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Language Arts Help


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I'm so confused and at a loss what to do.


DS started reading on his own at 3.5 y. He just turned 5 and currently reads at at least a 3rd grade level (we haven't "tested" him in a while). His reading comp isn't quite as high though. He can spell most simple words alone and with some time and effort can spell more complicated words by breaking them down. We are fairly certain he has a photographic memory and simply sees the words in his head and reads off the letters. He recently taught himself to write (manuscript). His letters are remarkably neat and tidy. I'm shocked--anyone can read his handwriting. He's incredibly good at math but I think I've got that handled with multiple programs. We are fairly certain he is on the spectrum but he's very high functioning.


Any suggestions for LA curriculum or some sort of plan of attack? I'm worried about finding a balance between gently challenging him but not progressing too quickly and ending up with something we can't be effective at. He learned to read without phonics but has a scary intuitive understanding of phonics, decoding, etc. I was hoping to use phonics to teach spelling. I would prefer to launch into cursive ASAP as it could be beneficial for balancing his brain functions.


Secular curriculum is greatly preferred. I have limited energy for editing right now. Would something like LOE be okay and just go at his pace? Should I use piecemeal curriculum instead (AAS, something for grammar, something for writing, etc.)? Anyone BTDT with a similar child?

Edited by CrunchyGirl
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I don't know about any of the current curricula choices out there for LA as it has been about 12 years since I last had a 5 year old to homeschool!! But I'm thinking even now I would still do the same thing, which is basically not use curricula.


That isn't entirely true as I did use simple, inexpensive handwriting workbooks, but language arts was covered by reading aloud, talking about books, assigning copy work, and through playing games like Mad Libs and a fun card game called Rummy Roots which you can still find, I believe through Rainbow Resources. Spelling was a bugaboo for us because my kids could breeze through a spelling workbook but they never applied what they learned in those workbooks to their own writing. Same thing happened with grammar programs, so I abandoned curricula and workbooks and instead used their own writing as the source of lessons by selecting works to be edited and rewritten.


My oldest was (and is) on the spectrum, definitely 2E, and this approach worked very well with him. Keep it simple and fun for a 5, even 6 or 7 year old. They soak up so much through just reading and talking that there isn't a huge need for a curriculum.

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I haven't used LOE, but it seems quite all-inclusive for your goals and that, esp. with two littler ones, might be quite handy, depending on how intensive it is.


You could also teach him spelling & phonics with Phonics Pathways (there's an associated book of simple games -- essentially pre-printed cardstock you can cut into various simple phonics games). Zaner-Bloser will have you set secularly; if his handwriting is that good, just launch him into their grade 2 manuscript & cursive books or just the cursive if his manuscript doesn't need improving. There are so many good options for grammar. We're just using Growing With Grammar right now 'cause it's fairly independent and covers things Button will hit in standardized testing; we'll move into MCT and/or KISS in the next year or so. I also like the Winning With Writing as a more standard-writing supplement to WWE-style work.


At any rate, what you do for these mechanics will depend on your time available and the child's temperament, I should think.


For challenging his comprehension, or at least enhancing it, look at the Junior Great Books and the Great Books Academy programs: Jr. Great Books for their books, and GBA for the book recommendations (though I don't like Lang's Fairy Tales generally, which they draw on). Sonlight has great book lists which are age-appropriate and engaging; and the Five in a Row books & curriculum ideas are nice for young bright ones. Don't forget that picture books are marvelous and written at a high level often. Finally, I really really like the challenging literature at AO, and though there is a religious slant if you avoid the religious books it is entirely teachable. I don't know if any of that sounds helpful.

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