formal grammar until mid-elementary age" became a reality in our homeschool. The eldest daughter and I worked through Write Shop Junior D. The Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack was perfect for her. It put the names to the parts of speech and defined these things that we had only incidentally talked about before. I still did much of the actual writing for her and introduced her to the keyboard so she could start doing more of her work independently. We have also used Write Shop Primary C with the middle girls and love the incremental approach that Write Shop does so well. It has been easy to incorporate other subject areas into the writing projects, too.
IEW/Beautiful Feet Geography curriculum. Though we are reading aloud and doing the Beautiful Feet guide together, only three oldest girls are doing the IEW portion of our studies. I have also added a grammar lapbook from In the Hands of a Child for the middle girls. We are only slowly doing this - whenever the rest of our schedule is slower.
Because the girls all claim literature as their favorite subject, we are working out some literature studies as well. Lightning Literature for 7th grade for the eldest and Living Literature, Grammar, and Language Arts Packets from Shining Dawn Books. As long as they are enjoying it, we'll keep it up.
Some weeks I might wish we used (simple?, boring?, easy for mama?) textbooks. I doubt we would ever change to that type of approach though (I know better than to say never!). We have such fun reading aloud, working through lessons and writing projects together - I'd miss it and hope the children would, too. It seems we finally have a handle on this language arts thing afterall.
Virtual Curriculum Fair hosted by Susan at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds. Come and read what others are sharing about Playing with Words: the Language Arts.
Nurturing Novelists = Building Strong Writers by Susan Anadale @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Building Blocks of Education--Learning to Read by Kristi Kerr @ The Potter's Hand Academy
Finding Our Way Through Language Arts by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
How Does a Unit Study Teach Language Arts? by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Our Language Arts Adventure by Linda @ Homeschooling6
2013 Virtual Curriculum Fair-Playing with Words: The Language Arts by Leah Courtney @ As We Walk Along the Road
Virtual Curriculum Fair-Playing with Words by Karyn @ Teach Beside Me
Virtual Curriculum Fair ~ Language Arts by Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool
Writing Help in a Critical Thinking book? by Missouri Mama @ Ozark Ramblings
Virtual Curriculum Fair: Foreign Language Immersion in the Homeschool by Tonia @ The Sunny Patch
Formula for Reading by Erin @ Delighting in His Richness
Words and Learning by Annette @ A Net In Time
A Custom Designed High School English Credit by Tech Wife @ A Playground of Words
Virtual Curriculum Fair 2013: Still Loving Language Arts by Pam @ Everyday Snapshots
Word Play by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Loving Language Arts by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset
Learning Language Arts ~ 2012-2013 School Year by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our WorldVirtual Curriculum Fair - The Language Arts Department by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Playing with Words: The Language Arts by Christa Darr @ Fairfield Corner Academy: The Story of Our Life
Playing with Words: Language Arts by April @ Coffee, Cobwebs and Curriculum