One hurdle for delight-directed learning is how to easily add language arts to homeschool unit studies.
The fear of missing something huge can keep some tied to a boxed curriculum. The beauty of unit studies is being able to study topics which ignite your child’s interests.
With that being said, language art skills need to be applied to bodies of knowledge instead of learning language arts skills in isolation. This approach to learning the components of language arts makes it meaningful.
5 Ways to Add Language Arts to Unit Studies
Look at these 5 ways to easily add language arts to homeschool unit studies.
1. Pair a living book with your unit study.
Although you want to include plenty of living books, depending on the unit study topic you may be using more reference type books.
So if you want to include many elements of language arts, choose one well-written living book to accompany your unit study.
Choose the living book with these things in mind:
- Aim for the middle to highest reading level of all your children.
- Keep in mind that it’s easier to scale down for language art components than it is to scale up for your highest level reader. Choose a higher reading level if in doubt.
- In addition, make sure you understand not only the literary elements like plot, setting, and characters, but the theme too. It’s important for a smooth transition for the theme of the one main living book to connect with the unit study topic. The easiest themes for us in the beginning were ones like good v. evil, courage, and persistence. For example, I chose Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss for our ocean unit study. Surviving on an island as a family if you got shipwrecked appealed as a theme to my kids and is a smooth tie-in to the ocean theme.
- You can search for booklist ideas here on my site.
Choosing the right living book means the difference with themes which ignite expressive conversations in your house about your unit study theme and your unit study falling flat and being shallow.
Language Arts For Unit Studies
In addition, look at these other components of language arts which can naturally be pulled from a living book:
- defining vocabulary words;
- reciting an oral speech;
- reading; and
- topics for writing or essays.
The bottom line is that a well-written living book can equal a powerful inclusive language arts component.
When the living book is tied to the unit study topic which has already piqued your child’s interest, you’ve set yourself up for success from the start.
That is why I also love using Literary Adventures for Kids.
You choose a book and your kids can do a self-paced online language art course. Doing an online self-paced course where your child chooses the book is a great tie-in for the language arts component.
Look at my post Online Homeschool High School Poetry (No Teaching Involved).
2. Use Quick Reference Materials Like BarCharts.
Next, I use quick study guides. Realizing how beautifully I could zero in on the exact skill my kids needed to work on, I use them frequently.
Because Quick Study Guides can put information in a nutshell and organize skill by grade level, I use them as general guides.
Look at a few tips on how to use these quick guides:
- Keep language arts concise and straightforward by learning fewer elements.
- With my guide in hand, I can pair the objectives on the quick study guide with our main living book to shore up my kids weak areas in language arts.
- My kids put the guides in their notebooks to use as reference for their writing or grammar. I made copies and we used a single hole punch to add them to their notebook.
- Also, I could use the guides as a way to orally test my kids or if I wanted to create written quizzes I had a guide.
- Likewise as my children grew, they can independently review the guides as memorization tools.
Because quick study guides focus on fewer elements of language arts, our language arts focus could be as complicated or as gentle as we need.
Besides, I’m not paying for a full language arts curriculum, but choosing exactly what my kids need to focus on. Did I mention they last years?
Also, look at this How to Put Together a Homeschooled High School Writer’s Notebook & Free Resources because we added them there. Along with adding free resources online creating a language arts notebooks works.
Add Language Arts to Homeschool Unit Studies
Too, if you live near a Barnes and Noble, I’ve collected several of their guides which are called Quamut. They seem to have more guides about hobbies, but I’ve been able to cull through the quamuts for help in language arts.
However, the SparkCharts are another line of handy references which I love also.
Don’t underestimate the power of the simple and uncomplicated to teach straightforward grammar, punctuation, and types of writing.
You’ll love filling up your bookshelves and notebooks with quick and handy references to get to the point while teaching language arts.
3. Use an Ungraded, Multi-Level Resource.
Then, one of my earliest purchases was one of my best purchases which has stood the test of time.
Kathryn Stout created a series of how-to or reference books for subjects which are basically guides for grades K to 12.
My first purchase was Comprehensive Composition and I used it extensively in my unit studies.
Like the author, Kathryn Stout stated on her site she wrote the Design-A-Study guides to provide both a framework of objectives and detailed methods for teaching basic subjects effectively.
Homeschool Language Arts
For example, having a scope and sequence for composition which can be applied to any unit study for all your kids at one time is sanity-saving.
Equally, despite the age differences between your kids reference guides which lays out objectives and goals keeps composition related to the topic.
What I learned from teaching my kids about composition until high school is that boredom springs from writing about meaningless topics.
An ungraded, multi-level resource gives you freedom to learn how to write well on topics which are meaningful to your family.
However, another useful feature of filling your shelves with resources like these is that you’re using them for years. Unlike curriculum where you’re constantly switching out, a multi-age resource is timeless.
Look at few more resources for multiple grades:
- The Art of Poetry is another HUGELY successful multi-level tool with great background information for you the teacher and great details. I REALLY love this resource. Look at my post How to Easily Add Poetry to Your Homeschool Subjects where we used it and continue to refer to it.
- How to Teach Children Shakespeare is another keeper because teaching Shakespeare doesn’t have to wait for high school. Look at my post How To Teach Your Homeschooled Children Shakespeare.
Also, another long time keeper in the homeschool world is the book If You’re Trying to Teach Kids How to Write . . . Revised Edition: You’ve Gotta Have This Book! which is from Preschool to 12.
Having books to give you the big picture along with details of how to implement language arts daily keeps unit studies fun. Plus you know you’re not really missing any big language arts gap.
Then, other newer versions of helps for multiple levels have come along like Everything You Need to Ace English Language Arts in One Big Fat Notebook.
4. Play games.
Also, playing games is another fun and easy way to add language arts to unit studies.
While playing games is a fun way to learn language arts, it’s not always a smooth tie-in to a unit study topic. However, I love having options.
I use games sometimes to keep language arts front and center if I don’t have an exact language art tie-in to our current unit study.
- You’ll love Sheppard Software online language arts game.
- Look at Listography. Preserve your story through your lists and stay inspired.
- Rory’s Story Cubes is a great ways to learn about stories hands-on. Whether you bring a fun element to your homeschool or have a special needs child, rolling the cubes are fun.
Don’t forget that I have the Ultimate Unit Study Planner. Having an eye for detail and creating many unit studies with multiple levels of kids, I know you’ll love it.
5. Free Curriculum Online.
Then of course nothing beats free – ever. However, I didn’t list free resources first because sometimes it’s harder to use free resources.
Not always related to your unit study curriculum, free curriculum can be hard to tie to your subject.
So what I’ve learned through the years is to cover the parts of language art which naturally fit into my current unit study.
Then, I can add in supplementary or free resources.
- Here is my post Free Middle and High School Homeschool Language Arts.
- Here is a fun way to cover grammar for the littles. It’s a grammar living book, Grammar Land from 1878. It’s in the public domain.
Do not let fear of missing something make you miss out on delight-directed learning.
Fill your shelves with more how-to books so that you truly enjoy the freedom of homeschooling in the way that best fits your children.
Do you have any favorite multi-level teaching resources or ways you add language arts to your unit studies?
You’ll love some of these other helps:
- 7 Budget-Friendly Language Arts Curriculum to Pair with Unit Studies (with printable)
- 24 Borderline Genius Ways To Relieve Language Arts Boredom
- 20 Ideas for Bringing Writing Alive through Unit Studies
- What You Must Know to Teach High School Unit Studies
- 3 Things To Remember When Homeschool Unit Studies Get Complicated
- Diving into Homeschool Unit Studies : The Dos and Don’ts
Hugs and love ya,