Vocabulary Curriculum

When does everyone begin vocabulary curriculum with their child? I have a soon to be 4th grader and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for vocabulary and which level to begin her on.
And is vocabulary an essential piece of curriculum? Thanks!

We have used English From the Roots Up and Michael Clay Thompson’s vocabulary books. My kids prefer the latter but really enjoyed both. I think vocabulary is important, but I will say the vast majority of my kids’ extensive vocabularies is from reading, whether it be me reading aloud to them or them reading to themselves. I read a lot to them and they are very big readers. That’s one reason I’ve focused on vocabulary programs that teach Greek and Latin roots, rather than traditional vocabulary words. Doing it this way helps them dissect the words they read or hear. I hope this helps!


We began vocabulary in 2nd grade. I’ve used both Vocabulary Workshop and Wordly Wise. While I do think vocabulary is important to focus on, I find these programs to be primarily busy work. We read a lot, so I feel that most of their vocabulary comes simply from reading. I’ve been considering starting one of the programs that focuses on Latin root words, so the kids can learn to break apart words and figure out what they mean. I know there is a lot of good to be said of learning Latin if students choose to go into fields like science and law. As my kids are so young, I have no idea what their field of study will be in the future, but I figure learning the Latin roots can’t hurt.


I concur with your assessment @triton17 . :slight_smile: We have used both Vocabulary Workshop and Wordly Wise, and my kids didn’t like either of them. As you stated, lots of busy work, and it didn’t seem like they retained the words either!

@ashimmel - 2nd grade is when I begin a more formal vocabulary program as well.

Next year my son and daughter are going to be in 4th and 6th grades, and we are going to try Marie’s Words. A set of vocabulary cards that use visuals to help them remember the definitions. We’ll see how it goes! Hope this helps, and best wishes. :slight_smile:

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We used Wordly Wise last year and it was mediocre at best. We are switching to IEW Fix It grammar this year for grammar and vocabulary combined. My kids seem to retain more when I just have them ask me the meaning of words anytime they don’t understand one.

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I used English from the Roots Up & made up my own worksheets & quizzes. I used Greek in 4th & the Latin in 5th Grade. This year my son is in 6th Grade & we are using the Minimus Mouse curriculum (Latin). It’s kind of pricey but my son really likes it. I found info about in on Cathy Duffy’s Reviews.

I’ve had trouble finding a vocabulary program that we like and that works, as well. Next year, I’m going to try Wordly Wise 3000 online. If you subscribe through the Homeschool Buyers’ Co-op, you get a discount. I’m hoping that the audio, interactive style will help the words stick.

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I never used a formal curriculum. I read aloud to my kids (including throughout high school), we discussed new words or phrases and their meanings, we used our full vocabulary with our children (we would restate a word if we thought they might not know it’s meaning), they read, and we challenged them to see how many times in a day they could use a new word we discussed. We used All About Spelling, and level 7 of their program includes basic Greek and Latin roots. The only thing I would have added to our studies would be to continue focusing on roots–but we ended up with other priorities in high school, and their vocabulary always tested off the charts high when we did standardized tests. So, we focused on other things that needed our time and attention instead.

Here’s an article on Building Your Child’s Vocabulary, which you might find helpful.

HTH some!

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Thank you all for your help! I appreciate everyone’s input.