BookShark | Structured 4-day homeschool for flexible families

BookShark Language Arts 

Natural and Effective

When your children were young, they learned language naturally by being exposed to it and mimicking what they heard adults say. In the same way, children learn to write by learning from good models of writing and trying out those models for themselves. We call this the natural approach to Language Arts.

BookShark’s Method for Teaching Language Arts 

BookShark’s Language Arts programs flow from this principle. Each program guides your children through well-paced language activities based on the Readers they’re already enjoying.

As your children grow, the curriculum guides them through writing their first sentences, then simple paragraphs and stories, until they’re eventually writing scholarly compositions in upper grades.

image credit @mrsbishop.livinthedream


The ultimate goal of language arts (and possibly the most intimidating thing to teach) is writing. BookShark’s Language Arts curriculum is designed to develop excellent writers through a gentle but effective natural approach.

“Workbooks don’t really teach children how to write effectively,” says Dr. Ruth Beechick, homeschool expert.

Instead, students best learn to write well as they do these things:

  • Listen to good writing,
  • Look at good writing,
  • Copy good writing , and
  • Then, finally, write on their own!

“Benjamin Franklin taught himself to write this way,” explains Dr. Beechick. He outlined essays he admired, put them aside for a few days, and later tried an original article by following his outline. “He compared his writing with the model to see where he fell short. Then he tried another, improving his writing all the while.”

Workbooks don’t really teach children how to write effectively.

Ruth Beechick

With BookShark’s Language Arts, your students will practice natural learning exercises like these, learning to write naturally—from excellent models. And practice is the key …

Students write a little every day. Writing lessons come from the books your children read throughout the year. As a result, they remember and comprehend more and more. Their creative writing lessons apply Dr. Beechick’s natural method:

  • Students practice copywork and dictation to absorb critical writing skills from the masters.
  • They learn writing mechanics—from similes to diction to organization—as they build on

    each day’s practice.

  • They explore creative writing with tools like zany story-starter pictures and journals.

  • They also write about what they learn in history, science, and literature.

the progression of BookShark
language arts programs

  • Language Arts K ages 5–7

  • Language Arts 1 ages 6–8

  • Language Arts 2 ages 7–9

  • Language Arts 3 ages 7–10
  • Language Arts 4 ages 8-11

  • Language Arts D ages 8-13

  • Language Arts E ages 9-12

  • Classical Literature & Language Arts I

    ages 13-15

  • Classical Literature & Language Arts J

    ages 14-16

BookShark Language Arts
  • levels K-D
  • levels E-H

  • Levels I & J

In Language Arts E–H, young writers learn to do research, draft a wide variety of papers, and edit their work. Writing assignments range from personal letters and stories to advertisements and news items. In every assignment, you’ll find plenty of examples to follow from the books your students read. These are the models your children learn to emulate. In time, they grow from these examples move from basic writing to analysis.

A Comprehensive and Natural Language Arts Curriculum for Homeschoolers

The natural method used in BookShark Language Arts programs is simple and effective, building step by step so children consistently grow in English proficiency.

Besides writing composition, BookShark Language Arts is a comprehensive curriculum covering the full scope of all things related to English: spelling, vocabulary, grammar, handwriting, reading, and copywork.



BookShark introduces key grammar gems about once a week on a specific concept that ties into the week’s copywork/dictation passage. We also recommend using Grammar Ace for one year (or at your own pace) between Levels E and H. We schedule this optional series in the Language Arts E Guide.



We recommend and offer Handwriting Without Tears for your handwriting program and schedule it for your convenience in Levels K-D.



Our Vocabulary development program is based on and ties into the History Read-Alouds. You will find all the words and instructions for Vocabulary development in the History Instructor’s Guide. If you’d like more practice, we recommend the Wordly Wise program. We schedule this optional workbook in our LA Guides starting with Level 2 through 100.


Spelling & Phonics

Spelling and Phonics instruction is included in the LA Guides for Levels K-4. Starting in Level D we recommend using Spelling You See (included in All-Subject Packages). If you want more instruction in phonics, we included schedules for optional workbooks like Explode The Code and MCP Phonics in Levels K through 4.



We include the schedule, notes, and discussion questions for K-4 in the Language Arts Guide and History Guides. This enables you to customize packages for Levels K-4 for those students who may be reading at a different level, or to teach multiple students together. Starting with Level D and up you will find the schedule, notes and discussion questions in the History Guide because they coordinate with and reinforce the content your students are learning about history.



Weekly copywork passages in Levels K-4 prepare children to listen to, read, and copy good writing while familiarizing them with basic technical skill and style. Copywork builds the foundation for dictation in Levels D and E.


Creative Writing Instruction

Our step-by-step direction encourages exploration, sets children free to develop their creative side, and helps them become superb written communicators. We schedule writing every day — from copywork, brainstorming notes, and silly poems to research paper —in all levels. (For the lower levels you will likely be your child’s scribe).

Best of all? Kids love our readers! Even reluctant readers are typically won over by the books.


"Gunnar absolutely loves the readers in our new BookShark curriculum. He finished up his first one two days earlier than scheduled and asked to start reading the next one first thing this morning."

Ashley Burge 

BookShark is ...


structured curriculum for flexible families.

Like you!

Language Arts Placement for ages 5-7 

All BookShark programs are offered as levels as opposed to grades. Though we offer recommended age ranges with a span of three years for Language Arts and Readers, it is important to place your student based on their current skill level. This is especially important for new students ages 5 to 7 (outlined with brief descriptions below) where skill sets vary more than that of students ages 8 and up (listed separately below).

One of the goals of our program is to instill a love of reading in your student, so it is important that they enjoy the many stories that they read over their BookShark years instead of being pressured into a program that is beyond their current reading ability.

Click to reveal more about each program.

Language Arts K ages 5–7

Language Arts 1 ages 6–8

Language Arts 2 ages 7–9 

Language Arts 3 ages 7–10

Language Arts 4 8-11

Use this assessment to place your child ages 5-7 in the best fitting program among the choices above. Again, remember that the goal is to have your student enjoy the stories, so aiming high may work against you.

If your student is sounding out the words on the assessment but wouldn’t have the ability to read them fluently in a story, we recommend you place them in a lower level. With the amount of reading you are going to do with BookShark through Readers, Read-Alouds and resource books (roughly 50 books per year if you do both History and Science), your student’s vocabulary and reading skills will not suffer if you place at, or even below, your student’s reading level.

In addition to the Reading assessment, we encourage you to look at sample excerpts from each level. You will find them on the assessment page directly below the Reading Assessment chart. These excerpts are taken directly from Readers within each level.

If you would like additional assistance with reading placement, please call us at 866-668-0179.

Language Arts options for ages 8 and up 

Click to reveal more about each program. 

Language Arts D ages 8-11

Language Arts E ages 9-12

Language Arts F ages 10-13

Language Arts G ages 11-13

Language Arts H ages 12-14

American Historical Literature & Language Arts I ages 13-15

Classical Literature & Language Arts J ages 14-16

What You Get in a Language Arts Instructor’s Guide
Your Language Arts Instructor’s Guide includes everything you need to teach writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and reading with confidence! See samples here.
BookShark Language Arts Instructor's Guide

1. Complete, ready-to-use lesson plans

The IG includes a 36-week, 4-day schedule with notes and activity sheets to make your homeschool experience as easy as possible. We have carefully organized the materials to help you and your children get the most out of the subjects covered.

2. Weekly overviews

Weekly overviews summarize the lessons, skills, and activities for each week and let you know about materials you may need to prepare in advance for your lesson.

BookShark binder

3. Detailed Teaching Notes

Lesson Scripting boosts your confidence, giving you suggested wording to use as you teach.

4. Interactive Activity Sheets  

Students complete assignments with the consumable Activity Sheets that follow each week’s notes. The Weekly Notes show the answers and suggested responses for Creative Writing assignments. The Activity Sheets are customized for each lesson to emphasize important points in fun ways and can be filed in a separate binder for your student’s use.

5. Rubrics
Creative Writing lessons include tips on How to Evaluate assignments and include a checklist to help you track your children’s progress. Rubrics can also be used before and during an assignment to to give your child an outline of expectations. 

BookShark Virtual Language Arts Mentor Program (LAMP) logo

BookShark LAMP provides students who enroll in a BookShark Virtual Language Arts course with a professional teacher to mentor them through their writing assignments, providing feedback and grading. 

BookShark Virtual Language Arts Mentor Program (LAMP)

Need Help Choosing?

Email or call 1-866-668-0179.

We are available Mon. - Thurs.  9:00am - 4:00pm MT and Friday 9:00am - 1:00pm MT.

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