BRWI
Bringing back the joy of reading & writing
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Homeschool Language Arts Program

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Homeschool Language Arts Program

 NEWSLETTER

Overview

We are starting a new 18-week semester beginning the week of January 23rd.  If you are interested, please register as soon as possible because we have very limited spots.  

After a few pilot programs, we have developed a NEW Homeschool Language Arts Program to give homeschooling children a well-structured, high-quality Literature and Language Arts program to foster in them the joy of reading and writing.  We provide a safe place where homeschooling children can meet other kids who love to learn and respect the learning process.  We have created a Language Arts Program that doesn't compromise on maintaining very high educational standards for our children with the following goals in mind:

  • creating more time for homeschooling parents to focus on other subject matters
  • accommodate the diverse grading and record-keeping needs of homeschooling families:
    • for families that want a grade, we provide a systematic grading system based on a standard rubric to provide an accurate assessment of your child's progress (any grades are completely confidential and never reported unless specifically requested by the parent).  We also provide in-class quizzes and tests.  
    • for families that do not want a grade, we also respect that option and the student can simply participate in the class, assignments and tests without receiving a final grade. 
  • our program is not watered-down, but is aimed at exceeding the standards of the general public school system with a pre-planned weekly syllabus and assigned homework.  Please review the syllabus below.

 The Bridges Homeschool Language Arts Program will consist of:

  • once a week, in-class, whole group instruction taught by a Bridges teacher who introduces, teaches, and reviews concepts and skills
  • assigned, daily homework from a pre-planned weekly syllabus
  • weekly (optional) online office hours for teacher support or assignment clarification
  • in-class quizzes and tests
  • progress reports and grades.

Check out the syllabus!  Our 5th – 6th Grade Homeschooling Program syllabus is based on Pearson Common Core Literature (2015).  Our 4th Grade Homeschooling Program syllabus is comprised of authentic literature-based units and is supplemented with Easy Grammar: Grade 4.


SCHEDULE

The NEW Bridges Homeschool Language Arts Program will start the week of January 23, 2017 through June 2, 2017.  However, a student can join our class at anytime during the year.  

Our students come into a live classroom once a week and also attend, at their option, weekly online office hours with their teacher.

Classes are once a week on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.  We currently have classes for 4th, 5th & 6th graders.  Class sizes are limited to 9 students per teacher.  

4th Grade Class

  • Tuesday from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

5th/6th Grade Class

  • Tuesday from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

CURRICULUM

Our Homeschool Language Arts Program integrates literature and language arts studies, including:

  • Vocabulary
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Literary Analysis
  • Writing
  • Grammar

Vocabulary. Students acquire and activate a rich vocabulary word bank, which includes both academic and selection-specific vocabulary. In addition to studying, learning, and using these new vocabulary words and phrases, emphasis is placed on their relationships and their nuances to help students communicate clearly and effectively.

Reading Comprehension. During our reading time, students read together as a whole group a wide range of high-interest, age-appropriate literature.  Each student is wholly engaged by actively reading with a “pen in hand.” They use multi-draft and close reading strategies to slow the reading process down while practicing the Read, Stop, Think and Write reading method (the “RSTW Reading Method”).  The RSTW Reading Method makes reading complex texts an active task for students. In class, students practice and use this method to form strong written responses to literature. Additionally, they demonstrate comprehension of a story’s core elements by engaging in rich discussions, which activate personal connections to the characters, themes, and the structure of literature. This process continues at home where students move through each reading selection by independently applying the RSTW method to develop deeper insight and content knowledge.

Literary Analysis. Each unit focuses on a specific literary analysis skill (plot, characterization, point of view). Students memorize the key terms related to the unit’s focus skill. Moving beyond basic comprehension, they encounter “digging deeper” interpretative questions designed to develop critical thinking and understanding of the craft and structure of literature. They practice supporting their responses, claims, and conclusions with concrete evidence from the text. Finally, we show students how to explain and justify their reasoning to strengthen their analyses or arguments.  

Writing. Beginning in class and continued at home, students engage in the full writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing).  Each writing assignment is directly correlated to the literature we read. By analyzing exemplars and participating in whole group prewriting strategies (group brainstorming, evidence collection, graphic organizers), students are given a strong foundation to proceed to drafting. Teacher writing conferences, office hours, and rubric-based revisions support each student’s individual development as a writer.

For each of the writing pieces, we focus on the following Six Trait-inspired writing standards:

  • Content/Ideas: Strong content exhibiting deeper thinking; the development of ideas with adequate support and elaborating details
  • Organization: the structure and logic of presented ideas
  • Voice & Word Choice: Powerful and concrete word choice which helps convey tone and overall message
  • Sentence Fluency & Conventions: Application of proper grammar and mechanical correctness

Grammar. We focus on the finer points of grammar and writing mechanics.  We have found that grammar continues to be an area of weakness in many of our students’ writing.  Many students do not confidently understand sentence structure, syntax, and punctuation.  Seemingly simple, grammar actually requires several layers of learning before students begin to correctly apply grammar rules in their writing.  At Bridges Homeschool, we use our 4-step Grammar Method for each grammar point. Students:

Memorize: Use some class time to study and memorize the technical grammar terms.  This will also be assigned as weekly homework
Identify: Find and identify examples of the grammar point in reading samples
Practice: Practice the grammar point through skill drills, worksheets, and practice sentences
Apply: Apply the grammar point in their writing assignments as a targeted writing skill.

Homework. Students receive assigned, daily homework. They are expected to spend about one hour a day on these skill-building assignments though additional time may need to be set aside to study for quizzes, tests, and major writing assignments. The Bridges’ Teacher provides adequate directions, explanation, and (when needed) samples so your child can manage the work independently at home. Homework is collected each week, and the teacher selects one component (unknown to students) to grade using the following scale:

Check minus = incomplete, exhibits poor/lazy work habits, fails to follow required standards

Check = complete, does not consistently follow required standards

Check plus = complete, high-quality, follows required standards

Grading. Grades are determined based on homework quality and completion, in-class participation, performance on in-class quizzes and tests, and writing assignments evaluated based on Six Traits rubrics.

10% Homework

15% In-class Participation

20% Quizzes

25% Tests

30% Writing Assignments

For families that do not want a grade, we also respect that option and the student can simply participate in the class, assignments and tests without receiving a final grade.

Required Materials.  

  • 5th to 6th Grade Class
    • Pearson Common Core Literature Grade 6 (Hardcover – 2015) by Kelly Gallagher, Elfrieda "Freddy" Hiebert Ph.D., Donald J. Leu P Diane Fettrow
    • Pearson Literature Student Companion All-in-One Workbook Grade 6 (2013) by Pearson
    • Pearson Literature Close Reading Notebook Grade 6 (2013) by Pearson -- TBD
  • 4th Grade Class
    • Number the Stars (by Lois Lowry)
    • Easy Grammar Grade 4 Student Workbook (Product #475) -- TBD


Fees, Information & Policies

1.  How much does it cost? $90 per week.  Students come to class once a week for 2 1/2 hours.

2.  When are the classes? Classes are from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.  We currently offer classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  To check availability, please check the registration page.

3.  What do I need to pay when I register?  To register, you will need to pay a one-time registration fee of $25 on Eventbrite.  Upon registration, you will also be charged the registration deposit for the first 4 weekly sessions of $360 (or $320 if a sibling discount applies). The registration deposit will be applied to the first 4 sessions.  This amount is non-refundable. Please note that if you start sessions in the middle of our 4-week billing cycle, your first invoice will be reduced by any credit from your registration deposit.

4.  What are the terms of service? When you register you must agree to our Instructional Agreement.  Please review it carefully.

5.  How do I pay for the fees?  Our billing cycle is every 4 sessions.  Every 4-session period, we will automatically bill your credit card for the next 4 sessions.  You will not be billed for any holiday weeks.

6.  Do I have to pay by credit card?  Yes, and we do require a credit card to be kept on file for automatic billing.  The online credit card form is secured by SSL protocol and data encryption through Formstack.

7.  Do you offer sibling discounts?  Yes. For students with siblings in our program, the weekly rate is $80 for the additional sibling.  For example, if there are 2 children from one family, one child will be at $90 per week and the sibling will be at the reduced rate of $80 per week.

8.  What is the class size?  The teacher to students ratio is generally 1:9.  However, some classes could be larger.

9.  How do I get on the waitlist if the class is full?  To be put on a waitlist for any of our classes, please submit an online waitlist request and provide the requested information.  During the beginning of the academic year, we are always adding new classes so please submit a waitlist request.  We will pull students off the waitlist first when we open new classes.

10.  Is there a minimum contract period?  There is no minimum contract period.  We do not obligate you to any long term contract, but you must give 30 days prior written notice to withdraw from classes.

11.  What is your absence policy? There are NO REFUNDS  for absences.  However, you may email us at info@brwi.org to request a make-up class for another day during the same week. Make-up classes are not guaranteed and are subject to availability.

12.  What if I am late to pickup my child?  As stated in our Instructional Agreement, if the student in not picked up within 15 minutes after the end of class, there will be a $25 fee for each occurrence.

13.  Can my child bring a snack to Bridges?  In consideration of some of our students that have severe food allergies that could be life-threatening, we have a strict policy of limiting the type of snacks that your child may bring to Bridges.  Here is a list of approved snacks. All other snacks are strictly prohibited. Please do not give your child any snacks to bring to Bridges that are not on this list.  This list is periodically updated.

14.  Do you require an assessment prior to registration?  No, an assessment is not required prior to registration.  It is only necessary for students with reading & writing skills significantly below grade level.

If you have any questions, please submit a message by clicking on Questions below.  We will respond within 48 hours.