Tools for Homeschooling Middle School: Teaching Language Arts & Literature

Teaching Language Arts & Literature

Throughout the middle school years our children’s use and understanding of language will increase dramatically!  This is the perfect time to find creative opportunities to help children build skills needed to express themselves through written and spoken words.

During this time children will begin to analyze situations, form opinions, and look for ways to share their ideas with others.  Encouraging students to fine-tune their writing skills, engage in discussions about their favorite books, and learn the meanings of new words will give them tools needed to succeed in high school and beyond.

Although subjects like spelling, grammar, reading, and writing don’t typically bring to mind fun and creative hands-on project ideas like you would find in science class, we have found some!  Our kids learn best when they involve all of the senses in the learning process and language related learning is no different.

Here are some of our favorite tools for homeschooling middle school language arts and literature:

Curriculum

Spelling Smart! – Spelling has been a challenge for our family, thanks in part to my son’s dysgraphia.  We have tried many programs over the years but this was a good tool for us to use during early middle school years. This program helps to reinforce spelling patterns by using word lists and various writing opportunities.

Spelling Smart

Vocabulary from Classical Roots – With this series children learn groups of words derived from classic (usually from Greek or Latin) root words.  This program has not only helped to expand our children’s vocabulary, it also helps them understand the meaning of new words they encounter based on the word root.

Vocabulary from Classical Roots

Fortuigence – This online, self-paced writing program has helped my reluctant writers address their writing concerns by learning how to get started (no more “blank page terror”) and how to follow a consistent 5 step writing process.  Students submit their revised essays after each writing lesson and get personalized, constructive feedback from a veteran writing teacher.

Wordsmith Apprentice – We used Wordsmith Apprentice during the early middle school years because it was very creative.  Throughout the book students pretend to be a small town newspaper reporter as they complete various writing assignments.  

Wordsmith Apprentice

Teaching the Classics – This has served as our literature guide for several years!  By using the ideas in “Teaching the Classics” we have helped our Book Club students become familiar with the elements of literary analysis.  Our children can now engage in meaningful literary discussions thanks to the Socratic approach outlined in this guide.

Teaching the Classics

World for Learning – These hands-on unit studies make reading classic literature fun and relevant for kids!  Along with a friend and fellow homeschool mom we created the World Study Guides for our own kids as a part of our middle school Book Club co-op. Your family will enjoy bringing literature to life with recipes, crafts, maps, discussion questions, and much more.

World Study Guide

Books and Games

Bananagrams – Reinforce spelling and vocabulary skills by using letter tiles to build crossword puzzle grids.

Educational Insights Blurt! – This fun and fast-paced rapid recall game will help kids (and parents) improve their vocabulary skills!

Story Cubes – Use images on the story cubes to create one-of-a-kind stories, improve communication skills, and build problem solving abilities.  Fun for kids to use independently or with a group.

Mad Libs – With these fun word puzzles my kids don’t even realize they are practicing parts of speech!  We love to use these in the car to keep everyone busy during road trips.

Teaching Language Arts & Literature

Reading Roadmaps – This supplement to “Teaching the Classics” offers literature recommendations by grades, along with summaries of the book’s plot, themes, literary devices, etc. We used this guide each year to help select the books for our middle school Book Club.

The Well-Trained Mind:A Guide to Classical Education at Home – This was one of the first homeschool resource books I ever purchased.  I refer back to it every year as we map out our new schedules and plans.  Inside you will find suggestions for spelling, grammar, reading, and writing resources as well as book lists to accompany each era of world history.

Hands-on Learning Activities

Literature Studies: Chaucer – A Retelling of a Knight’s Tale from Angelicscalliwags

Writing Enrichment: Make a Book from Karen Trina Childress

High School Skills: Analyzing Text from Blog She Wrote

American Icon: Ernest Hemingway – A High School Literature Study from Eva Varga

Cause and Effect Card Game Activity from Education.com

Having Fun With the Penderwicks from the Library Adventure

Make a Travel Diary – Practice writing skills on a family vacation from Education.com

Make a Diorama of Dante’s Inferno from Angelicscalliwags

Robert Frost in Words and Craft from Campfires and Cleats

Hands-on learning activities for middle school - Language Arts

Hands-on Activities from the Education Possible Archives:

Online Resources

Here are more clever ideas for teaching middle school language arts from our homeschool/blogging friends:

Project Gutenburg – Over 45,000 free ebooks (ebooks are free in the US because the books’ copyrights have expired).  Many classic literature titles included.

LibriVox – Free public domain audiobooks, read by volunteers from around the world.

The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Writers in Your Homeschool from Blog She Wrote

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Reading Culture in Your Home from Blog She Wrote

Homeschool Language Arts Curriculum Reviews from The Curriculum Choice

10 Tips for Reading Aloud to Kids from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Follow Education Possible’s board Writing, Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation on Pinterest.

Online Resources from the Education Possible Archives:

 What are your favorite resources for teaching language arts & literature?

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas by iHomeschool Network

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Susan Williams
As a veteran educator I am always looking for new ways to bring learning to life for my family. I enjoy traveling, sharing ideas with other moms, and helping my children explore the world around them. We have been homeschooling for more than a decade and are now entering the final stretch of our homeschool journey with two teens in high school.
Susan Williams
Susan Williams
Susan Williams

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Comments

  1. Great collection of resources!

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