Thursday, August 24, 2017

We love Character Quality Language Arts

The school year is off to a great start and I thought I would blog about it. This year for my 7th grader, we are doing Character Quality Language Arts by Donna Reish. This isn't the first time we have used pieces of her curriculum. We did samples of the program last year. This year we are using it as our full language arts curriculum for my middle schooler. My 10th grader is also using Meaningful Composition, also by Donna Reish, this year as well. I definitely recommend it and I will say, I found this curriculum while looking into Institute for Excellence in Writing. To be truthful, I didn't want to pay that much for a writing curriculum I didn't know would work. So I came across Meaningful Composition as a MUCH less expensive option and with the Checklist Challenge, it seems to be very similar to IEW.

Meaningful Composition vs. CQLA:
Character Quality Language Arts incorporates everything into one. It covers spelling, grammar, vocabulary, writing, dictation, and if you want to get really technical it covers topics like history and science as well...only because you are writing and researching more about the passage of the week. Here's an example of my 7th grader's writing in our first week below:

I was extremely impressed that she took the time to research a little about the Franco-Prussian War to add it into her writing. She also even took it upon herself to look up synonyms to change some of her boring words. This is actually done in the Checklist Challenge after you write your rough draft. However, my daughter has already made it a habit and did it before doing the checklist. She was rewarded Starbucks yesterday for the time and effort she put into her three body paragraphs. Don't worry, I do test her to see if she knows what scrupulous and benevolent mean after she adds them to her essay.  I love that she knows to look for synonyms in her writing, as it is only building her vocabulary.

The end of our week ended with grammar quizzes, a spelling test, and a dictation quiz. Just in the first week I could tell this is exactly what my youngest needed and she did so well even scoring a 103 on her spelling test (I gave her 4 bonus words and she got 3 correct). With spelling always been her struggle, I was so excited for her. She is the writer of the family, however, spelling and grammar isn't her strongest point. So I am confident with how this year is going to go using this curriculum.

Here she is having to write prepositions and she is using a toy figure and toilet paper roll to list as many as she can think of.

My 10th grader is strong in spelling and grammar. However, her struggle has always been writing and getting her thoughts on paper and forming longer, descriptive sentences. So this year she's not doing the full language arts curriculum like CQLA. As I previously mentioned, she's doing Meaningful Composition. As I feel like we need to really focus and take more time there. Meaningful Composition is basically the writing portion only part of CQLA. However, it still has a checklist challenge to where she is putting in prepositional phrase openers, descriptive adjectives, and such. So while it has some grammar, it's definite focus is writing. She's always done so much grammar in the past (like Easy Grammar), this year we are going to truly focus on writing and literature.

With all this talk of curriculum, I thought I'd lay out what we are doing this year.

Here's my middle school plan for my 7th Grader:
1 Hour of Math-U-See Zeta
1 Hour of CQLA
1 Hour of Reading/Vocab (she will be doing a Book of Virtues Unit, as well as other novels (Island of the Blue Dolphin, etc., 80 Days Around the World), a biography, poems, and books to learn with history and science)

My high school plan for my 10th Grader:
Math-U-See Geometry
Meaningful Composition
American Literature - she's starting off with the Scarlet Letter, but it will include To Kill a Mockingbird, and other short stories, poems, and biographies (I take my guide from and tweak little things). She will be learning a lot of rhetoric devices.
Biology from Guesthollow
Spanish 2 from 
Personal Finance with Dave Ramsey's Foundations in Personal Finance

1st Semester Only: Current Events (elective)
2nd Semester Only:
Geography (some mixed in with current events and 2nd semester she will be doing more of this by itself with also reading of 80 Days Around the World with her younger sister)
Health - Ted Talk Health Videos, First Aid for Free (an online first and CPR course) (2nd Semester)

It seems like my highschooler has a lot on her plate. However, she is always so fast at her work and seems to get most of it done correctly every time I am checking it and going over it with her. She is just a fast learner, so it looks like I pile a lot on her, but she is always the one that STILL gets all of her work completed before her younger sister. My youngest takes a lot more time to do her subjects. I have two opposite kids...they couldn't be more different.

Anyways, here's to a great year! I'm excited to see how week two goes.