It has been a delight to get to review:
With six children, each with different learning styles and learning issues, it’s encouraging to find something that will help me quickly assess where my student is, and how to help him progress. Spelling for two of my students has been a challenge, ranging from “near impossible” to “behind, but I see some hope that he can progress.” What I love about Logic of English is that right out of the box it helped me to identify my son’s strength and weaknesses. There are several components to language: reading, spelling, understanding and decoding phonograms (reading, blending and combining them), comprehension, letter formation and more.
David is very strong in some of these areas, and struggles with others. The curriculum began with a comprehensive placement test. This test in total took less than 30 minutes. And it immediately showed me where to start in the book. For the average learner, you would start at the beginning of the curriculum and move right through, but for other learners, there is a plan: special lessons called pre-lessons that you complete prior to the official beginning. We are using some of those for him.
This is a comprehensive curriculum, and frankly, with my oldest daughter and some of my subsequent children I would have believed this program to be overkill. That is not the case anymore. I wish I had started with this when my 2nd daughter started to really struggle. I believe it could have helped her.
It uses a comprehensive phonogram system of learning which I have recently come to respect more and more. I took a class this summer to try to learn to use phonograms combined with writing to teach comprehensively and systematically and I now understand the hows and whys of how the brain works to learn. The problem I had at home was that I had no step-by-step system to make it happen. I could teach phonograms, yes, but the daily decisions were overwhelming.
This text gives me detailed daily instructions for each day. I need this. I love that it has options A, B and C- you choose base on the level your child needs. Additionally, it means that you use the same book over several years, adjusting the levels as appropriate. Also, some parts of the lessons are done by ALL students, so that is you are teaching multiple levels at once, you can move forward together through the lesson, then just adjust part of the lesson as needed. This is something I love in curriculum as I have often adjusted curriculum on my own to combine more than one grade. This one is already designed with that express purpose in mind.
Pictured above is David taking the pre-test for reading. We were actually doing this sitting in a hospital waiting room. The only drawback what that book is BIG and super-heavy. David kept trying to leave it behind so he would not have to carry it in his backpack.
This essentials curriculum comes with so many parts to help make it completely comprehensive. For starters, the detailed teacher and student books. Then, there are phonogram cards – flash type cards with lots of helpful information on each card. There are also advanced cards for combining, rule cards for learning spelling rules, and game cards included for playing games to reinforce the lessons. Since all my children love games of all sorts, this will be fun. There are also some tools, such as a ‘cheat sheet’ for moms with all the rules combined on one heavy duty sheet for quick reference. This will be huge help once all the phonograms are learned and we just need to review something quickly.
Once you are past the pre-lesson stage, here is how each week progresses (taken directly from the publisher website):
Each lesson is divided into five days to make it easy to teach one lesson per week. Pacing is flexible and can be customized for your student, but each volume—15 lessons—is designed to take approximately one semester to complete. Group days together or spread a section across multiple days to suit your students and setting.
The five parts are structured as follows. Phonogram practice, spelling practice, and games are interspersed throughout.
- Day 1: Essential Concepts. Phonograms, Exploring Sounds, Spelling Rules.
- Day 2: Building Words. Spelling Journal, Spelling Analysis (using spelling list A, B, or C).
- Day 3: Words in Context. Spelling Game, Grammar, Dictation.
- Day 4: Words in Action. Vocabulary, Dictation, Composition. Optional: Essentials Reader.
- Day 5: Check Your Understanding. Formative assessment.
I am thrilled with this curriculum and look forward to continue working with it as David progresses, and to use it for Daniel and Rebecca as well once they reach this stage.