View Full Version : Opinions on Language Arts subject

06-14-2004, 08:25 AM
Language Arts covers these areas: Spelling/Grammar/Reading/Writing. I have spelling and reading covered. I think I am pretty decided on Easy Grammar and Daily Grams also.

So, I guess my question is about Writing Strands. I have heard mixed reviews, some have said it's boring. From what I know writing strands helps to put thoughts into perspective? I will already be having him do journaling. I am just not sure about writing strands or if I need it at all, or if there is something else I should check out.


06-14-2004, 09:49 PM
Hi Nellie.....

That happens to be one of the subjects that we spend more time on. I think its become my *pet peeve*. LOL.

As far as curriculum choices, some of the ones I know of off the top of my head are : Writeshop, Wordsmith, Wonderful World of Creative Writing, Four Square Writing, God's Gift of Language (abeka), Imitation in Writing, Classical Writing and Rod & Staff, to name a few.:rolleyes: LOL

I spent time this past year comparing 3rd grade R& S page by page to Calvert's writing assignments and to Writing Strands. My conclusion: Most cover the same subjects at different levels/times.

Writing Strands does seem to pick up,imho in the older grades. Our boredom came from already knowing the material. R&S has been highly recommended as a *stand alone* writing program. However, by doing Calvert 3rd grade, ds had covered 3rd and some of 4th grade R&S. For example, its just that one prefers to teach book reports (Calvert) in 3rd grade, whereas R&S wanted to concentrate on that in 4th grade. So I don't think one is really accelerated more than the other, its just a matter of preference of introduction of skill.

Have you heard of Logos School in Moscow, Idaho? They have a writing program that I will be getting probably the first part of January . Its called Imitation in Writing. They are a chistian classical school and their belief is that great writing comes from copying/imitating great works. So many of the wonderful writers learned their skills from copying great books and newspapers,etc. So they do poetry,aesops fables and imitate some great work. Its designed for grades 4th -6th. So I want to strike a balance between that and some of the *traditional* methods Calvert/Rod Staff use. I liked Writing Strands in the higher levels too.

So if I have about 4 or 5 curriculums, I might be happy.:p That way I can use parts of this/that to suit our style. Ds was a real reluctant writing until about 1/2 way through this year. I tried my best this year, using parts of 3 different curriculum to keep each assigment interesting and worthwhile to HIM. ITS WORKED!

NOW..WOWEE! I don't know what has happened, but the child is blowing me away in terms of what he is writing now.

I had *tears of happiness* streaming down my cheeks as I have kept DH posted of his progress.

I told DH, I don't care if I didn't get any thing else accomplished this year, that meeting that one goal I had has truly been a blessing! I have worked my *bottom off* slowly and tediously to be sure I keep ds liking writing.

So I don't know where ya'll are in terms of writing, but there is plenty to choose from in whatever direction you want/need help.


06-15-2004, 01:01 PM
I looked at Wordsmith and decided on that one, instead of Writing Strands. I think, hehe. It looks good and something that might be interesting. So my LA curriculum is;

Easy Grammar
Daily Grams
Reading different books -(thought about buying Calverts Discoveries in reading?)
Spelling -I am using the misspelled words from all that he writes.

I think anyway:confused:

I would love to buy Calvert 4th grade also, but...it's just alot of money. I really lOOVVVEEEE to pick and choose from various place.

Here is the rest of my curriculum for 4th:

Math Saxon 6/5
History Calverts -A Childs History of the World

?????Am I missing something? Any other suggestions??????


06-15-2004, 01:58 PM
Do you have plans for science?

06-15-2004, 05:22 PM
I forgot to list Science!

I have these books;

Nature Journaling
Backyard Detective
More Fun with Nature
365 Simple Science Experiments
The big book of Usborne Science experiments
The Way Science Works
Science Encyclopedia DK pocket books

No real plan set in stone.

06-15-2004, 08:33 PM

Your list looks great!

Do you want to add some *fun*stuff? or do you already have that covered;) All my kids take music lessons, with my oldest wanting to add another instrument or two this year. So I don't worry too much about that. We also add art. We use some of Calvert's famous pictures along with some Usborne books and Mona Brooks Drawing with Children.

We are also going to be doing Powerglide Spanish. I already do Latin with ds in 3rd grade. So we will continue that through 4th. However, you have time to add these things during the year if you find that you want to.

I can't remember how many children you homeschool, but I think you have just one. So I figured you might have more time to add these things for a *change of pace*. I find more and more that homeschooling year around, we are always needing a change of pace. We do art like once or twice every 2 weeks. Music is weekly.

I don't want to swamp you since this is your first year, but hey *you've taught before right?*;)

I also have a variety of vocabulary building type workbooks and critical thinking books that my son likes that I keep on hand for the *we don't feel like doing anything day*. Calvert adds vocabulary to their spelling cd which is only like 20 bucks for each one per grade level. So that serves as a nice change of pace, plus they can do it on their own and they get both vocabulary and spelling.

I also bought a book from the home school fair this year by Kathryn Stout about writing. It has added a lot more *freedom* for us in terms of choosing our own topic, instead of following a curriculum. I liked it because she lists the skills, explains them, gives clear examples. Then you apply the skill learned to the topice YOU choose. Ds doesn't need or want a lot of direction when it comes to WHAT he wants to write about. The book was like only 14 bucks. So far, we have done a few lessons and I like it. So between all that and my other 14 curriculums (hee hee:rolleyes: :D )I'm set this year!

Hope that helps!

06-16-2004, 08:08 AM
Nope, I just forgot to list it, hehe.

I have books for drawing;

Dare to draw Crazy Characters -Mark Kistler
Dare to draw Monster Mania -Mark Kistler
Stencil Art -Harry Potter
Scene for Scene Art Coloring Book -Harry Potter

I also bought three Dig-A-Dino Kidz Labs. He will be so surprised when he sees these.

http://www.ltdcommodities.com/home/catalog/cat_item_pg.asp?P=141&G=66&Kwd=dinosaur&Item=26619 3-2DNN&Page=1

I also have several crafty things to do, I like to craft and make stuff all the time, I have a large supply of just about everything.

He likes to listen to music but isn't really into playing it. He has a harmonica and a Recorder he plays on once in a while.

Yep, ex teacher is me.

Besides my fourth grader I have a 1year old.

From Calvert I don't know which to buy;

4th grade grammar cd
vocabulary for life
Spelling CD
Reading Discoveries

I am getting the History from there already.

Has anyone used any of these or think they are worth getting?

06-16-2004, 08:13 AM
To see how much shipping cost if I purchased the Calvert fourth grade curriculum. $42.70!


I wonder how much the shipping is if I just get the few things?

Anyone know?

06-16-2004, 12:05 PM
Calvert's shipping cost is 7% of your total order, with a minimum of $6.00.

06-16-2004, 03:27 PM
I didn't know that Daily Grams also had a teacher manual and a student workbook.

Should I get just the workbook?

I was already planing on getting the Easy Grammar workbook and teacher manual.


decisions, decisions

This is turning out to be my own little thread. Maybe I can keep answering my own question!:D

06-16-2004, 07:59 PM
Nellie:D :D ROFL....when I read ALL your posts!!!

Your not alone in your thinking *outloud* LOL:p

Yes, Calvert has price increases this year:(

I always say I don't recommend doing this, *buy a whole curriculum and using only what you want*. For me, it works.LOL I buy the curriculum, and I still piecemeal. You just can't help yourself once you have taught for more than a year or so. You know what I mean!;) You get your PHD as Mary Pride called it! Piled Hip Deep. You know how to navigate through curriculum. You don't put up with *this* from that curriculum or *that* from the other.

At times i wish Calvert would break down their language arts into components. I think it would make it more affordable. However, its THEIR own cursive method, THEIR own writng program, THEIR spelling list and THEIR own grammar program.:rolleyes: ;) So I guess I understand from that standpoint that its all connected/weaved together, and they want to keep it together. If they just took other publishers work and put it together, I would be SO out of there. I CAN do that!!!

What I like in *order of preference* and what I will get is:

Spelling Cd
Toss up between Grammar and Vocubary for Life

I can live without the vocabulary for a while since its with spelling. The discoveries of reading.....well I've *heard* a lot of talk on the Calvert loop about that. IMHO its just a bunch of books with activities that they put together. I can buy the books cheaper.

I am probably going to get some of the *history cds* and cd that goes with Virgil Hillyer's A Child's History of the World.

Really, Nellie, out of everything that I have ever received from Calvert I have almost always been pleased with it. Its just top notch:) I bought Melody Lane and Come Read with Me several years ago.....All 3 of my children have enjoyed it so much.

I guess the only thing I regret buying, about 4 years ago were the math manipulatives. I just chalked it up to *experience*. I could of bought the manipulatives at Lake Shore and bought some a little better.

So if you like it, go for it!!!:D