Why we choose learning language arts through literature for our homeschool year after year

Researching language arts options for your homeschool? Here’s what you need khổng lồ know about Learning Language Arts Through Literature và why it’s my go-lớn language arts curriculum year after year.

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*This is a sponsored post and I received a complimentary copy of Learning Language Arts Through Literature: The Gold Book for Review purposes, but I’ve sầu happily used this curriculum with my kids for years. Also, this post contains affiliate links; see disclosure for further details.*

It’s hard to imagine it now that I’ve got a teenager who wants khổng lồ be a writer, but language arts was a struggle for us in the earlier years of our homeschool journey. Because of that struggle, it took a few years to find a language arts curriculum option that met our needs. 


The thing is, language arts came easily lớn me in my years as a student. Since it came easily for me, I assumed the materials I selected wouldn’t be a make-it-or-break-it factor when teaching language arts lớn my own kids. In a nutshell, I thought I could pichồng any language arts curriculum và make it work for us.

I was terribly wrong.

Granted, my curriculum selection process was quite different in our early years of homeschooling. After all, this was before I read any of Charlotte Mason’s volumes or spent time exploring educational philosophy, but I learned the hard way that choosing a language arts curriculum isn’t as simple as finding a program with a 4-star Amazon Review. 

It took time & experimentation, but we finally stumbled across Learning Language Arts Through Literature after four years of bad-for-us curriculum choices. Since then, it’s been a reliable part of our homeschool days và it’s made all the difference in how I teach language arts and how my kids are experiencing it.

Overview: Learning Language Arts Through Literature

Before I jump inkhổng lồ why we choose Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL) time & time again, I want to mô tả a quick overview. Published by Common Sense Press through the lens of a Christian worldview, it’s a literature-based, comprehensive sầu, và consistent language arts curriculum that spans from first grade through the high school years.

It’s literature-based. – All language skills are taught within the context of carefully-selected literature passages. It’s comprehensive. – LLATL addresses all aspects of language arts. Each level covers reading, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and writing mechanics.It’s consistent. LLATL takes a spiral approach khổng lồ teaching language arts. The opposite of kill-and-drill, it teaches language arts through short, conversational lessons that build over time. This allows students to revisit & strengthen language skills consistently.
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Each cấp độ is labeled by color & covers all language arts areas with additional skills added into each màn chơi.

The Blue Book / first grade – phonics, reading, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, handwriting, và higher order reasoning. The Red Book / second grade – phonics, reading spelling, grammar, vocabulary, handwriting, and higher order thinking.The Yellow Book / third grade – reading, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, handwriting, và higher order thinking.The Orange Book / fourth grade – reading, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, creative writing, research skills, poetry, and writing mechanics.The Purple Book / fifth grade – reading, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, composition, retìm kiếm skills, higher order thinking.The Brown Book / sixth grade – reading, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, creative sầu writing, research skills, and higher order reasoningThe Green Book / seventh grade – reading, grammar, vocabulary, diagramming, poetry, Shakespeare, short story, research skills, và higher order reasoning.The Grey Book / eighth grade – grammar, vocabulary, word study, composition, research skills, persuasive sầu và narrative sầu writing, book studies.The Gold Books / high school – essay writing, creative sầu writing, literary interpretation, và studies on short stories, novels, poetry, và plays.

Also worth noting, the opportunities for your student lớn work independently increase with each level. Even so, both the teacher book và student book are needed lớn effectively use the curriculum.


As for the literature selections for each cấp độ, most can be easily purchased through your favorite bookseller or borrowed from your local library. The only exceptions are with The Blue Book and The Red Book since both use readers that were written for the curriculum.

A Typical LLATL Lesson

Each level contains 36 lessons and, while skills taught within the LLATL books vary according to lớn màn chơi, the framework for each lesson is generally the same. Lessons are divided inlớn five sầu day sections that begin with dictation or copywork. Day 1 also includes an introduction khổng lồ any spelling words for the week and some quichồng enrichment-style activities. The Day 2 instructions point baông chồng khổng lồ the literature passage from Day 1 and explore grammar mechanics và specific skills that can be taught with the passage as a guide. Days 3 and 4 continue lớn build on skills discussed earlier in the week và offer more opportunities for students lớn practice those skills. The typical Day 5 lineup varies from cấp độ khổng lồ level, but it usually includes a final dictation or similar activity based on the literature passage. Spelling tests, enrichment, and Đánh Giá activities are also included for some lessons.


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LLATL Book Studies

Book studies are another big part of Learning Language Arts Through Literature. There are four or five sầu of these studies found in each màn chơi. They focus on vocabulary, discussion based on the book, and other skills that correspond with the particular selection.

Learning Language Arts Through Literature:The High School Years

The high school books for LLATL are the only ones I haven’t personally used yet, but I’m using the British literature volume with my big kidvì next year. Here are the main differences I’ve sầu discovered while familiarizing myself with it:

The Gold Books

The high school books (the Gold Books) are broken up inkhổng lồ four volumes covering British literature, world literature, American literature, & literary criticism.

Another significant difference between the lower levels và the Gold Books is that parents and students giới thiệu the main book. These books include all the lesson instructions, assessment information, and answers to questions found in the lessons.


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Since teens are expected to work more independently than they were in younger grades, they use this book to lớn guide them through the lessons và keep their notes và assignments in a separate notebook. This replaces the need for individual student và teacher books used in lower levels.

Just lượt thích all of the LLATL levels, most of the literature selections needed for each course can be found easily at your local library or favorite bookstore.

Also, there’s a separate book with course notes, tests, & chạy thử answer keys for each of the high school books.

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Lastly, you can also purchase anthologies to go with the high school books. (The American literature volume is the only exception khổng lồ this.) These inexpensive companions lớn the courses are a wonderful way lớn ensure your student has access to all of the shorter selections referenced in the lessons without you having khổng lồ hunt down individual copies.

Why We Choose Learning Language Arts Through Literature for our Homeschool

Now that you know more about Learning Language Arts Through Literature and how it works, I’ve sầu got a confession for you. I actually stopped using it about halfway through the first year I tried it with my oldest kid.Don’t get me wrong, LLATL always worked for my oldest kidvì. We loved the selected books và he was doing well with the lessons. But somehow it didn’t seem like it could possibly be enough when I compared it to the other, albeit unsuccessful, resources we used previously.I’m not proud of it, but I didn’t trust the curriculum because it seemed too good to lớn be true. It was as if there was something wrong with it because my son wasn’t complaining & things were going smoothly. Sigh.

We stepped away from it for a while and tried something else. After a few months with another language arts resource, we knew it was time to lớn go back lớn LLATL and stay with it. It took trying it & shifting lớn another approach khổng lồ learn why LLATL works so well for us, but it’s what we continue to lớn choose for language arts each year. Here’s why:

1. It’s Charlotte Mason-friendly.

I was always intrigued by the idea of a Charlotte Mason education for my kids, but I didn’t implement her ideas in the beginning of our home page education journey. (You can learn why that didn’t happen in my post about homeschool regrets.)That said, it didn’t matter lớn me when we began using Learning Language Arts Through Literature, but I love knowing that it’s helped me implement Miss Mason’s ideas for teaching language arts even when I wasn’t trying to lớn vày so.


Here are a few ways LLATL specifically aligns with Charlotte Mason’s ideas for teaching language skills:

Quality literature is the backbone of each màn chơi. Book studies play a big role in LLATL, but the language instruction always happens within the context of literature. Lessons include copywork, dictation, and narration exercises for most levels. Lessons are usually short. They take a bit longer in the books for older students, but that’s not uncommon for upper grades.

Also, while you won’t hear too many Charlotte Mason purists discussing language arts curriculum for first and second grade students, the “formal lessons” in the earlier levels (The Blue BookThe Red Book) are still gentle, short, & engaging. There’s certainly no pressure or kill & drill in those levels. The focus is still on story và introductions, which allowed me to lớn stay true to lớn a Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschool while moving at my kids’ paces.

2. It allows us to lớn be consistent with language arts.

We’ve sầu come across our tóm tắt of fantastic language arts resources through the years, but none of them can be used for the long haul. 

A language arts curriculum with one or two volumes can be truly wonderful and helpful khổng lồ those who use it, but where does that leave the student và parent after completing the volumes?

Unfortunately it leaves them looking for curriculum yet again. That’s also true for curriculum options written with elementary or middle school students in mind.It’s not that way with Learning Language Arts Through Literature. Since there are volumes for first grade through high school, it’s a long-haul solution to homeschool language arts. There’s no need to lớn bức xúc over what we’ll use next year because LLATL can be a part of the entire homeschool journey rather than a temporary fix that will only last a season.

3. It requires little (và often no) prep.

My kids are 5 years apart và I often say that I live sầu with one foot in two different homeschool worlds because of their age difference. That age difference is exactly why LLATL’s low-prep nature is such a help to me. Since I’m homeschooling high school with my oldest kid and in the middle of the elementary school years with my youngest, I’m grateful for language arts lessons that allow me to lớn literally open the books và work through the lessons.

Homeschool life is challenging enough with a foot in two worlds; having to round up supplies for separate lessons and mentally prepare for two dramatically different levels would complicate things even more.


I go baông chồng to lớn LLATL each year because I can glance through the lessons for the upcoming week và rely on the guidance in the teacher books to vị the heavy lifting. I don’t need to spkết thúc additional time piecing things together because everything is ready and waiting for Monday morning. (PS: When a little extra preparation is needed — lượt thích with the flip books and word wheels in The Blue BookThe Red Book — it’s quiông chồng và easy.)

4. It’s affordable.

Lastly, we choose Learning Language Arts Through Literature for our homeschool because it’s affordable. It’s certainly not the most important factor, but it’s one that matters khổng lồ my budget.I’m all for smart spending when it comes khổng lồ my homeschool purchases, so I appreciate how LLATL replaces the need for separate curricula for reading, spelling, vocabulary, composition, và grammar.

The affordability also comes inlớn play when I’m purchasing for my youngest kidvì each year. My only language arts purchase for her is a new student book each year since I’m able to reuse the teacher books I used with my teenager the first time around.


By purchasing one resource for all of these language arts areas và reusing when possible, I’m able khổng lồ steward my homeschool budget wisely with LLATL.

Get Connected with Learning Language Arts Through Literature

Now that you know why Learning Language Arts Through Literature is a permanent part of our homeschool, you can learn more by visiting Comtháng Sense Press. You can also purchase all of their LLATL resources there:

Teacher booksStudent books

Not sure which màn chơi to purchase? These LLATL placement tests can help you determine the best level for your child.

Also, be sure to check out the không tính tiền bonus book studies offered by Common Sense Press. You’ll find resources to help you dig into wonderful books for all ages lượt thích Snowflake Bently, The Family Under the Bridge, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Tuck Everlasting, và To Kill a Mockingbird.


In addition khổng lồ purchasing through Common Sense Press, you can find a good selection of LLATL products at Rainbow Resource Center, Christian Book Distributors, & other homeschool retailers.

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Lastly, if you have questions about Learning Language Arts Through Literature, leave a phản hồi và let me know. I’m happy to lớn help out.


Chuyên mục: literature