Teaching Language Arts Without A Curriculum

There are a lot of curriculums out there that are all-inclusive; they’ll include every aspect of language arts in one curriculum.  At first glance this is appealing, but the all-inclusive curriculums don’t mesh well with me.  I typically find myself a bit overwhelmed with the information, and I end up not tackling any portion of it.  Over the years, I’ve leaned on Classical Conversations (CC) as the ground work for language arts, but language arts didn’t stop there for us.

How can I piece together a Language Arts program for my kids? - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool #languagearts

Language Arts In General

Hands down, without a doubt, the primary way we tackle language arts in our home is through reading a lot of books.  I attempt  to make reading a priority in our school, and in our home environment.  I’ll read to my children as much as possible, and as often as possible.  Now that my older two children can read on their own, they also have a time in the day they are required to read on their own.

Apart from reading regularly, I enjoy using First Language Lessons (FLL), by Jessie Wise, to supplement fine arts.  FLL is wonderfully easy to use, short, and gentle for young children.  The book covers: definitions of the parts of speech, poem memorization, comprehension of stories, introducing the child to writing sentences, copy work, and compliments each lesson with an activity.  As stated before, Classical Conversations is the spine of our curriculum; therefore, I stick with the definitions we receive from CC.  I don’t try to compliment our CC studies with FLL, instead, I like to use this book during the summer months.  They serve as a nice, light refresher of what the children learned during the year, and they enjoy the poems, and stories that come in the book.

I only use the level one book designed for first, and second grade.  I do this because my children will receive further grammar, and writing instruction when they enter CC’s Essentials program.  Next year will be our first year in Essentials, so I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it next year.  🙂


Spelling is not something I’m all that concerned about; therefore, I don’t stress myself over a curriculum.  My older two children (ages 9, and 7) are the only ones who work on spelling.  I use the word list given in Spelling Plus, by Susan C. Anthony, which also includes spelling rules as well.  I test my children on some words during the week, and the ones they’re unfamiliar with, or spell incorrectly, we write them on index cards.  On those index cards I draw a picture in relationship to the word itself.

How can I piece together a Language Arts program for my kids? - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool #languagearts

The children use these cards during the weeks to copy their spelling words.  I will also use other methods of practicing spelling words that I’ve found on Pinterest such as: writing in sand, writing them on the window, or using magnetic letters to form the words.  Basically, I give my children the opportunity to use the words over and over again, until they can spell them correctly.  I’m sure if you search the internet for common spelling words, you can even have you’re own list without purchasing a book, or a curriculum.  This method is working well for us at the moment, and it keeps our homeschooling light, and flexible.


I’ve compiled a list of vocabulary words that I found on the internet, as well as words found in scripture that my children are unfamiliar with.  During our lighter school days, over the summer for example, we will define these words, talk about these words, and draw pictures of these words.  Sometimes I may even create sentences with these words for my children to copy.

How can I piece together a Language Arts program for my kids? - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool #languagearts

Another way we tackle vocabulary, is I simply ask my children if they know what words mean when we come across them in our reading.  Whether it’s from the Bible, a story, or even words from our Classical Conversations facts, we just talk about them.  As we talk regularly, I find my children retain them; however, if I only discuss these words once, they’re likely to forget.  There’s no testing, just experiencing words in our daily life.

You don’t have to do it all, all the time!

Quite frankly, I don’t do all of this every day.  I like to simplify homeschool by schooling year round.  We focus on these studies sometimes during the year, if our day allows the time for it, and during the summer months.  And honestly, I don’t think any curriculum can replace what children gain from reading with parents, and on their own.  In my personal opinion, so much of these studies can be tackled in the early years just through reading regularly.  {⇐Tweet that!}

What do you use for language arts, spelling, or vocabulary?  Do you like using all-inclusive programs, or do you like to piece things together?

Don’t miss the other curriculum reviews!

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4 thoughts on “Teaching Language Arts Without A Curriculum

  1. I piece different curricula together: Charlotte Mason’s Language Lessons is a great, gentle intro for younger children and those needing review. Sequential Spelling is fast and insanely effective. My kids went from mediocre spellers to phenomenol in two years of this curriculum. Daily language review by Evan Moore is great for providing daily sentence editing practice, along with parts of speech review, etc. Spectrum Language Arts and Grammar workbooks are very well good at teaching parts of speech and sentence structure, though there is not much reinforcement. We will be using IEW student intensive A this upcoming year as our previous writing curricula have been less than stellar. Nonfiction and science reading comprehension workbooks teach core principles while practicing reading comprehension skills. As for reading, I often have to tell, FORCE, my kids to put down their books and go play. They read hours per day (we only allow 30 minutes of screen time each day). We recently moved to an island, and I bought $175 worth of new kids books to hand out over the next few months on a slow, or lazy day. I’m afraid it won’t make it a month!!

    1. That’s awesome that your children love to read so much!!! My kids love to read, but I can’t say that I have the same problem as you; although we don’t have problems when we say, “time to read.” 🙂 Thanks for the input; most of what you mentioned I hadn’t heard of. Thanks, Paula!

  2. We use Sing, Spell, Read & Write, which we love, but I’ve also started supplementing with First Language Lessons this year too. Just didn’t think my daughter was getting enough grammar in SSRW although we love the phonics aspect. We love FLL! As for spelling, we aren’t stressing it either. I think we’ll use Sequential Spelling next year. As for vocabulary, I like what you do. I agree that reading is the best way to teach language arts…naturally.
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    1. So glad you’re enjoying FLL!! It really does a great job of getting to the point gently. 🙂 Thanks, Keri!

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