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Flashback Friday- Cursive Writing

Cursive Writing Homeschool

My boys hated learning and practicing cursive writing but we persevered with it for a long time. Along about middle school, I stopped requiring them to use cursive writing but they could print or type their narrations as they wished. Honestly I didn’t see the reason to make them continue.

One year we used Spelling Wisdom from Simply Charlotte Mason for copywork and dictation but it was not something the boys enjoyed. Cursive was just too tedious for them…they never did it well enough to have it come naturally.

The reason I decided to talk about this is because I noticed something just last week. Mr. A had a going away party before he left for New York. At that party, he received lots of nice cards with personal messages. I noticed he was having trouble reading some of them and asked him what was going on.

He struggles to read cursive even if it is neat and legible. He just doesn’t have the experience with cursive to read it easily.

I don’t know if that is reason enough to make children be proficient with cursive writing or not but I thought it was interesting.

Just an observation for my Flashback Friday post this time.

 

Language Arts in Our High School Plans

Language Arts at Harmony Art Mom

The up-coming High School Home Education Blog Carnival is featuring the topic of language arts. As I combed through my past entries looking for something to contribute, I realized that I have written quite a bit about our language arts but over on The Curriculum Choice. What  a great opportunity for me to gather all that I have written and share a bit here on my Harmony Art Mom blog for all of you to enjoy and as a resource for future readers.

Language Arts at the Harmony Fine Arts Academy

[Where I  have been home educating my four children for the last fifteen years. Currently I am home schooling my youngest high school age son….the very last one! We use an eclectic style of homeschooling, flavored with a Classical/Charlotte Mason style to emphasis the arts and sciences.]

Spelling Power – “Now that my boys are finished with Spelling Power and in high school I rarely need to correct their spelling. If they happen to misspell a word, I can usually point it out to them and have them correct it. The rules learned in Spelling Power have trained them well enough to get even complicated spellings correct or at least really close so they can look it up in the dictionary.”

English From The Roots Up – “We used the cards each week to drill the roots into our memory. We played simple games with the cards if we had some extra time during the week. We studied five minutes a day, four days a week.”

Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization – “Our children are constantly surrounded by slang, sloppy speech, and improper grammar. This program strives to provide food for the ears of our young ones and help them build up their natural ability to memorize.”

Take Five! For Language Arts – “There is an index at the back of the book categorizing the prompts by language arts skills involved and I found that to be very helpful. For example, if I was looking for a prompt that used persuasive writing, I could scroll to that section and read down the list of prompts working on that genre of writing.”

Daily Grams- Jr. High  and Sr. High Level – “I liked using Daily GRAMS as a way to spot check any trouble areas my sons might have and then to review briefly as they came up.”

Literature Terms-My Little Reminders

As we go through our literature readings each week, I want to have a way to remember the terms and concepts that are on our “to do” list for the year. I came up with a method a few years back and it is still a great way to review and cement ideas as we go through our weekly literature assignments. I also love that it is relatively painless and inexpensive, as well as quick and easy.

I take a set of 3″ by 5″ cards and write down the literary terms that I would like to cover for the year. I keep the cards in a box or you can hole punch and put them on a ring. I like to move the completed cards to a separate section and only use them for review. Some cards stay in the current section for the complete school year. We are working on finding the theme in our literature this year so the “theme” card will stay in the front.

As we go through the week’s reading, I pull out several of the cards and keep them in mind when we have our literature discussions. Tapestry of Grace uses “story analysis” and weaves it into their plans, but I want to review more often than it comes up in the TOG plans.

Here are some of the cards we have used over the years.

Beginning Cards:
Fiction/Non-fiction
Alliteration
Characters
Metaphor
Simile
Onomatopoeia
Rhyme
Rhythm
Stanza
Main Idea
Legend/Myth/Folk Tale/Fable/Tall tale
Setting
Plot
Personification
Figure of speech
Description

Next step:
Conflict
Imagery
Suspense
Symbol
Point of view (first person, third person, etc)
Irony
Foreshadowing
Flashback
Allusion
Biography/Autobiography
Dialogue
Novel
Prose

Our new high school level cards:
Paraphrase
Dialect
Tone
Theme
Short Story
Essay
Drama
Mood
Poetry/free verse/limerick
Tragedy/Comedy/Historical play


How do we use the cards? After pulling a few cards each week to keep in mind, I ask the boys to watch out for examples of the concepts in their reading. For instance, if we were working on metaphors, they might keep track of a few that they come across in their weekly work. If the book we are reading is a biography, we might talk about point of view, setting, dialogue , or mood. Shakespearean plays give us the opportunity to discuss which category of play we are reading, rhyme, characters, dialect, or irony.

Another way I weave the literature terms into our work is to have the boys include examples in their own writing. I might ask them to include a metaphor in their writing or to write from a certain point of view. This way they are not only able to find examples in their literature but also cement the idea by incorporating the concepts into their own writing. I love that.

If you have younger children, you can use the cards as a reminder to yourself and as you cover each idea, make a little pencil check in the corner to keep track of which cards you have shared so far. It is a visual reminder as you work through your school year.

We start each year with a quick review of the terms we know and I add in a few new ones to work on, keeping track as we work through the weeks.

If you are a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, you can intertwine these literary terms into your narration assignments. An example might be for your student to narrate some dialogue for the current literature book or to narrate the setting of the book with a drawing. You can be as creative as you would like using the cards and terms.

Hope this helps someone or sparks an idea of your own. You can actually use this idea for other subjects as well and I found it a lifesaver when I had three homeschoolers working on different grade levels.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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