This is a sponsored post for Homeschool Buyers Co-op and I was paid for my time. However, paid for my time does not mean paid off. All opinions are my own and for sure I will always tell you what is on my mind. Read my full disclosure here.
Through the years, I’ve given the same long-standing advice. Spend first what money you have budgeted for curriculum on the core subjects because they are essential to a well-rounded education. Reading in the younger grades, literature in the older grades, grammar and writing are vital pieces of a homeschool language arts program. And it can become expensive quickly when you’re implementing the unit study approach using an all-in-one language arts program. So I was excited to share some budget-friendly homeschool language arts curriculum options from Homeschool Buyers Co-op, which I’ve used and another one I am eyeballing to add.
Mapping Out the Components of Language Arts
Breaking down the language arts components worked best for me because like most kids, they are ahead in one subject and may need more time on another.
Picking and choosing the individual parts of a homeschool language arts program gives you a customized curriculum. It’s a better match for your child’s learning style and a better value when you have a limited dollar amount to get exactly what you need.
For vocabulary, I always try to pull words from what we’re reading about in our unit studies. Reading words in that context and using them in everyday speech is the best way to master them.
But I used the printed version of Wordly Wise 3000 with Mr. Senior 2013 to be sure I exposed him to word study as a way to enhance our unit studies. Kids can master more words than we think they can, and to cripple their vocabulary with limited vocabulary instruction can be detrimental.
Lessons don’t have to be long, but they should be comprehensive. Using Wordly Wise 3000, I can expand lessons or cut back according to each son’s need.
When the online version came out, I was tickled to use it with my next two boys. Wordly Wise 3000 online version of the award-winning vocabulary curriculum for grades 2–12 saves you 89% and that is a sweet discount.
Although I know Wordly Wise 3000 touts that the audio feature is great for struggling readers, I think it’s great for independent learners. I don’t have to supervise my sons to see if they are correctly pronouncing a word. I know you’ll love it if you’re looking for an interactive vocabulary program that is not boring.
►READING OR LITERATURE
When I started making my own unit studies, I would get a gallon size ziploc bag and put the book and literature guide together in one bag.
Then, I would mark the reading level on the bag and organize them for the year. I started off using printed versions of Progeny Press Literature Guides.
I would even unfasten the literature guide so I could add just the pages that my boys needed to do for that year. I was tickled when pdf formats came out because it meant no waste. I printed what I needed that year with one son, and printed a different page or pages needed for another year.
Now, the guides are interactive which means you don’t have to print; a child can type his answers directly into the document. That is a nifty time-saving tip for a high school teen with a rigorous academic load or a reluctant writer. But sometimes we like to hold our paper in hand so we print. And I still like pairing specific lessons on pages to themes in my unit studies.
Look at a few things they offer:
- FOUR LEVELS – Lower Elementary for Grades K-4, Upper Elementary for Grades 3-5, Middle School for Grades 5-8, and High School for Grades 9-12
- 100+ TITLE CHOICES – We’ve put together SIX different 5-pack bundle choices for you! YOU CHOOSE your wish list from OVER 100 TITLE CHOICES! Choose from excellent reading titles such as Beowulf (*NEW*), The Eagle of the Ninth (*NEW*), Charlotte’s Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Secret Garden, The Hobbit, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Pride and Prejudice, The Screwtape Letters, To Kill A Mockingbird, and MANY, MANY MORE!
Grammar is a tool to best apply while writing so I’ve always kept it a separate subject. But grammar is also just the rules of any language. Teaching rules shouldn’t be complicated. Short lessons are best, which is why Analytical Grammar works.
In my beginning years, I used a grammar program which combined complex writing assignments with grammar. After homeschooling another 5 years, I realized that a grammar program should focus only on explaining grammar rules without time-consuming composition assignments as the only way to learn them. Yes, writing assignments are a great way to illustrate grammar rules, but shorter is better.
Besides, I needed a grammar curriculum which would give me the flexibility to pull writing themes from topics that piqued my boys’ interest in our current unit study. More important, I wanted a program that helped us to use words in a way that conformed to the rules of grammar. I wished I would have used Analytical Grammar, for grades 4-12 earlier, but I’m glad I hopped on board when I did.
Homeschool Buyers Co-op does give you free shipping. Any savings helps when you want a thorough grammar program.
►WRITING OR COMPOSITION
Next, identifying a writing program which was engaging for my sons and took them incrementally through the writing process was not easy. Institute for Excellence in Writing, for grades K-12 was our answer.
Melding Homeschool Language Arts and Unit Studies
It was a huge load of stress off after separating grammar and composition when I started using Institute for Excellence in Writing, grades K-12.
As you can see in the picture above, the boys were working on our FBI unit study. Dad was helping the boys make a crystal radio after they wrote about it. However, their essay followed the writing model learned in Institute for Excellence in Writing or (IEW). IEW makes it easy to choose your own topics to write about or they have writing topics for your children to choose.
What I liked the most is that although grammar and writing are inextricably linked, it’s important to not overwhelm beginner writers.
The veteran teaching tip is to make one skill or the other the focus at different times. IEW explained grammar while keeping the focus on writing and modeling to my sons how to compose their ideas.
Here is how IEW works: It takes a unique approach provides the structure that students need to develop confidence in the writing process, while gradually guiding them toward greater independence and creativity. They will learn nine structural models (note taking, writing paragraphs, stories, simple reports, writing from pictures, research reports, creative writing, essays, and critiques) to help them organize any type of composition.
You’ll like getting the discount for shipping on this so worth it writing curriculum.
►READING OR LITERATURE
Then, buying living history literature guides gives me a two for one deal.
Not only do I use living literature in my unit studies as a topic or theme, but it counts as the reading or literature aspect of the three Rs. Buying living history literature helps me to keep homeschooling affordable.
Remember, since this is living literature the vocabulary is not simplified and it may be harder for some kids. Too, Bethlehem Books chooses books based on moral value, which I like.
Though I school for Biblical reasons, I don’t think you have to teach about it in every book.
I do try to choose living history books which have a good story line, are intriguing, have a challenging reading level, include details about the time period, and can be easily implemented in a unit study which builds character without feeling preachy. It’s a lot to ask for in a book. I’m selective, but I love starting with Bethlehem Books.
►REVIEW AND ENRICHMENT
Then I hear about the fear of gaps when doing unit studies. Having a way to fill in gaps or shore up weaknesses is a great feature of IXL Language Arts Practice, which is for grades K-12 and saves you 25%.
You probably heard of their math, but their language arts is equally practical.
Look at what they offer: IXL makes the world of words come alive with fun visuals and interactive questions. Build great writers through playful skills that pique students’ curiosity about language!
Then this next deal, which is Discovery Education Streaming Plus, for grades K-12 and saves you 60% is the one I’m about to pull the trigger on because we love media with our unit studies.
But did you know it’s so much more? It covers every content area.
Look at what you get:
It’s easy to see why homeschoolers rave about Discovery Education Streaming Plus. It’s probably the most extensive and feature-rich educational video streaming service in the world.
It’s much like having the entire DVD selection of your local public library available to you from the convenience of your home, 24/7/365.
But it’s not just a collection of videos that you can watch from beginning to end. This library has been organized into useable video clips, organized and categorized, close-captioned, and supplemented with lesson plans, teaching guides, interactive simulations, images, audio resources, and other resources and materials that you can incorporate into virtually every aspect of your homeschool curriculum.
What a comprehensive way to enrich a unit study with so many features like audio books, self-paced training, images, games and the ability to customize lessons at your fingertips.
The Homeschool Buyers Co-op has an award-winning selection of language arts products, including curriculum for phonics, reading, writing, vocabulary, spelling and grammar.
Language Arts curriculum – Savings up to 93% (compared to regular price outside of Homeschool Buyers Co-op).
Look at this free from below, which is Unit Study Goal and Objectives. Download it to give you a starting point for your ideas for each grade.
When you’ve chosen curriculum which gives your child a solid foundation in language arts and covers the significant areas, you can spend more time planning the fun part of unit studies.
How to Buy It and Get the Savings!
Website: Homeschool Buyers Co-op
►Grammar: Analytical Grammar for grades 4-12.
►Literature Guides: Progeny Press Literature Guides, pdf format, grades K-12 and save 35%
►Vocabulary: Wordly Wise 3000 Online version of the award-winning vocabulary curriculum, grades 2–12 and save 89%
►Composition or Writing: Institute for Excellence in Writing, grades K-12
►Review and Enrichment:
Video Streaming: Discovery Education Streaming Plus, grades K-12 and save 60%
Language Arts Review: IXL Language Arts Practice, grades K-12 and save 25%
►Reading or Literature:
Living History Literature: Living History literature by Bethlehem Books, grades PreK-12 and save up to 50%
Also, look at these other homeschool articles to help you.
Hugs and love ya,
Don’t forget to follow BOTH of my Pinterest accounts for AWESOME pins.