Broadening Your Child’s Horizons
ENGLISH— Building A Basic Foundation for Life
(Use in conjunction with the English worksheets)
One of the most basic skills that your child will be able to utilize throughout their life is a working knowledge of the English language! Broadly speaking, the study of English consists of: grammar/usage, dictionary and thesaurus usage, spelling, composition, creative writing, speech/public speaking, literature, as well as reading.
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Yes, the B-Word
Within the next few weeks, high school seniors will collect some serious graduation cash. Families will accept, decline, or amend financial aid packages. Let a budget guide you toward wise financial decisions.
How to Budget
- Track your spending for a month. Separate the income (money coming in) and expenses (money going out).
- Assign a category to each transaction. Some common income categories for college students include the following: grants, wages, loans, scholarships, and family contributions. Some common expense categories for students include the following: tuition and fees, rent, food, books, and clothing.
- Examine your spending and earning patterns and your estimated expenses and income for the upcoming school year.
- Decide how much you're going to spend per month in each category. Remember, this is your spending plan, so put your money toward what's important to you.
- Record your spending plan. You can use pencil and paper, a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel, or an app.
- Monitor your budget. Adjust your spending plan to make sure that it reflects your values. Also, make sure that your total income is greater than your total expenses.
Essay Writing Tips
Ever wonder how you can help your child become a better writer? Many parents feel underequipped to teach their child how to write. Children often find essays and book reports to be a chore, and if you as a parent do not know how to help them to learn to write effectively and efficiently, they can become discouraged. Often times, writing simply falls through the cracks. In this seminar Jennifer Ledwith will give you tips on how to help your child learn to be an excellent writer.
Help your child to write effective essays with these four steps:
- Usage: Grammar Review; Resources for better sentences.
- Structure: Go beyond the standard 5 paragraph essay to interest the audience.
- Audience: Interest the audience with a story.
- You: Ideas to help your students write about themselves.
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One necessary part of language skills includes a study of sentence structure and a mastery of the rules for capitalization and punctuation. An excellent tool for teaching children proper capitalization and punctuation is the practice of dictation. Every day, or several times a week, dictate a paragraph to your child on their reading level. Have them write the paragraph as you dictate it slowly. Afterwards, go through it with them and correct all mistakes with a red pen. This practice will fix proper rules into your child’s mind through observation. Don’t worry, this can be a fun exercise…try dictating passages from an exciting story book!
Every child should also have a basic knowledge of the parts of speech. The Parts of Speech Worksheets are designed to serve either as a review, or as a jumpstart for your child to begin to differentiate between the parts of speech. You may have your child look up the definitions in the dictionary, or online, or you may need to provide a grammar handbook. If your child is not familiar with these terms, you should give them extra practice. Drill them on the parts of speech. Ask them to write a list of adverbs, verbs, etc. Have them read a paragraph and mark each part of speech—underline verbs with blue, nouns with red, adverbs with yellow, adjectives with green, etc.
A third very important part of mastering the English language is vocabulary and spelling. Reading aloud to your children is one of the best ways to build vocabulary. Encourage them to ask you whenever you do not know the meaning of a word. When they do ask, do not simply provide the definition, rather require them to look the word up in the dictionary. Each of my children had their own dictionary and thesaurus. They knew how important it was to “look things up.” Spelling includes phonics, learning by sounding and separating syllables of words, mastering prefixes and suffixes, and studying rules for plurals and possessives. Spelling also includes antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, learning the origins of words, etc. The dictionary becomes a child’s cousin for everyday use. . Our children have shoeboxes of words written on index cards. Whenever we were watching a show or riding in the car, this box was brought for added study. You can increase your child’s vocabulary with weekly spelling lists. You may want to keep a list of words your child misspells in their writing, as well as other age appropriate spelling words (age level spelling lists can be found online). Have a list of spelling words that your child is expected to master each week. Use the Spelling Words Worksheet for effective ideas on how to help your child master his spelling words.
Mastery of the English language is an essential part of providing our children with a first class education. We need to ensure that amidst the rest of their studies, we do not allow them to fall short of excellence in the areas of grammar and spelling!