Teaching Grammar and Writing Through Discussion

A Review of Treasured Conversations

Once again I’m taking part in the Virtual Curriculum Fair by bringing you all of my favorite homeschool curriculum resources and ideas. This week I’m excited to share one of my recent favorites as we dive into language arts week. Every once in a while you stumble upon a homeschool curriculum that not only teaches your child, but teaches you how to be a better teacher. Treasured Conversations is such a curriculum.

The Basics

First things first, let me give you the basic facts about this curriculum before I move into my analysis of it. Treasured Conversations was written by a homeschool mom who has been homeschooling for over two decades. She couldn’t find a grammar/writing program that taught those subjects the way she wished {we’ve all been there, right?}, so like any good homeschool mom she did things her own way, and it proved to be successful. Treasured Conversations is the result of the way she taught her own children through talking about words, sentences, paragraphs, and reports. It is designed to be used with children in the third through fifth grade.

Treasured Conversations is divided into three sections. In the first section the focus is grammar and sentences. The second section teaches paragraph construction and outlining. The third section builds on the previous two sections by having children learn to read for information and use that information to write a multiple paragraph report. Currently, the curriculum is only available as a pdf download.

Sample page from the grammar section of the student book.
Why I Love It

It appeals to my Charlotte Mason homeschool self. With the curriculum geared toward 3rd through 5th graders who have little or no previous grammar or writing exposure, it falls right in line with delaying formal grammar study until those ages like Ms. Mason espoused. Each lesson is short and simple using grammar in the context of a story instead of constructed sentences that usually follow a pattern, which causes children to really learn the grammar. Also, the curriculum includes copy work in the first section while studying grammar and sentence structure and you know how much us CM homeschoolers love our copy work!

Sample page from the paragraph writing section of the student book.
 Notice how grammar is continuing to be reviewed!
It appeals to my writer self. I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember and it’s always been a natural strength for me so grammar came pretty easily to me as well, but I struggled with teaching my children grammar because I honestly don’t find it very useful. Treasured Conversations helped me realize how to talk about grammar in the context of being a good writer, choosing strong verbs, specific nouns, and descriptive adjectives and adverbs. It’s difficult to have those conversations with a budding writer if they have no clue what a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc. even is. Plus it helps children understand why they are learning these things as well. The curriculum is constantly referring to knowing grammar so you can put them in your “writer’s toolbox,” which is what learning grammar is all about becoming a better writer. I also love the focus on outlining, note taking, and paragraph construction in the later sections. These are skills that are vital to good writing and that are sometimes difficult to teach.

Sample page from the report writing section in the student book.
It appeals to my teacher self. One of my holdovers from my former life as a public school teacher is that I constantly want to learn how to be a better teacher. Probably my favorite part of Treasured Conversations is how it has helped me able to talk about grammar with my kids. I’m technically using the curriculum with Sophia, but I’ve found myself using the techniques learned there with Grace to talk about her writing and to help teach her more grammar as well by using her own sentences and paragraphs to break down and analyze. We all have a better context for grammar study which has made me more enthusiastic about teaching it just by having a great conversation.

Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with giving this program a try for your upper elementary kids.

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are writing about Playing with Words this week:

Delight Directed High School English by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Act Your Part Well- 2017 VCF by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
The Search For Language by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays
Our Top Picks for Language Arts by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Multiple Approaches to Language Arts in 2017 by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
How We Cover the Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Use Your Words by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
The Art of Perfecting Macarons by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Loving Languages Every Day by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind
Speech Therapy & Elementary Latin by Yvie @ Gypsy Road
The Readin' and Writin' Part of Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Children Who Love Books by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Customizing High School Language Credits by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
A Poetry Feast by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Teaching Language Arts without Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
I know your pain and it is worth it! by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Language Arts: Our Style by Annette @ A Net in Time
Words! Words! Words! by Lisa M @McClanahan 7
10 Wonderful Word Games (+1) by Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Finding the Right Words by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
What About Reading Comprehension? by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

What language arts curriculum do you love?