Language Arts is one of the main core subjects that you need to teach throughout the years in your homeschool. This is addition to math is usually skill-based, where you should teach each child at the level they are at and move forward as they gain mastery and understanding. Language arts contains multiple subjects and we’ll cover what it includes, plus look at some of the best homeschool language arts curriculum that is available.
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What subjects fall under language arts?
The category of language arts is very broad, but it typically includes these specialties:
While you can sometimes find curriculum that includes all of these or most of these aspects, through my 14 years as a homeschool mom, I’ve learned that it’s better to find resources that specialize. That is, instead of finding an “English 3” product for my third grader, it’s usually better to find a resource that does a superb job in spelling, then a separate one that’s excellent in grammar, and so on. It doesn’t have to make it more expensive, either.
So in this post, I’ll link to all-in-one curriculum and other popular products in the homeschool world, but I’ll also let you know what we’ve used successfully over the years so you have a bit of perspective. I know that what we’ve used in our homeschool might not be the best fit for your homeschool, so take my advice with a grain of salt as you read on.
Best online language arts curriculum
Night Zookeeper is a fun online program that not only teaches and reviews grammar concepts with your children, but motivates reluctant writers as well. We tried this for a while with our early elementary student, and she was thrilled to create animals in the Night Zoo and then write about them. You can read about our full experience with Night Zookeeper to see if it would be a good fit for your kids. You can sign up for a FREE 7 day trial.
SchoolhouseTeachers.com provides a family membership option that allows you to access absolutely all of their online courses for all your kids at any level. This is a great value if you don’t want to purchase courses individually. They usually run sales and deals multiple times a year, so keep an eye out for that. You can get an inside peek into the value of a SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership.
Study.com is an all-in-one membership with everything you need to homeschool, including fun and engaging video lessons for all subjects and grades, comprehensive assessments, instructor support, and study scheduling.
While they offer complete courses, parents can create custom courses if they’d like so that the course is exactly what they want
Their College Accelerator option includes hundreds of courses that can be used for dual credit, helping students to get a head start on their college credit.
New members who sign up using our exclusive code – AbbyBanks – will receive 30% off for three months.
You can read our review of Study.com here.
Compass Classroom offers multiple online courses, mainly geared toward your middle and high school students. If you have multiple students that would like to take courses through Compass Classroom, you can get a one week free trial of their Premium Membership.
Here are a few examples of their video course options:
- Writing Through the Wardrobe
- Creative Writing with Jonathan Rogers
- American Literature
- Grammar of Poetry
- British and World Literature
- Grammar for Writers
- Fitting Words – Classical Rhetoric for the Christian Student
- Plus vocabulary and Latin options!
Best elementary language arts curriculum
Institute for Excellence in Writing, or IEW, is another company that specializes in language arts curriculum for all grade levels. Their leveled materials offer full curriculum options for writing, grammar, and literature.
We have used their Fix It! Grammar curriculum and I’ve switched to using this for my kids rather than our original choice in the early years, which was First Language Lessons. Here’s our review of Fix It! Grammar and Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons.
Want free samples from IEW?
- Free Grammar – Download a sample of IEW’s comprehensive, effective, and easy-to-use Fix It! Grammar program!
- The Phonetic Zoo sample – Download a sample of IEW’s The Phonetic Zoo, which teaches spelling with an auditory mastery approach that works.
- Free Writing sample – Download a sample of Andrew Pudewa’s fun and effective video product Structure and Style for Students!
- Free Poetry – Download a sample of IEW’s fun mastery approach to memorizing poetry with Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization.
Homeschool Planet offers made-for-you lesson plans for IEW’s theme-based writing curriculum. You can learn more by clicking the button below.
Find lesson plans available for this product at Homeschool Planet. Sign up for a 30-day FREE trial.
Writing with Skill
While I still love Writing with Skill, we have started using more IEW products in our homeschool instead. However, I do continue to highly recommend it for the easy-to-use structure plus the helpful skills it teaches your students. You can read about our experience with Writing with Skill plus see a video flip-through of the curriculum.
What we love:
- Teaches middle & high schoolers to be independent and responsible for their learning
- Scripted out
- Teacher guide book for helping when they get stuck
- Reusable curriculum
- Teaches sequential skills
- Builds from foundations to more advanced
- Doesn’t frustrate the students
- Just excellent curriculum – I wish I had this type of writing instruction when I was in school!
Writing with Skill is geared toward grades 5+. Check out Susan Wise Bauer’s recommendations for grade levels here.
If you want a gentle approach to writing for your kids in grades K-4, then you might want to look into Writing with Ease.
Many elementary writing programs and writing prompts assume kids will naturally know how to write. Most don’t! This is a skill that needs taught and not muddled in with another subject.
What we love:
- Reusable curriculum
- Scripted for the parent
- Teaches a skill (writing) on its own without combining it with another subject (grammar)
- Doesn’t assume kids naturally know how to write (they don’t)
- Starts basic (narration)
- Sets a necessary foundation for middle school and high school writing
- Uses wonderful literature as it instructs
Susan Wise Bauer, the author of Story of the World and the Writing with Skill curriculum, also authored a classical grammar curriculum for the early elementary years called First Language Lessons. I used it for my first four kids.
First Language Lessons: levels 1-4 cover approximately grades 1-4. It is scripted for the parent, and the repetition and spiral approach keep adding on depth as you go. I buy the student text and the teacher text, but have reused them both.
All About Learning Press
We tried a bunch of traditional spelling approaches and resources, but none of them worked. The whole routine of drilling 20 new words each week with a spelling test on Friday especially didn’t work for my dyslexic child. But it didn’t really work for any of the other kids either. So what did finally work for all of us? That would be All About Spelling. You can read about our experience with AAS and why we finally ditched the spelling lists.
Teaching kids to read – phonics
If you just want an easy-to-follow script for teaching your kids to read, then you can’t go wrong with Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.
I realize that some of you would rather have a more structured curriculum to use in teaching your kids how to read. In that case, I would suggest All About Teaching Reading or Classical Phonics by Memoria Press.
Plus, add in some of our favorite phonics non-curriculum resources:
- Leap Frog Letter Factory & Talking Words Factory videos – I used the original versions of these videos to teach all five of our kids to read! No joke!
- Bob Books
- magnetic letter tiles on the fridge spelling CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant with the vowels being short vowels)
- Usborne Phonics Readers
If you want to gather the family around and use beautiful picture books as your main spine, then look into Rabbit Trails Homeschool. You can listen to my chat with Christine Zell of Rabbit Trails Homeschool on episode 118 of the Homeschool with Moxie Podcast.
Here are more Christian literature-based curriculum resources to look into:
- Memoria Press
- My Father’s World
- Heart of Dakota
- Beautiful Feet
- Five in a Row
- Guest Hollow
- A Mind in the Light
- The Good and the Beautiful
- Gentle Feast
- Peaceful Press
- Year of Learning
- Simply Charlotte Mason
- Tapestry of Grace
- Mothergoose Curriculum
- Mater Amabilis
- Well-Educated Heart
- Rabbit Trails
- A Year of Tales / A Year in the Hundred Acre Wood
- Gentle + Classical Homeschool Curriculum
- Progeny Press
- Simple Studies
What about literature and reading lists?
I access book lists from Classical Reader and this complete classical Christian book list for grades 1-8. But for the most part, I gave up trying to find a textbook publisher’s approved list of books for this and that grade. Most of my kids read well above grade level, and I try to make sure they’re also reading plenty of classics. But who says it’s wrong for them to lose themselves in a series they absolutely love for hours each day? I think the love of reading is more important at this state than filling out reading comprehension sheets.
Have you read The Book Whisperer yet? It totally changed my vision for my homeschool reading.
And I know what it’s like to homeschool a dyslexic kid! It can definitely be a challenge. The Dyslexic Advantage is my best recommendation to read so that you understand how your dyslexic child learns best.
Plus, if you have a dyslexic student, check out Andrew Pudewa’s podcast episodes about helping and teaching your dyslexic kid. One big takeaway for me was that using audiobooks with your dyslexic child is NOT cheating! So be encouraged to use tons of audiobooks with your struggling reader.
Now, I do use Abeka Reading Comprehension sheets at the lower elementary levels mainly because they were given to me and I like to be thrifty like that. But, they are solid, and they help me assess whether my kids are understanding what they’re reading.
But in general, we don’t do book reports. I want my kids to enjoy reading – not to dread writing a report about it! What can you do instead to make sure they did the reading? Use narration instead.
Keep reading aloud! We loved reading through the Little House Books when the boys were just very little, then Hardy Boys mysteries, then the Chronicles of Narnia. (By the way, these box sets make great Christmas gifts from grandparents!)
But if you do want fun lesson plans for hands-on literature study, then you’ll love LitWit Kits for Hands-On Literature.
All in One Language Arts Curriculum
If you want to look into all-in-one language arts curriculum options, here are some ideas.
Sonlight’s homeschool curriculum “secret” comes down to this: we believe most children respond more positively to great literature than they do to textbooks. Sonlight’s Language Arts programs are based on the “natural learning” approach, which means discovery learning. You can request a sample of Sunlight’s curriculum to see if it would be a good fit for you.
BJU Press offers high quality, Christian-based English curriculum for each grade level. It is definitely traditionally-based, that is, it uses worksheets and traditional methods for teaching the content. You can also purchase video lessons where your children watch videos of a teacher each day. I don’t usually recommend that option, because it can turn a second-grade homeschool day into a seven hour event and usually include lots of tears!
But occasionally using a video lesson, or even just purchasing the workbooks, can be a good option. Since we’re talking about language arts here, just know that each grade level includes an English workbook and teacher’s book. In the younger years, you might also need to add spelling, vocabulary, and literature to round it out.
We’re used their BJU Press English in high school for a year to get a good grammar review in with our kids.
High School Language Arts Curriculum Ideas
We’ve already linked to several great curriculum companies that offer English, literature, and other language arts resources for all grade levels, including high school. So, look into Memoria Press, Compass Classroom, Study.com, SchoolhouseTeachers.com, and BJU Press for your high schoolers.
If you’re looking for a traditional grammar book-based course, then check out Analytical Grammar for your middle or high schoolers.
Analytical Grammar: my middle schoolers use this independent curriculum to firm up their grammar skills before high school, when their writing assignments will assume they have a firm grasp on parts of speech and proper writing techniques. I also purchase both the student and teacher texts. These are not reusable.
Find lesson plans for Analytical Grammar by clicking the button below.
Find lesson plans available for this product at Homeschool Planet. Sign up for a 30-day FREE trial.
Another idea for your high schooler would be to encourage them to create and launch a podcast as an English/speech elective. Many of the skills required to interview or write an outline for a podcast episode are the same ones you would cover in some types of English classes in high school. Check out our Podcast Launch for Teens to help you with that.
One last tip for your high schooler: see what they can accomplish as a dual-enrolled student. Our high schoolers have been able to earn many credits toward their college degrees while still in high school. One great class to do this with is a college English class, which you usually take as a college freshman. If your student takes a dual-enrolled class while in high school, this class can count as a credit on the high school transcript AND as 3-credits toward a college degree.
Language Arts Curriculum Reviews
When you’re looking for homeschool curriculum reviews, there is no better place to start than with Cathy Duffy Reviews. She’s been reviewing hundreds of popular resources for decades and her site includes a helpful quiz for you to take to see which products would best fit with your homeschooling style. We had her as a guest on episode 116 of the Homeschool with Moxie Podcast.
It doesn’t have to be difficult to find great resources for your high school senior. Here’s our review of 12th grade English curriculum for homeschool.
One of the best resources for gently teaching and reviewing grammar in your homeschool is IEW’s Fix It! Grammar.
Here are the rest of our Language Arts Reviews:
- Fix It! Grammar
- Channie’s Visual Handwriting
- Easy Grammar Systems
- College-Ready Writing Essentials
- Reading Eggs
- StoryTime Treasures from Memoria Press
- IEW Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons
- BJU Press English 10 + 11
- All About Spelling
- LitWits Kits
- Dyslexia Gold
- Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT
- Classical Phonics – Memoria Press
- Evan-Moor Language Fundamentals
- Writing with Skill