Language Lessons Through Literature
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The Old Schoolhouse
See samples of each level at Lulu.com.
When I began homeschooling my oldest son in 2002, we used an inexpensive Kindergarten curriculum from my local Christian bookstore. While we went through those beginning lessons, I began to research homeschooling methods.
I came across wonderful suggestions for how to teach language arts—copywork, prepared dictation, narrations, imitation. I knew what I wanted from a language arts program.
I also knew what I didn't want. I read that comprehension questions actually train children to focus on certain types of information while reading, to the exclusion of other details. Many programs ask young children who are still learning to become proofreaders, to choose the correct spelling, the correct punctuation, out of a list of wrong answers. These wrong answers imprint upon the child's mind just as a right answer does, so these programs can actually hinder children in their learning.
Finding a program, or programs, that included what I wanted while exlcuding what I didn't want was an exercise in futility. When my second son was in second grade, I began writing him lessons based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Language Lessons Through Literature was born.
What's different about Language Lessons Through Literature?
- Short, three day per week lessons keep Language Arts from taking all of your time.
- Children interact with books, not just passages from books.
- Writing is taught through imitation.
- Spelling is taught through prepared dictation.
- Copywork is included from the literature, the Bible, maxims, and poetry.
- Students rewrite sentences from the stories, changing the sentences through grammatical
changes. This old exercise from Erasmus teaches children to say the same thing in many different ways.
- Children write outlines, then write papers from their outlines.
In a typical LLTL lesson:
- The child listens or reads the literature, depending upon his age.
- A brief lesson explores a grammatical concept. Examples are taken from the
- In levels 3 and up, there's a short writng exercise. The child might analyze words from
the new narration story, change a sentence from the story, or imitate a descriptive
- The child listens or reads the poem and the Aesop's fable.
- The lesson ends with a short exercise and copywork. The exercise sentences are also from
- Once per week, there is either a written narration or a picture study.
Level 1 is an intentionally light program, written with the beginning reader in mind. The real star of the show is the copywork. Short lessons point out punctuation and capitalization.
Level 2 is where the real work in grammar begins. All eight parts of speech are taught in Level 2, and the child practices recognizing them in short passages from the literature.
Level 3 reviews all eight parts of speech and begins sentence diagramming. In the optional workbook, children are given the lines at first, making it a "fill in the diagram" exercise. Sentence diagramming is an excellent tool for analyzing sentences. If a sentence "sounds" wrong, a diagram can show visually what the problem is.
Level 4 is currently being written. It reviews the parts of speech and diagramming, and introduces a few more advanced concepts.
These are currently being written. My children have rarely used textbooks, so my older boys have been appalled at the manufactured sentences in grammar texts. I'd already found the solution to this problem, so now I'm addressing it for older children.
My intention is for this to be a two year program. The first book will review the parts of speech and diagramming, and it will introduce a few more advanced concepts. The second book will have little or no review, picking up where the first book leaves off. The set will cover pre-college grammar.