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Language Arts - I want short, thorough, and effective


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We are doing R&S grammar right now and I just hate it. It doesn't seem to bother the kids as much as it bothers me. It is the actual sentences and word choices not the actual grammar coverage that bothers me. I would like something with less repetitive work, as well.

 

I really want something that covers grammar AND spelling.

I want it on the more rigorous side vs.....not.

I am open to spelling through dictation, if it is included in the grammar program.

I do not want picture studies and am not really needing writing.

I am open to separate grammar and spelling, if they are both streamlined.

I like diagramming.

I don't want teacher intensive.

 

This is for 6th and 4th grade.

 

And I realize I am using *I* a lot. This is more of a Saturday morning-looking over next week's lessons-groaning-is there anything else out there?!? thread.

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Well why don't you ask for a unicorn while you're at it? :lol:

 

The material we have found that makes us happiest is Treasured Conversations. Spelling isn't a huge component though, I like Wordly Wise for that, or any old root word study if they haven't yet gone that way (the Root Connection is ours).

 

I guess TC may be considered teacher intensive because of the Socratic dialogue but it's really not compared to many other programs - very open and go except for actually engaging your students to think deeply and make connections. But that's why it works so well. We spend half the time doing writing and grammar we used to and get twice as much done, and I'm not kidding. Our unit study does involve grammar and spelling but it is teacher intensive and not thorough enough for my tastes, so we supplement.

 

To summarize - I love a good holistic writing curric (TC) over something like a Daily Grams, which we can't really make stick. I'd drop another writing program for it to cover multiple skills in one fell swoop, to be honest.

 

If more intensive spelling work is needed a speller that either goes by root spelling or a good vocab list is my pick.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I know you don't want writing, but we have loved Cottage Press this year. The writing is light imo. which leaves us time for writing across the curriculum. (picture studies are only in the lower levels.)

I'm not sure how you'll view the "rigorous" aspect. I wouldn't call it light by any means. Grammar exercises are not every single day, but they are taken from literature and are complex in the Bards and Poets level. It covers diagramming and parsing, as well as memorization.

 

The lower levels have actual spelling lessons. The upper elementary and above have studied dictation as well as vocab.

 

Lit. analysis and poetry lessons are all tied to the main selection. So you use one selection to cover grammar, spelling, writing, vocab., poetry and lit. analysis. I am amazed at how much we accomplish each day in a reasonable amount of time. and none of us hate it. :)

Edited by KeriJ
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When Grammar is coupled with another subject it is usually either Writing, as Grammar supports Writing. Spelling is another, different support to Writing. In the "Venn Diagram" of Language Arts (lol), Spelling and Grammar really don't overlap because they are each covering different support areas for Writing.

 

So that's why you don't tend to find them as linked together, unless they are both part of a Total Language Arts type of program such as Learning Language Arts Through Literature, Total Language Plus, or the English Lessons Through Literature, or Treasured Conversations, or Cottage Press materials. I say that so you won't be disappointed when you get no responses for a single program that covers just Grammar and Spelling. ;)

 

If workbooks are effective for your students, then go for that. And, if your students can manage mostly independently, then also look for that, since it sounds like you have reached your tolerance limit for dealing with Grammar and Spelling. ;) Save your strength for the time-consuming TOG which I see in your signature.

 

Grammar

- Fix It Grammar -- I'm hearing good things about the effectiveness of this one

- Growing With Grammar

- Junior Analytical Grammar -- teaches diagramming (not all of the others I listed do); may be too repetitive

- Easy Grammar -- this one can end up not effective for actual learning if the student memorizes the "pattern" and just "fills in the blanks" according to the pattern

 

Spelling

- Phonetic Zoo -- auditory-based rather than workbook

- Natural Speller

- Megawords

- Soaring with Spelling

- Evan More Building Spelling Skills

- Spelling Workout

 

LA All in One:

- Christian Light Education LA

 

 

BEST of luck in finding what works for your students AND for you! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I'm kind of looking at Learning Language Arts Through Literature. Lori, or anyone else, opinions???

 

The following it totally JMO, but not a fit for us. Other families DO have a totally different positive experience with LLAtL, so YMMV. :)

 

That said: It just did not at all work for us. Because of DS's mild LDs and because he was all over the place in his grade level working at that time, the Writing and Spelling components were way off, and were useless for us. Also, it was way too light (for us) in the literature portion (mostly comprehension questions, which we didn't need), and also light for us in the Grammar portion. Because LLAtL uses the Literature as the basis for all of the LA, there is no structured building up of topics in the Grammar, or Spelling -- topics in Grammar and Spelling are explained as they happen to show up in the Literature.

 

I think LLAtL is great for someone who is laid back in teaching approach, likes an all-in-one approach, has a student working at-grade-level in all areas, and is either on a very tight budget and/or has very little time so that the family just needs a general overview on LA and doesn't have the time/finances for rigor/depth. It can be a great break if you are in a season of needing "light schooling" due to life circumstances. I also think it can work well as a supplement, just using the bits and pieces you want, or, as a something to go to for a few weeks as a change/break from your regular LA.

 

Based on what you have been using in the past and are currently using, I would guess your students would be quite beyond LLAtL in their stated grade levels -- in Grammar at LEAST. Also, LLAtL will probably require more interaction and time from YOU than what you were saying in your original post that you wanted. And you would not be using the Writing since you already have that covered. And if you're already using TOG, might that be overkill in your literature, too? Don't know what TOG covers as far as Literature discussion or analysis or literary elements as part of your LA...

 

However, I could be totally wrong and you guys might love it! :) So check it out:

- here is the scope and sequence of each grade level

- here are samples of Orange (4th grade), Purple (5th grade), Tan (6th grade), and Green (7th grade)

- here are the lists of books used in each of Orange, Purple, Tan, and Green

Edited by Lori D.
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I'm using LLATL this year. It fits all your requirements, except for the rigor. LLATL is notorious around these parts for NOT being rigorous. But that's exactly why I chose it. My boys can't do rigor. We've done R&S and CTGE and my boys just can't keep up. Or if they can keep up, they hate it and do not retain a THING.

 

So this year, I opted for gentler, shorter and less rigorous, but it will still teach them what they need to know. It's only been a week so I can't really give a review, but so far I like it.

 

I will say that so far I'm not using the spelling portions because I like R&S spelling just fine, but that might change for my 12yo.

 

I also make it less teacher intensive by buying only the student workbooks and having them use the literature passages as copywork instead of dictation.

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Spell to Write and Read has a Grammar component.  I haven't used the grammar component, so I cannot speak to it.  There is a learning curve to SWR, but once you understand the philosophy and how to dictate spelling words, it is open-and-go.  You said that you were open to spelling through dictation, but didn't want something teacher-intensive.  At this point, dictation and spelling tests are all I do with SWR.  But I had to learn the phonograms and the spelling rules before I could use it as an open-and-go program without any teacher prep. 

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We are doing R&S grammar right now and I just hate it. It doesn't seem to bother the kids as much as it bothers me. It is the actual sentences and word choices not the actual grammar coverage that bothers me. I would like something with less repetitive work, as well.

 

I really want something that covers grammar AND spelling.

I want it on the more rigorous side vs.....not.

I am open to spelling through dictation, if it is included in the grammar program.

I do not want picture studies and am not really needing writing.

I am open to separate grammar and spelling, if they are both streamlined.

I like diagramming.

I don't want teacher intensive.

 

This is for 6th and 4th grade.

 

And I realize I am using *I* a lot. This is more of a Saturday morning-looking over next week's lessons-groaning-is there anything else out there?!? thread.

 

To me, all of this sounds exactly like CLE Language Arts. HTH.

 

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Ok, I ordered LLATL because I just can't get a feel from the samples. I have and have used SWR in many ways but never with grammar. I'll look at that aspect of it again. I think my friend had CLE, so I will go visit her. Thanks!

 

Good luck! Hope these are a great fit for your family and give you the desired break from Grammar and Spelling instruction. :)

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This year, we considered A Beka grammar because it is thorough and effective with diagramming.  It's like a colorful R&S in some ways.  However, I went with an inexpensive workbook this year called Grammar Usage Mechanics (GUM) by Zaner Bloser.  It includes diagramming in the older grades.  I just wanted some grammar reinforcement, and it discusses sentence structure, parts of speech, word usage and punctuation.  I got it to fill some gaps with MCT.  The actual instruction/explanations are a little light for my second grader.  There is a teachers manual, I think, but I didn't purchase it.  It is pretty inexpensive and may be just what you're looking for.  It is not fluffy.  It uses proper terms for types of sentences, etc. (declarative vs. telling.)  So far, so good.

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We love Growing with Grammar - it does some diagramming each year, and they sell a 'digging into diagramming' book if you really love it. :-)  They have a spelling curriculum, which I use with one of my children.  We also use vocabulary words as spelling words sometime (we use wordly wise) or I combine spelling and vocab and use the 'vocabulary with classical roots' books, which my son loves.  If you choose the classical roots books, pay attention to the order - it's weird, with part of the series using numbers and the other part using letters.  I have no idea why it's not just numbers 1-7 or A-G or whatever, but I finally figured it out from a picture of 'available books' on the back of one of them.  :-)  My kids can use all of these mostly independently.

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This year, we considered A Beka grammar because it is thorough and effective with diagramming.  It's like a colorful R&S in some ways.  However, I went with an inexpensive workbook this year called Grammar Usage Mechanics (GUM) by Zaner Bloser.  It includes diagramming in the older grades.  I just wanted some grammar reinforcement, and it discusses sentence structure, parts of speech, word usage and punctuation.  I got it to fill some gaps with MCT.  The actual instruction/explanations are a little light for my second grader.  There is a teachers manual, I think, but I didn't purchase it.  It is pretty inexpensive and may be just what you're looking for.  It is not fluffy.  It uses proper terms for types of sentences, etc. (declarative vs. telling.)  So far, so good.

 

And the Zaner Bloser Word Wisdom books that go with GUM are excellent, too, if you're in the market for that sort of thing :)

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