Thursday, August 25, 2011

Elementary Language Arts

Reader Q & A time

Elementary Language Arts is just a synonym for English, right? Well, not quite. Language Arts is a broad category that covers several different skill areas. All of these skills are important to cover during the elementary years. The following are the skill areas that must be emphasized during the elementary years:

  • Reading--During the earliest years, reading is basically phonics and learning how to read. Later on, students need to start learning to read for comprehension. Personally, I think that, after they've mastered The Bob Books they should move onto real, living books. Let's face it: graded readers are boring! Get your kids interested in reading a wide variety of literature; start with his/her interests and branch out from there.
  • Handwriting--This is, admittedly, a dying art, yet it is still important. Perhaps it won't receive the attention it once did when we were in school, but kids do need to learn how to write both manuscript and cursive legibly. Many people choose to use copy work (writing specific Bible verses or other literary passages) for handwriting practice in order to give children a reason to write by hand.
  • Grammar--Yes, grammar is important! No, children will not just pick it up unconsciously while they put their creative stories down on paper starting at age ten or twelve. It's like the basic math facts and needs to be drilled regularly. It can be made fun; it does not have to be drudgery. Your is not the same thing as you're!
  • Writing--Writing is a skill that needs to be taught. Sure, some students are naturally creative and will be scribbling away in notebooks just for fun beginning at an early age. Most students are terrified when told to "write something." Find a good writing curriculum and take your kids through the entire writing process. Who knows? You may even learn something in the process!
  • Spelling--Spell Check on a computer word processor is not foolproof. 'Nuff said.
Q4U: Do you have a homeschool or organization question that I can answer in a future blog post? Now is the time to send me your burning questions and to have them answered so everyone can benefit. Chances are that someone else has the same question.