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Our read aloud choices for the coming school year are a big deal in my planning process. It’s an especially big deal this year, since my 3rd and 5th grader’s language arts is going to be 100% based from our read aloud choices. We’re rocking the language arts boat a little bit this year–as in, I’m kind of creating my own regime.

It feels very rebellious and I like it.

Grammar, spelling, phonics, vocabulary, writing…all that is super important. (Obviously) But the thing is, I’m tired of workbooks. I feel like when it comes time to do language arts, we’re just checking a lot of boxes, but my kids aren’t really getting the meaning of any of it. I want them to see the purpose behind the work they’re doing.

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How Read Alouds and Language Arts are Intersecting

We’ve started ditching our grammar and spelling workbooks for our read alouds instead–pulling out excerpts from these books we’re loving and using those exerpts to teach those subjects. Here’s why this is working so well:

Get the 6 Secrets to a Simpler Mom Life

  • It’s economical.
  • You can use any title you’re interested in.
  • Use a different excerpt each week for copywork.
  • Study different literary elements with your kids.
  • You can create writing projects based on the writer’s style.
  • Our read alouds are serving a BIG purpose in our homeschool.
  • No workbooks or busywork involved. Just a composition notebook. We keep our copywork, grammar exercises, free writes, and spelling in these.
  • I pull spelling words from the copywork excerpts and the kids practice them all week. Five words, tops.
  • We can adjust the weekly schedule according to what works for US! I don’t have to work around a curriculum’s plan.

Read Aloud Choices for 2016-2017

Here’s a list of what we’ll be reading together this year. I’ve picked seven books to give us a little wiggle room in case we get behind.

What about writing?

I will be adding a writing curriculum–although that will be based somewhat on our read alouds as well! WriteShop will be used for what I hope will be a great year of creating writing. We’ll use WriteShop for the nuts and bolts of our writing skills.  We’ll use the practice of freewriting and projects to make writing feel painless, as it should be!

I’m really excited for a more simplistic approach to language arts this year. I did have that fleeting thought of “is this going to be enough,” but like most of what we do as homeschool parents, trial and error will lead us through.


  1. Oh my goodness!! Everything about this sounds so right!!! I feel like this could be such a game changer for us. Thank you for sharing your journey!!!

  2. This is giving me some much-needed and inspiring direction – thank you, Alicia! xo

  3. I love Brave Writer! I’m reading The Writer’s Jungle now, we are starting the Wand this year as well as Jot It Down, with Quiver of Arrows planned for next year. I love everything she puts out.

  4. Hey you! Isn’t this fun! I’m getting one to try with my girls. Which book did you pick? I’m thinking Mr. Popper’s Penguins 🙂

  5. Hey! Thanks for this! Where do I find past guides on the brave writer website? I see the ones you link to but I can’t find any other ones. ? Thanks 🙂

  6. Did you ever use the Quiver of Arrows program?
    It looks pretty great and was wondering if you have any experience with it.
    This fall I will be homeschooling for the first time, my son is going to be in 1st grade.
    Thank you so much.

  7. Alicia I am so excited to read about this! My son is only 8 and doesn’t like writing but enjoys reading! I’m going to try this for Fall and see how we do- I downloaded one of the free trial runs to get familiar with it 🙂 thank you!

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