How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way

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Today starts a 5 day series on How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way.  If you have been a longtime reader than you know the emphasis is on Relaxed!

I’m not a purist in any way.  Doing what works for our family trumps everything else.  So if what we do is not exactly Classical, than I am perfectly okay with that.  I do, however, feel strongly about the Classical idea of teaching history in a linear fashion and in a 4 year cycle.  The method makes complete sense to me.  History is a subject that we all enjoy and is really the backbone of our homeschool.  I will share more about history on Thursday.

Here is what I will be covering this week:

Monday: Language Arts – Grammar, Writing, Spelling

Tuesday: Math

Wednesday: Science

Thursday: History

Friday: Fine Arts

How I Teach Grammar

We have a relaxed approach to Language Arts, particularly grammar.  Which really translates to mean we have done no formal grammar study at all.  Aside from the fact that my kids like listening to Grammar Time Jingles, grammar is not a subject we currently study in depth.  As my kids continue to get older we will naturally study the subject further.

Grammar isn’t a subject that I love, so perhaps it will never be a major factor in our homeschool.  I’m not entirely convinced it needs to be a rigorous program in every homeschool.

How I Teach Spelling

Spelling is a subject that we do cover each day.  The three older children, ages 12, 10 and 9, use Spelling Workout.  Aside from the pre-test and post-test each week, we consider this an independent subject. I also have each child read aloud the short paragraph at the beginning of each lesson.  It’s a good check of their reading as well as an introduction to the spelling words.

We all love using these workbooks, I think I originally got the idea to try them from Mary.  I then read a review of Spelling Workout from Tricia @ The Curriculum Choice.  We have used the books through several levels now.

The kids also use very simple spelling notebooks.  They save their pre-tests and post-tests, as well as practice on words that they struggled with a bit during the week, in the binder.  It’s a good reference of their work.

Tapestry of Grace also provides a list of words each week for vocabulary and/or spelling. We mostly do those words for  familiarization not necessarily for mastery, particularly for the younger children.

How I Teach Writing

This year we are using Writing Aids from Tapestry of Grace.  Although we are still very new to the program, I’m happy with the way it’s laid out.  There are no grades, only levels, so it makes it very easy to customize week to week.  We do our writing activities in the afternoon, after lunch and quiet time.  We spend about 30 minutes together two days a week and then the kids have a bit of independent work throughout the week.

Previously, we have used mostly copywork and dictation for our writing work.  We do need to get into the habit of doing more writing.  I’m looking forward to having a moment to listen to the iHN Google + Hangout from last week called Teaching Writing.  I can always use fresh ideas.

The kids will add their writing work to their spelling notebooks as well.

Handwriting Too

I still require handwriting and the three older children use the handwriting books from Seton.  I love that they get a dose of our Catholic faith even while practicing their cursive.  Yes, I do require cursive!

Adding in the Younger Children

For my younger children, ages 9 {some special needs}, 8 {special needs} & 6, we are mostly focused on the early reading stages.  We use Hooked on Phonics and Explode the Code.  While my big kids are working on their independent work like spelling, I work with the younger kids on reading and phonics.  I have found it works best to work with the younger kids first, then they have the rest of the morning for independent play and activities.

That’s what works for us right now for Language Arts!

Please visit the other homeschooling moms participating in the iHN Winter Hopscotch.


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