Let’s talk a little bit about language arts skills.

Of course you know about spelling as a language arts skill. There are a couple of ways to teach spelling. The old school way is to give the student a list of words to practice and every day for a week the student re-writes the words, and at the end of the week a “spelling test” is given. You probably remember this from when you were in school. There is nothing wrong with this way of teaching spelling, except that it doesn’t work for some students.

In the early and middle elementary years my daughter was a horrid speller. I was so afraid she would never learn to spell. After weeks and months of tears and fights while we tried to use the traditional method of spelling I asked her what she needed to learn to spell. In return asked me why I didn’t give her the list then test her on the list after she had had time to look over it a couple of minutes. Then let her work on learning the words she didn’t know how to spell instead of spending all week with words she might already know.

Hmmm…that got me to thinking. Sometimes stepping outside of tradition to try to teach something a different way might be a great option if you run into a snag in your child’s learning. So what other ways could we use to teach language arts skills besides the traditional methods?

Well, I used world ladders to build spelling skills as well as to build vocabulary. Word ladders are a lot of fun, even for older kids. If you don’t know about word ladders look them up on the internet. Students even use word ladders in the same way you might you use crossword puzzles, or find a word puzzles. Amazingly, these types of word games can have an effect on your child’s ability to spell, to learn definitions, and learn new words. You can also use them as reviews for other subjects. Consider putting your child’s science vocabulary in a find a word puzzle.

Sentence match is another way to build vocabulary. Sentence match is a word exercise in which the student picks the best word from a list to fill in the blank in a sentence. Not only does it build vocabulary but it builds decision making skills when they have to choose the best or similar words to fill in the blanks. Like other word puzzle games you can also use sentence match to review other subjects such as social studies and science. Simply use words and sentences that help you child review whatever subject you need them to review.

You can find versions online of any of these word building games. There are even places, such as Vocabulary and Spelling City where you can customize the word lists for these games. You can find printable versions online as well.

What variations on traditional methods have you used to help your child learn language arts skills? I’d love to hear what works in your homeschool!

Language Arts–Think Outside the Box


Homeschooler of one daughter for over 7 years, using their favorite homeschool resources, Time4Learning and Vocabulary and Spelling City. Interests include writing, reading, gardening, crochetting, knitting, and of course, homeschooling.

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