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Old 02-19-2014, 12:47 AM   #1
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HELP! Language Arts is NOT going well :(

X-posted to Well Trained Minds...

I have 5 children, two of whom are school age and have been homeschooling for 2.5 years. They are in grades 5 and 6. Our language arts "program" if you could call it that - is TERRIBLE and we are making no progress. I just have a hodge podge of workbooks from different sources. They use a program called Wright Group, and have used Raz-Kids, A-Z and Fast Forword. Language arts took a back burner to other learning needs when we first brought them home but it needs addressing RIGHT away.

Our oldest in 6th is undergoing testing to diagnose learning issues and/or special needs - he had a very unusual pych-ed and no-one knows what to do with him. He LOVES to read and reads above grade level about 9th grade, but his comprehension is about grade 3. None of us thinks he really has a comprehension problem but something with expressive language - he knows the information but can't get it out either orally or written. His writing skills are about early grade 3 as well maybe lower. He panics and stares at a blank page when asked to write for a LONG time then jots down three terrible sentences that lack spelling, capitalization or punctuation. He is performing well below where he could be regardless of a special need if they find one.

Our 2nd son is in 5th grade. He is special needs but highly intelligent. His reading is about 2nd grade level and his spelling and therefore writing skills are low grade 2. His comprehension is excellent above grade level though. He also has a memory disorder so he has trouble with loads of facts bombarded at him but is an eager worker.

Neither of my boys can tell me what a noun is, can write a paragraph, or do a report, or any of the other things that upper elementary children SHOULD be doing. Although they have struggles I have every reason to believe that they are capable of achieving a LOT more then they are right now.

They had similar issues in math last year and we came across math-u-see. We started both of them all the way back at Alpha and they are FLYING through the program with As. We just needed to go all the way back to the beginning to find the things they never learned at public school.

I want to take the boys all the way back to grade 1 and start language arts all over again too. I need a complete curriculum which requires little prep work or supervision once they get going and can be done at an accelerated pace until we find where they get "stuck". I understand we may need a separate reading program for our younger son but I want to get as much as possible of grammar, composition, penmanship (cursive), and spelling in one open and go program. Cost is not an issue. (We are in Canada and our son's schooling is fully funded) Online or book based or a combination of both is fine. Secular or Christian is fine too.

Thank you SO MUCH for reading this - I am just so lost! Although I know it is NOT a great fit for them I am seriously considering sending them back to public school because I haven't been able to help them improve.

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Old 02-19-2014, 07:39 AM   #2
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Re: HELP! Language Arts is NOT going well :(

We have a similar issue with my oldest son who is in 6th grade and very behind especially in spelling and composition. I have found that Rod and Staff has worked very well for him for English and composition. It has a lot of review built in by way of the questions to be asked at the beginning of the lesson in the teacher's manual. It can also be done largely orally so that you can cover more than one lesson a day or cut down on the frustration level for a child who has difficulty writing. My ds is using the 4th grade book and doing well in it.

For spelling I also like Rod and Staff's program, but we are using a studied dictation approach this year.

I hope you find the right fit for your children. It is a hard situation, but hang in there. You will find what works best even if it takes some trial and error. Good luck!
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:41 AM   #3
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Re: HELP! Language Arts is NOT going well :(

I also find that for basic grammar comprehension in the early grades First Language Lessons works well and helps them learn the definition of basic parts of speech and comprehension and narration skills.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:41 AM   #4
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Re: HELP! Language Arts is NOT going well :(

Language Arts is a pretty broad spectrum!! There are a lot of programs that don't advocate stating grammar until later so I wouldn't worry to much about that. Writing Strands might be a good one to start your oldest on to help with learning to write reports and such. It starts very simply with writing better sentences and increases from there to writing reports. I would start with the level 3 book. It is very gentle and can be worked through quickly if he is not struggling. It is a student lead book so you would only check his writing you would not be teaching him the material.

If you are looking for a full LA program that includes reading, spelling, handwriting, grammar, and writing I would look into Alpha Omega (Monarch, Switched on Schoolhouse or Lifepacs). All of these programs include EVERYTHING for LA. They also have placement tests that would asses where your student were at so you could place them where they need to be, not by grade.
Alpha Omega is a chrisitan company. The Monarch program is an internet linked computer based program. Switched on Schoolhouse is a CD ROM program for your computer and Lifepac is a series of "work texts" which are like a textbook and workbook in one. They all include all the areas of LA and cover most of the same material. So if you tried lifepacs one year and it was working but your kids liked the computer, you could switch seamlessly to one of the computer programs.
https://www.aophomeschooling.com/?gc...FStgMgodrDcAMA

You could also try Time4Learning. It might be a gentle enough program to help then catch up but it would not include handwriting as it is on the computer.

Don't give up yet Mama!! Keep trying to find something that will work :-)
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:14 AM   #5
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Re: HELP! Language Arts is NOT going well :(

We will be starting Language Lessons Through Literature next year. It is a very gentle approach and doesn't start teaching the names of things(noun, verb, adjective, etc) until level 3. It utilizes the reading of different works of literature and then has some copywork/dictation/narration in it. The author is a homeschooling mom who was looking for a program for her own children that was gentle yet effective. We will use this in conjunction with All About Spelling for DS.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:20 AM   #6
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Re: HELP! Language Arts is NOT going well :(

I love Rod and Staff for grammar. It is very thorough, and builds on itself. The lessons start out pretty short, and while it is split into class practice and written practice, if it is something your child knows, you can almost always skip one or the other, as they usually contain the same practice stuff.

We have used their elementary reading program, too, with success. We switched to Progeny Press for my oldest a couple years ago because it was a better fit for her, while my son just switched this year (he's 5th grade). My youngest is only in 1st grade, and I plan on showing her both programs and letting her choose, as they are both excellent programs.
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:03 PM   #7
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Re: HELP! Language Arts is NOT going well :(

You might consider looking at McRuffy Press stuff. It is very, very basic...encompasses phonics, spelling, reading comp, etc.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:15 PM   #8
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Please!!!!! Go to queen homeschool and look at their language lessons series AH MAZE ING!!
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Old 03-01-2014, 01:57 AM   #9
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Re: HELP! Language Arts is NOT going well :(

We use Easy Grammar & love it... not dumbed down (as some would assume from the title), but not overly complicated either. Teaches thoroughly & effectively, yet doesn't leave you sitting there w/a deer in the headlights look.
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:33 PM   #10
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Re: HELP! Language Arts is NOT going well :(

We use Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool and love it. It is free and easy to mix and match to their ability levels.
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