Disclosure: In writing this review post, I am being compensated for my time. All of my opinions communicated here are honest and are uniquely mine.
We are thoroughly enjoying our North Carolina summer! The cicadas’ chorus echoes throughout the tops of our pine trees on hot afternoons and continues into the early evening. Much of our summer has been spent swimming, playing, visiting with grandparents and friends, and enjoying new board games.
Homeschool Curriculum Deals to the Rescue
As much as I love our unstructured summer time, being a homeschool mom of three, I have sought the necessary structure provided in a few short lessons in the mornings, when my son’s mind is sharp.
All it takes is about fifteen minutes. My son sits with me on the couch, and we practice building words to improve his grasp of vocabulary. With third grade right around the corner, I found this area to be one in need of some practice.
If you’re looking for some summer learning opportunities that take just a few minutes’ time, check out the Homeschool Buyers Club! They are featuring many FREE products right now, as well as running amazing deals across their site. To see the three free gifts you can get with the purchase of any product, scroll down to the end of this post. If my son was older, I’d check out Vocabulary Quest (see below), as it is appropriate for fifth through twelfth graders.
Free Products from Homeschool Buyers Club:
1. Thinkwell Free Trial
2. Reading Skills Assessment Ongoing
3. HomeSchoolPiano Trial
4. Code Avengers Free Trial
6. Kids Guitar Academy Trial
7. Mr Henry’s Music World Freebie
8. Nessy.com Free Trial
9. Mark Kistler Art Lessons
10. Creta Class 7 Day Trial
11. Math Mammoth PDFs
13. Reading Eggs
15. Smile and Learn
16. History Alive Grades 6-12
17. History Alive Grades 1-6
18. Vocabulary Quest
19. Dynamic Earth Learning (Aquaponics Course)
Word Building Lessons
I could see that my second grader needed some extra help with vocabulary this past school year. I started looking at Homeschool Buyers Club and their engaging language arts resources. I ended up finding a GREAT deal on the Word Build Online Program.
My son loves his word building lessons! It only takes fifteen minutes a day. His little sister even joins in on the challenge. Since I adhere to a classical approach to learning, I know the importance of teaching vocabulary first and foremost in the context of good, living books.
I list a few other ways to teach vocabulary below.
Engaging Ways to Teach Vocabulary
- In Context: find the words ahead of time and write them down in a notebook for your child to review the word structure, synonyms and definitions throughout the week (pick about 3 words a week). Karen Andreola in A Charlotte Mason Companion explains, “A vocabulary workbook that includes interesting text where the meaning of a word is derived from its use in context may be helpful. But since there are so many delightful children’s books available these days, wider reading is to be preferred.” When we read our history and literature books this year, my son will have a composition book where he will write down interesting words, in their appropriate alphabetical sections. He can do this with his independent reading, also.
- Interact with a Vocabulary 4-Square: Simply put, fold a piece of 8.5” x11” paper into fourths. In the upper left rectangle, write the word you are studying, being sure to underline any prefix of suffix. In the upper right rectangle, write a definition and synonym for the word. In the lower left rectangle, use the word in a sentence. Lastly, in the lower right rectangle, draw a picture of the word in an appropriate context.
Look for ways to use the words in poems by looking at my Poetry 4-Square.
- In Conversation: Use words that you hope to solidify in your memory by using them in conversation.
- Using Morphology: WordBuild Foundations 1 (online) is described as such: “The Foundations series comprises three levels and focuses on prefixes and suffixes, having students add them to words they already know so they can understand how the meaning, spelling, and/or part of speech is changed by the addition of that prefix or suffix. They will then be able to apply this knowledge to new words as well.” (source: WordBuild Online user’s guide)
- Teaching Greek and Latin Roots: Did you know that teaching Greek and Latin roots benefits children in learning the meaning of many words? If you are looking for an approach that emphasizes Latin and Greek roots, check out WordBuild Elements: “The Elements series, also three levels, focuses on Latin and Greek roots, the real foundation of academic English, the vocabulary that dominates all texts from about sixth grade on. Just as with prefixes and suffixes, students will gain enough experience with a given root to be able to apply it to a new word and figure out its true meaning based on the meanings of its parts.” (source: WordBuild Online user’s guide).
A Look at WordBuild in Our Home
Over the course of about five days, a WordBuild Foundations (1) online unit looks like this:
Warm Up (pre-assessment)
Lesson 1: Affix Square -place a root word with the prefix OVER-, write a new definition of the new word, then select the best use of the word from the options. (Matrix)
Lesson 2: Attach the prefix OVER- to the root word, write a new definition, then select the best use of the word from the options as it appears in a sentence.
Lesson 3: Look at the Matrix and match the definitions to the appropriate OVER- word.
Lesson 4: Fill in the blank with the correct OVER- word in different sentences.
Summer Learning Success
My son responded very well to the WordBuild Foundations 1 exercises. I did not help him in answering any of the questions, but did help him with operating the computer (keyboard class will be next, I suppose)! We loved this time together. Even his little sister joined us for many of the lessons. I will gladly recommend this specific method of reinforcing and learning new vocabulary to anyone.
One activity that was particularly engaging was the affix square. My son loved it because he got to choose the root word that he would “affix” to the prefix OVER-. He also enjoyed the mastery aspect. Any time he completed a lesson, he would receive a “Daily Reward”. He received 5 Daily Rewards before moving on to the next unit.
One way I know my son enjoyed WordBuild is the fact that he would never complain about doing it. I also think the fact that it was on the computer helped, too, since he hardly ever gets on the computer. Novelty is a powerful thing. Would he continue using WordBuild? Yes! As a mom, I like to see my son engaged in making meaning of new words and using them regularly in his everyday conversation and composition.
Enjoy Up to 3 Free Gifts
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