Thursday, March 24, 2011

Freebie Language Arts

Johanna Goodyear-Fotolia.com
It is amazing to me to see all the sites on the Internet these days that I can use for my homeschool.  It really does boggle the mind.  Today I would like to mention a few websites where I found some freebies related to the subject of Language Arts - spelling, grammar, and vocabulary.


These are actually subjects that I fret over when I make out my plan for the year.  I know these subjects need to be taught.  I'm smart enough to put them together on my own but, I don't have the time.  When it comes to vocabulary and spelling, those lessons seem to naturally pop-up during lessons in other subjects such as science and history.  Should I use a separate curriculum for those subjects?  I want my kids to learn.  But, overwhelming them with too much at a time doesn't do any of us any good - they get frustrated and I can't keep track.

So, when it comes to vocabulary (I'll start there) I do try to draw that out of the other subjects we are learning.  I tried a vocabulary curriculum one year and while the curriculum itself was just fine, it was too separate from our other subjects to make much of an impact.  The lessons ended up being a stuff-and-dump situation - stuff the information in the brain just long enough to pass an evaluation, then dump it before having to learn the next set of words.  NOT the way I want my kids to learn.

What do I do?  Sometimes I use either our Science or History to pull words from for the week.  Then, I search out what vocabulary would be beneficial to learn.  In our current study of Ancient Greece we are finding that a lot of our modern words originated with Greek.  A quick glance through our books and I can usually come up with a decent list of words.  Any words from our Science curriculum are easy to find - they're in bold text in the book we're using. 

Then what?  Well, I recently found Wordsmyth .  Here you can make a glossary of  the words you want to use and also a quiz or worksheet to go with it.  You could also go on over to Discovery Education and use their puzzlemaker.  There you can make a word search, cross word puzzle and more to help review and use those new words they're learning.

Not convinced that your other subjects can provide an adequate vocabulary list?  Try Vocabulary.com .  Here you can look up vocabulary lists by several categories including by literature or grade and subject, etc.  You could also go the A Word A Day route.  Sign up and a new word with the definition is e-mailed to you each day.  It would be an easy way to come up with a vocabulary list.  Word Central.com also has a similar offering though for younger kids.  Go to the "Daily Buzzword" tab and see what the word for the day is.  You can also get the word each day by subscribing to the RSS feed.

Many of the resources for Vocabulary can also be used for Spelling.  In fact, Vocabulary and Spelling often go hand in hand.  But, I do have one more resource for Spelling - Vocabulary and Spelling City.com .
Plug in the words you want your kids to practice and then you can choose from a variety of activities to practice those words.  The activities can be completed online or printed out for later use. 

Last, Grammar.  Hmmmm....welllll.

At Discovery Education.com there are some free lesson plans for English from K-12.  The language arts section at Sheppard Software.com has some great games for reinforcing lessons and just plain fun.  The KISS Grammar site offers free lessons with worksheets.  (It involves a decent amount of teaching the teacher.)  This Scott Foresman site offers a free pdf of Grammar and Writing workbooks for grades K-6th.  Or, you could go the Daily Grammar route.  If you subscribe or visit the blog you can get daily grammar lessons M-F and a quiz on Saturday.  You can always go back and review the archived lessons if you want to start on lesson one.

Whew!  That was a lot of information!
I'm going to wrap up the week by sharing some freebie Art resources with you.
See you then!
-A

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