How do I Choose the Best Language Arts Curriculum?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 February 2018
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Homeschoolers and parents hoping to supplement their children's schoolwork may find themselves in need of a solid language arts curriculum. They may find a wide range of choices that all seem beneficial, making it hard to narrow the options down to just one. A good place to start is with selecting a curriculum that covers the basics of language arts, is appropriate for the particular grade level, is easy to use and meets the needs of the student’s unique learning style and interests.

A good language arts curriculum should cover the basics of reading, writing, spelling, speaking and listening, and for younger children, a curriculum that includes phonics makes a good choice. Penmanship and typing are helpful for younger students as well. Reading and writing are among the most important skills in a language arts program. This is because children are likely to have a difficult time mastering other subjects if they cannot read, comprehend what they’re reading and write well. It’s also helpful if a language arts curriculum covers vocabulary and dictionary skills, as they are important at all levels and in all fields of study.

Parents should also consider grade levels when comparing homeschool or supplemental curriculum choices. This doesn’t mean it’s necessary to select according to the grade the child is in. Looking at a curriculum’s grade level may simply provide a guideline or starting point. For example, if a child is in second grade, reviewing grade two texts and resources is a logical starting point, but a child may be advanced or need extra work in certain areas. In such cases, reviewing a curriculum one grade above or one grade below his level may help.

Ease of use is another important consideration when choosing a language arts curriculum. A busy homeschooler or parent may need a curriculum that is ready for teaching right out of the box, for example, with little to no additional preparation required. Someone else may have a list of books she’d like to use on hand and desire a curriculum that is easy to adapt for use with her book list. Adaptability is also important for teaching more than one child at a time, especially if the children are in different grades.

It’s critical to choose a language arts program that interests the child for whom it’s purchased. If it does not, teaching the child may become a constant struggle, regardless of the curriculum’s content and level of comprehensiveness. Selectors may choose according to the types of reading materials included or activities provided; some may even choose based on the format. For example, some children may be very interested in a curriculum that is presented entirely on the Internet while other children enjoy reading books they can keep or borrow from the library and completing activities that incorporate that reading material. Some curriculum choices may even include audio files or CDs that help children remember concepts.



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