In the early years of homeschooling, it’s all about laying the groundwork for independent reading- you’re going over the alphabet, the sounds, the shapes, and the combinations. For my children, we loved using Hooked on Phonics for Kindergarten and 1st grade, and it really made an improvement in their speech and reading skills.
As time went on, and the girls entered the 2nd grade, the focus shifted to repetition. Priorities included correct pronunciation of words (at their level), building confidence while reading aloud, and most importantly, enjoying a good book. Going into 3rd grade, however, it was time to dive a little deeper into parts of speech, as we introduced nouns, verbs, adjectives, and even adverbs.
Now that the girls are in 4th grade (wow!) we are reviewing our 3rd grade knowledge, particularly Language Arts.
This reminded me that teaching children about nouns, verbs, and adjectives can be fun (and engaging), but you have to be excited about it too!
Here are some tips for teaching parts of speech to your little learner:
- Use a fun writing surface: Using only paper and pencil can feel bland for a child- a chalkboard, dry erase board, or mirror (with dry erase markers) can bring an extra element of fun into the lesson. I primarily use a chalkboard, but can remember using our bathroom mirror in 3rd grade. The kids got a kick out of it, and we reviewed adverbs longer than we would have if we were just sitting at the table. Little tweaks like this will make a difference, and make it feel less like school, and more like fun.
- Bring a story into it: When I was in school, learning this stuff was reeeaaaalllly boring. “This. Is. A. Noun. Blah.” “This. Is. A. Verb. Gag.” Children (and adults) will soak up more information if it’s interesting. One of the main pros about using a curriculum like Oak Meadow is that you use stories to engage children, in all subjects. Come up with a story or borrow a classic, like the 3 Little Pigs. For example: “The wolf huffed and puffed…” The noun being ‘wolf,’ and the verbs being ‘huffed’ and ‘puffed.’ See? Not so hard. Make it a game, and see who can pick out the most nouns and verbs in a story.
- Start small, and let it grow: Your child is like a tree, a tiny seed that is going to grow big and strong. A sentence is like that too- your basic sentence is a seed, with a noun and a verb, and adjectives and adverbs make it grow into a bigger sentence (giving us more information and making it more interesting). Start with the basics, and add on only after they fully grasp it. It’s not going to help if you pile on too much. As they become more comfortable with nouns and verbs, you can show them how sentences are like trees, and ask them to help you add onto it (my kids loved this!).
- Bring games into it: Kids love games, so it benefits to get creative here. Do you remember the lava game? You know, the one where you can’t touch the ground because it’s lava, or water, or whatever else your child brain came up with? Use that game when teaching parts of speech and forget that “no jumping on the furniture rule” for an afternoon. Make an obstacle course through your living room- the kids can’t jump from one piece of furniture to the next until they verbally make a sentence with a noun and a verb. If you are just teaching adjectives, have them describe the lava before they move on. Whoever makes it to the end wins. Add some dramatic music into the mix and trust me the kids will start laughing.
- Color: If you have to sit down and write some sentences, add some color. This is part of our Oak Meadow curriculum and I really like the idea. Have the kids write or circle nouns in blue, verbs in red, and adjectives in green. It helps when they are identifying words, and makes the page more colorful. Come up with a few sentences to give them, and then ask them to make one up. The more you practice, the better they’ll get!
I hope this has helped with your homeschooling experience!
*Blessings and Love*
Do you have any tips for teaching language? Share in the comments below!
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