I have always combined Charlotte Mason (CM) and Classical together. It has always been a good fit for us. Last year we drifted from that due to life being crazy and I am so looking forward to getting back on track.
For reading, I have used Ruth Beechick's 3R's. Introducing sounds from the beginning while reading and slowly putting two sounds together etc. Journey did so well. We used copy work and dictation. I never used a "curriculum" with her for language except Explode the Code. We used First Language Lessons as a gentle intro to grammar. She did not do her first year of formal grammar till last year where we used R&S grade 4 grammar. This year (grade 5) is our first year to do any formal writing. Up till now it has been read, read and more reading. We are using Writing tales 2. I love how it takes a fairy tale and teaches the grammar and structure of writing and in the end she will rewrite it in her own words. We are really enjoying ourselves so far.
I love the gentle approach of CM and teaching reading from living books but I quickly discovered that a linear concrete thinker like my son Isaac needed more structure. There truly is no one way to teach every child. There are principles to create the framework but each one is so different. We tried SO many different things....Ruth Beechick, Living Books, Phonics Pathways, Explode the Code and others. What finally worked for us has been All About Spelling (AAS) and these readers by Nora Gaydos. I do know he was picking up things as we used each of those different resources but AAS just clicked for him. He can move when he does it, there are individual tiles and cards to show we are moving onto to the next thing. This boy who was struggling to read can now tell you all the sounds of all the vowels and Y has four sounds alone for goodness sake. He read four little books yesterday on his own with no prompting or bribes. Confession 101....in order to get him to read I had to give a marshmallow for each sentence. Can ya tell I was desperate. :o). And to add I was fine with him being a later reader but AAS just turned the lights on for him. He even has begun to tolerate copywork and dictation now. Which was a huge no-no before. I still don't understand why they call it a spelling program. I plan to use it with Eli when the time comes, I like it that much!
Isaac also loves the Nora Gaydos readers. They are funny and the graphics are so great. Very boy friendly unlike some young readers. They have incentive stickers which he loves. His goal is to but his name, date and a sticker in every one of those books indicating he has read it.
We are using Handwriting Without Tears for both Journey and Isaac. She is doing cursive and he is doing printing. Once again simple copy work was too overwhelming for him. He needed the little stories and rhymes and creative ways of viewing the letters. Isaac has developed sound effects for many of his letters. It totally helps him remember where to start and what direction to go. Our favorite is stinky "m'. If you have space in the middle of your lowercase "m" then it turns into stinky trash. Nobody likes stinky trash. His "m" don't stink! My other favorite is how lower case K says "hye-yah" like a karate kick. There is never a doubt when he is writing a "k" Great stuff! I never thought I would use curriculum for this but really our true job as mom/teachers is not the method but getting through to our kids and opening the world of learning however that happens.
Isaac has gone back to one page of Explode The Code a day to learn the skill of independent work. And we have slowly started First Language lessons this year too.
One other resource I want to share is called Reading Eggs. It is an online reading program that has worked wonders for Isaac. It is completely independent which is good for him and it just builds little by little with rewards built in. Isaac is very visual and it has been a means to use that gift to our advantage. I was one who said I would never use the computer to teach reading....eating crow here!
We will be reading and reading aloud all year. We are reading The Year of Miss Agnes right now and will move on to this series after that. You can get the first book in the series for free by going to Inheritance Publications and scrolling down the page.
That wraps up LA in our house this year.