The kids and I have been using Essentials 2nd Edition (Volume 1) from Logic of English for the past six weeks or so in place of our usual language arts curriculum. When I first opened the box from the company I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of material. However, after spending just a few minutes with the teacher’s guide I was pleased to see the curriculum is clearly laid out and easy to follow. I liked the curriculum so much that I purchased the Rhythm of Handwriting to accompany the curriculum as well as a PDF of the workbook so my other children could participate in the review.
Essentials is an intense and integrated language arts curriculum. It is also multi-level and can be used for several years and with varying age/grade levels at one time. Volume one is meant to be done five days a week for fifteen weeks followed by volume two for the rest of the school year (scheduled to be published in January of 2017). We did the daily schedule for the first three weeks we used the curriculum and afterward I rotated it into our loop schedule. Realistically it would likely take us twenty-five weeks or so to get through the first volume. The teacher’s guide has a helpful article on setting up your schedule. Once we got accustomed to the flow of the curriculum we spent about half an hour on each lesson.
The manual begins with a placement exam and several pre-lessons that review phonograms, phonemic awareness, blending, and handwriting. Essentials begins with Level A at about the second grade level. My crew placed into Level C (the final level) of the program which is about fifth grade. The lessons are scripted and easy to follow in the teacher’s guide. For the most part it is “open and go” but I did find it helpful to prepare the flash cards the night before each lesson which took less than five minutes of my time.
The lessons follow a repeated cycle each week. The first day spelling rules and sounds (phonograms and mouth movements for the sounds) are introduced (or reviewed). On the second day we worked on leveled spelling words in the Spelling Journal and with their Spelling Analysis practice (which includes hand movements!). The following days included more work on the spelling words, grammar, dictation, vocabulary and review of the material sometimes through games. The last day served as a review and assessment of their understanding of the material.
My kids really enjoyed the level C vocabulary work. It was their favorite day with the curriculum. They found learning about the roots of words and their meanings very interesting. Occasionally one of them would point out a related word during our read aloud time. My oldest son referred to these roots as “key words” since they opened up the meanings of many related words.
Some things I love about Logic of English:
- Provides a strong integrated foundation in phonics, spelling, grammar, reading, and vocabulary…no other language arts curriculum needs to be purchased.
- Some of the work is done orally and some in a workbook…so no excessive busy work for busy children.
- Only one workbook is needed for all three levels…your child can use the same workbook through for three years (I would expect there to be another workbook to go with volume two).
- There is a separate reading supplement for those who need the extra help. I have strong readers so I did not request the supplement. A few on the team did get the supplement so check out their reviews if you are interested.
- Consistent review woven throughout the material.
- The lessons are systematic and flow from previous lessons. It may seem slow but it builds up a very strong foundation and understanding.
- Considering all it teachers I thought the lessons were short and met various learning styles.
Overall, I think this curriculum is fantastic. I wish I had used it with my older children all along. My youngest will definitely go through the Logic of English program. He is ready to begin learning to read and I am looking forward to reading the Crew’s reviews of the Logic of English Foundations designed for children ages four through seven.
I’ll be in Cincinnati at the end of the week for the homeschool convention. Betcha I come home with Foundations…