Recently, we asked our homeschool community which subject they would teach if they could only choose one. We’d anticipated preferences for math or history, but the overwhelming response was reading! Whether the homeschooling parents specifically singled out “reading” on its own or as an important aspect of English Language Arts, the meaning was evident:
If you teach your children to read, they can learn anything on their own.
This response emphasizes the main goal for many of us as homeschoolers. By choosing the homeschool life, we want to teach our children how to learn so they can continue teaching themselves throughout life. Homeschooling is, itself, a celebration that education is not exclusive to classes.
With homeschooling, parents take learning into their own hands, and then, when their children are ready, hand over the reins to their education.
Reading is merely one aspect of teaching English Language Arts, but it’s likely one of the most important. To teach Language Arts, parents will work through innumerable books, grammar lessons, essays, and more. English Language Arts standards focus on the knowledge of reading and composition for proficient use of the English language.
Whether you are a new homeschooler or you’re simply looking for fresh Language Arts inspiration, we have suggestions and advice! In this article, we’ll discuss everything about how to teach Language Arts.
We will cover six sections for teaching Language Arts:
- Reading Strategies and Resources for Language Arts
- Book Suggestions for Language Arts
- Writing Resources for Language Arts
- Unit Studies for Language Arts
- Educational Games for Language Arts
- Homeschool Curriculum Ideas for Language Arts
Reading Resources for Language Arts
If you are a bookworm, it is likely challenging if one of your children is a reluctant reader. It happens, though. Regardless of how much you’ve tried to impart your love of reading (perhaps even with nightly bedtime stories and afternoon readings), some children won’t become avid readers. This may be new territory for you, especially if you are someone who’s always loved books or excelled at English Language Arts standards.
As you create your Language Arts homeschool plan, you’ll likely want to add in as many books and literature units as possible, but then feel familiar hesitation regarding your reluctant reader. You know it’ll be a struggle and you may already feel the dread building. Still, you’ll plod along, blocking off your morning or afternoon for reading and organizing the semester around supplemental books. With reluctant readers, though, the key to inspiring an interest in books lay in picking the right title.
The fact is, most reluctant readers simply haven’t found the right book yet.
When hesitant readers find the right book for them, it’s an incredible transformation to witness. One day, they couldn’t care less about books, and the next day you’ll find them scrounging for more.
In the end, it’s merely a testament to our individuality and the fact that not all books are for everyone. However, if you pick up a few books with plots, stories, or characters celebrating your child’s interests, you’ll likely be far closer to engaging their enjoyment of reading. Once you’ve caught your homeschooler’s interest, scheduling literature units and reading time is far easier.
Certain states require annotated reading lists for English Language Arts standards, so regardless of your selected titles, reading is a vital skill! Here are a few resources to get started. (Some of these links will take you away from Homeschool.com.)
- Teaching Reading Strategies and Engaging Your Reluctant Readers
- PBS Reading Games
- Best Homeschool Reading Lists for National Reading Month
- Summer Reading Challenge and Printable
- Fun Reading Ideas
- Reading Resources for Summer Learning
- Teaching Reading Strategies and Engaging Reluctant Readers
- How To Teach Toddlers to Read
- Your Child Learned To Read. Now What?
- Starting a Family Book Club
- Beyond Rhymes: Poetry Lessons for All Ages
- 10 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Literacy Rich
Book Suggestions for Language Arts
Beyond gathering resources to teach Language Arts, at some point you have to decide on a reading list itself. Personally, the hardest part for me is leaving titles off the reading list because they all sound great! For homeschool parents who are not avid readers, though, it may be difficult to decide which books should be included in your curriculum plan. Thankfully, there are several book lists for ideas (cue Goodreads!). Also, it is always a good idea to follow your children’s existing interests with delight-directed learning.
With delight-directed learning, children learn as much as possible about their current topic of fascination. Sometimes, that subject may be racecars while other times it may be sharks or dancing. When your child is already intrigued by a topic, naturally they will feel more inclined to enjoy reading books on the subject or researching related information. Following your children’s existing interests can help them feel far more open to reading as a possible source of delight.
To teach Language Arts, look for books that align with your child’s existing curiosities.
Do you have a child who barely sees literature listed on the schedule and whines, “Ughhh, reading?” Been there, friend. There may even be an included grimace or eyeroll. With delight-directed books on the homeschool schedule instead, your children won’t as easily write them off — perhaps even giving them a second glance! This moment of captured attention known as the “hook” for reluctant readers. You’ll be all kinds of excited and thrilled, but tread carefully. It’s important to avoid moving too quickly or pushing them. Let the hook dangle; let them “get caught” reading on their own before you say a word.
For homeschooled students, there are plenty of quality books to meet English Language Arts standards. Here are several to start!
- Books to Motivate Your Homeschool Readers
- Wholesome Books List: Early Readers
- Wholesome Books List: Elementary
- Wholesome Books List: Middle School
- 10 Books Your Teen Should Read in High School
- Free Read Aloud Videos for Your Homeschool
- Best Series for Starting Chapter Books
- Books That Teach Character
- 5 Must-Reads for Every Middle Schooler
Writing Resources for Language Arts
Writing is one of the most important aspects when teaching English Language Arts. Writing skills are essential for college papers and projects in future careers. Writing assignments in school is the time to provide a solid foundation for your children’s skills or knowledge. To teach Language Arts thoroughly, homeschool parents must include writing standards. Certain state laws require portfolio reviews as proof of the student’s progress. They will certainly be looking at writing skills!
Composition is the written form of our language and therefore one of the main mediums of communication. Without proper communication, the risk of misunderstandings and discord is much higher. Honestly, even with our best efforts, sometimes our “wires get crossed” and there is still miscommunication. Consider how much worse it could be without proper writing! This is why it’s important to teach Language Arts with a strong focus on composition.
In the end, teaching English Language Arts is all about teaching written communication.
In college, students are required to write all manner of papers, from basic argumentative essays to lengthy research papers and everything in between. Your homeschoolers will be far more prepared if they have thorough composition training before college. Even without college, the workforce often requires technical writing, reports, analysis documents, and more.
All that to say, to teach Language Arts, it is important to build strong writing skills in the foundational years. Thankfully, homeschooling these days is far easier than it used to be, which means there are numerous resources for ideas, curriculum, lessons, journaling, activities, and more.
We’ve gathered our best content about teaching English Language Arts in the list below. Enjoy! (Some of these links will take you away from Homeschool.com.)
Unit Studies for Language Arts
Unit studies are a great option for teaching Language Arts, though to be honest, we love unit studies for all subjects! Unit studies are so wonderful because they touch on all aspects of a certain topic, which may involve every core subject and a few electives like art or music as well. When we use unit studies, our homeschooling turns from textbooks into super hands-on comprehensive research, and we love it! The inclusion of multiple subjects and assignments also help students meet English Language Art standards.
Specifically for homeschool Language Arts, unit studies are perfect because they blend seamlessly with literature. Oftentimes, a unit study will involve reading at least a couple of books as part of the research material. If you are creating a unit study for Language Arts, you’ll find no end to the available literary resources!
Teaching Language Arts with unit studies means limitless learning opportunities.
Truly. You can DIY your unit or find one of hundreds available online for various books and eras. A homeschool Language Arts unit study could focus on nonfiction, fiction, historical, present day, or literally everything else. Reading is a predominant part of a Language Arts unit study, but homeschooling parents can also easily include writing assignments, grammar games, and curriculum lessons.
Finally, unit studies are flexible to fit your needs. Perhaps you’ll want to teach homeschool Language Arts entirely with unit studies or you could simply supplement your core curriculum with units. Regardless, they are a quality option worth considering. (Some of these links will take you away from Homeschool.com.)
Educational Games for Language Arts
Games are some of the best ways to learn! Learning games are designed to teach students new skills and information through play. Educational games are all about helping students learn while having fun. The prevalence of learning games is why homeschool parents can even choose to “gameschool” if they prefer! Games give children the freedom to fail without fear, which results in students feeling open to learning new concepts and practicing continuously to win. Academically, this means these homeschoolers are practicing new skills to mastery!
One of the greatest parts of teaching Language Arts with games is the variation available. There are probably hundreds of games for writing, reading, or spelling — likely more than for any other subject! If your child prefers to learn on the computer in this digital age, there are plenty of high-quality online learning games for them. On the other hand, if you’d rather play a classic board or card game together, there are also numerous choices at your fingertips!
Everyone learns best when they are having fun.
For example, students may need to learn correct spellings to win a game, which is clearly more motivating than textbook lessons.
Science tells us that when people are enjoying themselves, they are more likely to retain new information. Not only will their memory improve, but their learning experience itself is improved when there isn’t anxiety over performance. As a final merit of educational games, it’s helpful to point out that many games rely on multiple senses, which further impresses the experience in our minds.
Here are a few of our favorite learning games and/or educational game resources! (All of these links will take you away from Homeschool.com.)
Homeschool Curriculum Ideas for Language Arts
Now that you have all the information for teaching English Language arts via reading suggestions, book lists, writing resources, and educational games, it’s time to talk about homeschooling curricula. To be fair, it’s completely possible to teach Language Arts thoroughly with mixed resources, free printables, library resources, and more. However, if you are looking for the peace of mind that comes with a pre-written curriculum, that’s understandable too.
A few states have strict English Language Arts standards for homeschoolers and a ready-to-go homeschool program can easily satisfy those regulations. Additionally, if you don’t feel like a capable teacher, homeschool curricula can help by providing the answers rather than your students relying solely on your abilities.
Thankfully, there are plenty of homeschooling options for teaching English Language Arts. Many curricula even focus exclusively on reading, spelling, or writing.
To teach Language Arts, you have several resources for your perusal. You may even feel like there are too many options to sort through, which is where our Resource Guide (a curriculum archive) comes in handy. You can search for a curriculum but filter down your preferences as needed. With the right resources, your experience of teaching English Language Arts can improve and maybe even add more fun to your children’s homeschool day!
In the list below, you’ll find many of the most popular curricula available for homeschoolers!