Language Arts Study for Gifted Students
As we enter what I consider to be our 8th grade year of homeschooling, I’m beginning to realize that my son continues to need increasingly challenging work. Each year it becomes more and more apparent that he needs differentiated learning opportunities in every subject matter. Yet, I find myself always gravitating to more challenging math and science, and steering clear of challenging him in other areas, like language arts.
I think the reason is because for years he has balked at anything that related to writing. Oh, he’s very good at grammar, handwriting, and understanding how to edit material. He just simply has never been one to like writing down his own thoughts. Therefore, I’ve not sought to challenge him in that area, year after year I simply let him do the bare minimum when it came to creative writing.
Disclosure: I received this language arts curriculum as well as the companion required novels in exchange for a fairly compensated, honest review of the materials. All opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to write a positive review.
Discovering Gifted Language Arts Units
When I learned about the William & Mary Center for Gifted Education curriculum which is published by Kendall Hunt Publishing I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I’ll be honest, at first I spent a great deal of time searching their math and science options, because that’s simply the areas I’ve always assumed to be what my son was best at.
But, just out of curiosity I decided to peruse their language arts curriculum as well. It wasn’t long before I narrowed in on The Pursuit of Justice. The first thing I noticed was that this study incorporates some really great literature, like, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, and several others which are listed below.
Knowing that our school year was going to center around American civics, and that this language arts curriculum was going to hinge on reading great literature that focuses on justice, I knew that The Pursuit of Justice would be the perfect companion curriculum for our school year.
How this Language Arts Learning Module Works
The curriculum centers around studying great works of literature as a way for students to explore, understand, and formulate their own opinions and ideals about the principle of justice. The learning module is written in a way that engages the child to think through a variety of situations that require that justice.
In addition to the novels listed below there are several excellent short stories included within the student guide. Plus, suggested materials such as; newspapers articles, extension movies, art, picture books, and more. Having these additional readings allows your child to truly consider a variety of perspectives surrounding a given situation.
They’ll explore the struggles of man vs. nature, civil rights, the role of government in liberty, the realities of poverty and other topics geared to help them to consider what the term justice means.
Through this study students explore vocabulary, grammar, research, poetry and writing. The curriculum explains and encourages the use of the writing process model. Which for homeschooled students who are considering a collegiate future is important for them to fully understand this process.
The teacher guide offers many model options for differentiating the material to fit the learning style and needs of each child. I’m thankful for the detailed lesson plans that help me to know exactly which materials I’ll need for each lesson, how to plan and schedule time to complete the work, and offers suggestions for extensions, independent work and also a guide for how to assess the work.
This study encourages students to consider the perspective of characters in books, but to also consider their own thoughts in relationship to a given situation. Through the reasoning model allows students to consider points of view, both their own and those of the characters involved in the various stories they’ll be reading. They are encouraged to consider the principle of what is right, what is fair, and ultimately what is just.
What I’ve come to discover is that while my son still doesn’t like the writing process, he is a good writer. I really shouldn’t be surprised, he has a great imagination. He simply needed something that challenged his mind and this curriculum does just that.
What You’ll Need for the Language Arts Study
You will need to order the teacher guide. It contains extensive models, and instructions for how to engage your students in the most comprehensive ways. This curriculum is written for middle school gifted learning students, but could easily be used with typical learning high school teens as well. So you could use this for multiple homeschooling students within a year. You’ll need a student guide for each student, but only one teacher guide.
Additionally, you’ll need these required companion novels, which you can purchase directly from Kendall Hunt Publishing or you can source from your local library or bookstore.
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- No Promises In The Wind by Irene Hunt
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals
- The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail by by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Isn’t the best way to learn how to write to read?
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
― William Faulkner
I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me before that if I wanted to inspire my son to want to write that I needed to guide him through exploring, deeply, great literature. Yes, I introduce good literature to him each year, but reading isn’t always enough. Sometimes, you need to dig deep into the text and explore where great literature can lead the heart. That’s what The Pursuit of Justice is offering my son.
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