I came across this infographic: How to Teach English – it shows different ways ESL teachers teach English. It made me think – how do I enhance our language arts lessons? I imagine that ESL teachers are looking for real life situations in order to teach real life language. As homeschoolers we have the opportunity to do that as well. Our lessons do not need to be, actually I don’t believe they should be, restricted to our lesson plans and curriculum. We need to surround our kids with a language rich environment using a variety of media. As we incorporate these different resources into our life (not just school lessons) a kids can learn to use words wisely, understand different formats and contexts, expand their vocab they will be able to communicate in different forms themselves – both to receive and give information in different ways.
These resources are generally just a part of our home life. The thing is, that if our kids are to learn from them we need to be intentional. We need to think about how language is used, what vocab is being used, what is being communicated, how it is being communicated and talk about these things with our kids.
I remember one of our busy times where we seemed to be in the car more than we were at home, I chose a country music CD and we listened to a different song on each trip and spoke about the lyrics as our lessons for the day. Other things we talk about often in our home:
- As we read the newspapers or watch the TV news we talk about the bias and background agendas
- We discuss advertising, in its different forms, so that our kids can be aware of the subconscious messages being presented in various media
- Even Facebook gives us an opportunity to talk about language, how it is used in a different context, often by a different generation
- Texting and the new way of spelling, grammar and expressions.
- Comics is an interesting topic cause I think they are a ‘lesser’ form of communication, but my kids connect and I’m starting to see their value (in balance of course with good literature written well!)
- Sermons are a good source to discuss verbal communication – especially public speaking (that is, delivering your message to a group)
As we ourselves, as the teachers, become aware of language around us, then we can draw from different mediums, at different times in our day, and enhance our children’s lessons in English. How are you enhancing your language arts lessons?
You may be interested in reading Daily Opportunities to Teach Writing