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Struggling to put together a language arts curriculum


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#1 Psychedelic Strawberry

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 11:40 PM

I have a Grade 2 child (just turned 8), and I'm having some issues working out a curriculum for him. My son has a very high IQ, although, like a lot of other gifted children, you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at his school work. He also has numerous behavioural issues which complicate things.

Maths and science are currently taken care of, as is spelling. He isn't a natural speller, but I feel his spelling is age/grade appropriate. Right now he is working through AAS level 2 and practicing focus words that he often uses in his day-to-day writing. This combination seems to be working well for him at the moment.

The main areas I need help with are grammar, writing and language arts in general. I have been going round in circles, but I really need to put something into place for him.

We started off with FLL a few years ago. At that point in time he didn't really take to it, although he was able to grasp the content without any issues. In the end I became frustrated with his silliness, so I gave up on that approach.

I have recently pulled out the first book in the series again, just to do a review of things and fill in a few gaps. Once we have worked through that, I was planning to move to the second book, but I'm open to alternatives. He will complete the lessons without too much fuss, but once again he is so silly with it, so the lessons take far more time than they should. I'm not convinced this is the best approach for him, but I'm not sure what else to try.

His writing is pretty much non-existent. I think he grasps basic sentence structure and punctuation, but I couldn't be 100% sure of this. There are so many programs out there, I just can't figure out which would suit him best. I think we need one that will actually get him putting pen to paper, so perhaps IEW? I'm not sure where he would need to start because a lot of PAL seems to basic for him in parts (he is an excellent reader and always has been), yet I'm not sure he is up to the next stage, either. I don't mind some religious aspects, however Bible Heroes seems a bit too full on. I was also considering WWE, but that might not be such a great fit since it's quite similar to FLL.

As far as handwriting goes, it has improved vastly over time, although it still isn't quite up to scratch. The only real issue is spacing/sizing, however I'm happy to let this slide for a while as there are physical issues at play. The letters themselves are correctly formed etc. so the basics as there. I'm planning to tackle that over the space of a few weeks next year, since regular handwriting practice/instruction doesn't seem to work for him.

Is anyone able to offer me some advice? I don't really know where to go from here.

#2 SarahW

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 01:47 AM

You're new here. Welcome! But you should post this on the Accelerated Learner board. That's where we discuss curriculum choices for gifted, asynchronous and generally atypical kids.

 

But just to start you off, the first recommendation for LA for a gifted student is Michael Clay Thompson, starting at the Sentence Island level. Check it out. And if it confuses you, search these forums to see explanations for the other confused people.

 

I did FLL with my kid in 1st/2nd-ish. I say "ish" because had the old version that combined 1 and 2, and condensed and skipped, and he got done with it all in a few months. It's a good program - if you're willing to go off script and springboard it to a free flowing conversation that teaches the topic. Since you already have it, I would say play around with it some more while you investigate different programs.



#3 PeterPan

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 12:23 PM

You seem to be making a lot of assumptions here. I would come over to LC, post and work on sorting it out. You *at least* need some good achievement testing so you can see where he's actually at. 



#4 HomeAgain

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 12:46 PM

I have a second grader.  I don't expect him to write spontaneously yet.  He does oral narration, dictation, and copywork.

 

Last year I put together our own curriculum.  We used:

-Dictation Day By Day, a free older program that focuses on learning spelling through repeated exposure.  We supplemented this with AAS cards to learn rules.

-Grammar Land.  We started with FLL but didn't like it.  This was free, story-based and there are a few writing guides available for it (there are exercises in the book, but worksheets are around on the internet: a Montessori symbol based set on Currclick and a free set on a blog.)

-Copywork.  We used pieces from our literature when he was doing print, and when he switched to cursive we went back to the beginning exercises in Dictation DbD.  They were only 3-5 words, which he was able to do slowly and carefully.  He did ask for a simple cursive book and picked out New American Cursive from Memoria Press.  He did a few letters a day, nothing much.

 

This year, we are using English Lessons Through Literature. It's pretty much exactly what we were doing last year but more cohesive.  I debated between that, and The Good And The Beautiful, but while TGaTB was free, we wouldn't have used it all.  ELTL is just the right amount of work.  We also have Simply Grammar and The First Whole Book Of Diagrams to fall back on, which only need a small bit of tweaking to be age appropriate.