Today my youngest said, “I like school this year. It’s easier.”
“Why do you think it’s easier?” I asked.
“I don’t know. It just is.”
Aside from the fact he is a year older, I am another year wiser as a home educator. I made a few changes to make this year “easier” and fun.
In a moment of brilliance, I decided to alternate our writing and grammar each week. Language arts is a vast area of study, and it can be difficult to fit every aspect into a daily regimen that keeps everyone motivated. Alternating our language arts subjects is enhancing my kids’ writing experiences. It also allows me to use my array of writing and grammar resources. As it turns out, we are covering more material.
Our grammar weeks focus on editing our writing assignments, using Giggles in the Middle: Caught ‘ya! Grammar with a Giggle for Middle School grammar stories and vocabulary, and Emma Serl’s Intermediate Language Lessons.
On our writing weeks, I use ideas within our Serl, Caught ‘ya!, Leap Write In, and Writing Strands books. Often the lessons coincide well enough that I can combine three or four of them to teach one writing assignment. Or I can give the kids three or four choices and let their interests naturally direct their writing. This is also the week we focus on spelling. For handwriting, I have them copy their Bible verses or a poem from the Serl book.
Reading comprehension has been a struggle for my boys who would rather be playing video games or football. This is our second year of using Test Prep workbooks to help us preparing for yearly testing. We use the Test Prep workbooks during our writing week; quick reviews work well when we have lengthy writing assignments. Reading comprehension from www.edhelper.com during grammar week helps the boys focus on study skills through a concentrated review of history and science. For example, we are studying geography this year. The reading comprehension covers information about countries they are not studying in-depth and provides a general recap of each continent.
We are also combining our art and home economics skills with our geography. Using Geography Through Art and Eat Your Way Around the World, we correlate the countries with appropriate art projects and recipes. In case my children never visit these countries themselves, I am arranging dinners with family and friends who have travelled or lived in these countries. The kids are building their communication and writing skills by interviewing our guests. For my son with special needs, this exercise has been particularly helpful and prepares him for his weekly speech therapy sessions.
“Easier”? I suppose it depends on perspective. But, a child who is enjoying learning always makes the learning–and the teaching–seem easier.