Monday, August 9, 2010

First Language Lessons

We began our school year with language lessons. Not for any grand educational reasons, but solely because the book I use has all my lesson plans laid out, even telling me what to say. I've been meaning to work out the structure to the rest of the subjects, but July just got away from me. (Don't tell me that doesn't happen to you!)

I feel very poorly equipped to teach language to my children. I never really learned much about grammar and sentence structure. Literature and poem memorization wasn't part of my education. This was not something I felt adequate to making up on my own. I knew that I needed a text that would lay it all out, clearly and succinctly. Thankfully, a fellow homeschooling mom suggested this book, and we have fallen in love with it. I've been so excited about it that other moms have picked up a copy and are using it in their homes, too! The text that we are using is called First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. It appears that my copy of the text is out of stock on the publisher's website as they are now publishing each level separately. I was lucky enough to find mine on a used curriculum website for $10. It's been a great investment, and we're planning to continue in this series.

What I love about this text is that I have no prep work. That's right, none! Click the link to the Amazon page and you'll be able to see a few sample lessons. Everything is scripted for me, there's no need to think. :) An added benefit is that someone else can do these lessons with my kids, if I can't, and they don't need to think, either!

Copy work!
Right from day one, we are learning about the parts of a sentence and day two we start memorizing a poem! This book contains the first and second grade levels. So, both of my boys are using this book. The foundation for good grammar is being built, memorization and recitation is starting, dictation and copy work are begun in the first grade level and are more heavily emphasized in the second grade level.

My second grader has a composition notebook that he is using to record his copy work. He does not enjoy writing, but I'm glad for this opportunity to sit still and practice it. He usually chooses to lay on the floor for his writing, which really isn't best practice for his penmanship, but we'll worry about that later!

What resources do you utilize for teaching your children language skills? Do you do anything for penmanship? How about spelling? We don't do either of those right now, and I'm wondering what's out there.

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