Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The best language arts lesson ever

in my opinion!

We are finally starting to learn the ways and methods that Charlotte Mason so strongly promoted over a hundred years ago. In doing so, we came across Intermediate Language Lessons by Emma Serl. Wow!

First I must say that this is a curriculum (can you call it that?) that I would have never envisioned myself using a year ago, or even when we first started homeschooling. But, thank you Jesus, I have caught Your vision for our family and how we should be homeschooling.

My oldest son is a talker and a thinker. He LOVES interacting with me and our whole family. He's so stinkin' smart and yet he was really struggling with Language Arts at times. Not because he didn't understand it, necessarily, but because he was reading the how-tos on a piece of paper and wasn't interacting with the creator of the workbook. He was learning grammar - and lots of it, but there isn't a whole lot of thinking when it comes to grammar - let's be honest. I think he was feeling bogged down with all the nuts and bolts of the lesson instead of actually learning.

I bought the book used on Amazon and gave it a shot. It cost us less than $10, so I thought "it won't be a total loss if it doesn't work." I even started it reluctantly because I just thought it couldn't be that easy. Many of the ladies on the MFW group were saying that they did much of the lessons orally - this would be a DREAM to my son, who just really hates handwriting.

So, we began....

We aren't turning back. He's in 6th grade and when we finish this school year, he'll be moving onto the nuts and bolts stuff in a better laid out manner - a recommendation from MFW. But, I can honestly say that I will miss these lessons with him.

Just to give you an idea of some of the things that we have done in the past couple of weeks:

We have conversed over the hows and whys of homeschooling - who pays for it, what the jobs of us as his parents are in our homeschool, how things work in our homeschool, etc. The lesson suggestion was to do this about the school, but it was written in something like 1913, so we adapted. The questions were all there for me to ask him and he had to answer in complete thoughts.

Today we had a debate!! A real debate along with outlines that each of us made. The debatable statement was something to the effect of "A girl or boy is better prepared for business work if they graduate with a high school education than if they just completed the elementary courses and started working." He took the affirmative and I the negative. Daddy (Big P) (the Principal) had to evaluate who had the better argument. We both learned a ton. I learned a lot from him and we had a great conversation in the meantime.

ooh, ooh, I almost forgot (editing is wonderful!)... one day we did a picture study on The Gleaners. This is where you look over a piece of art work or picture and you study it and ask yourself or answer questions about the picture in order to really understand what the artist was really trying to portray in the piece. Great conversation skills in this, looking for detail, thinking, being descriptive - all of these are essential for writing well.

It was really absolutely wonderful. P.9.G. is begging to start these lessons. This book goes from 4th to 6th grade, so she will be starting with our new school year. I'm sure that she'll know LOTS of the mechanics of grammar that are in the book, but we will be able to learn so much together as we interact in this very special way - learning.

I'm teaching my children to be thinkers and how to learn. They aren't memorizing things for a test and promptly dumping the information.

Oh, we have also gone onto narration. Wow - what a concept!! We will be starting copywork soon - this method is from the Bible! Who would have thought? I'm sure I'm one of the last people on this wagon, but boy am I glad to have finally made the switch in thinking and in doing.

I know that we have learned a lot. Even though there are times when I think "I can't do this anymore", I know that God keeps me going. Even when there are times that I really blow it, God keeps me going and humbles me through it all. And my sweet DH is so precious to go with the flow of my whims. I'm stuck on this Charlotte Mason thing, though. I believe that it is and is going to meet the educational needs and learning styles of my children.

Best of all, I'm learning to relax through it all. I did say learning! Relaxing is very hard for me to do....

In Christ,


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful lesson! So awesome that you could enjoy this time with your son.
You inspire me to try PLL - I have been on the fence.
Thank you for your post!

Crystal said...

Awesome post!!!! I think we adapted the same lessons the same way and it never seemed like an effort to adapt them to our home.

ummabdurahman said...

Thankyou Christine for such a heart-felt review of this curriculum. It gives me a little courage to step out of my comfort zone and try this program. My son has decided that he wants to use Intermediate Language Lessons which was of a great surprise to me. It looks appealing to him, so hopefully because of his interest we will have a more successful Language Arts year this year. I would like to know if you follow a plan of sorts for the lessons? Do you pick and choose what you would like to study and when? How do you use this program? All the best to you and your son in your learning adventures!


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