Archive for February 22nd, 2012

February 22, 2012

Language Arts Incorporated

by Belinda Letchford

 

This week I’m putting the final touches to our study schedule for the coming year – or for at least the next 6 months.  I’ve been reading Ruth Beechick’s A Biblical Home Education and have taken many notes which are forming the framework for our next season.

 Teaching children at home does not have to be as difficult as people make it by trying to follow too much of the world’s system that has developed layer upon layer over the years.  We can peel away excess layers by the one great principle of viewing language learning as different from the content subjects.  Language includes speaking, reading, writing, listening, and thinking.  These are skills to use for learning Bible and all other content.  Children improve these skills by using them in their content subjects.  That is more effective and more efficient than adding layers of skill classes. – Ruth Beechick, A Biblical Home Education

It is good to be reminded of this.  For the most of our homeschooling years we have incorporated our language study/skills into our other content subjects, like Ruth Beechick says.  But over the last few years I had decided to focus on writing skills and (whether right or wrong) set aside specific lessons and curriculum for that.  To be honest I’m not so sure we achieved as much as it looked like we would on paper.  This year I am going to attack it a different way – get back to incorporating speaking, reading, writing, listening and thinking into our core studies: Bible study and General Knowledge studies.

My main goals are that my children can

  • Ask questions to formulate what it is that they want to learn
  • Find relevant resources (books and online) for the information they want to learn
  • Find the answers to their questions
  • Take notes from what they are reading
  • Organise their collected information in helpful way – outlines, notes, or graphic organisers
  • Write summaries or paraphrases, full sentence answers, a paragraph or essay on their researched topic

Ruth Beechick outlines very simply but comprehensively how these processes can be achieved in a homeschool setting.   Though it doesn’t look like a curriculum resource, reality is that this book is full of the things you need to teach your children – across all the curriculum areas.  It is very much a big picture book, but with enough details to make it helpful and easy to integrate into family style learning.

Seeing the importance of incorporating language arts skills into our other subjects means that I have to set aside longer in order to achieve the work.  If I want my children to think, talk, research, question and record on a daily basis we need to have time to do so.  I have set 2 hours for us to read, research and record.

I’m looking forward to this change in our language arts studies.

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