Homeschool Spelling, Grammar & Vocabulary Curriculum
I know, spelling, grammar and vocabulary can be a dry and dull subject to tackle. Fret no more! Logic of English Essentials succeeds in making the study of the English language an interesting, and even a fun one! With Logic of English, the choice for a homeschool spelling curriculum is, well, logic!
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What We Received
We received an incredibly generous package of Essentials 2nd Edition from Logic of English for free, in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. The complete set of “Essentials Semester 1” included a wide assortment of teaching materials, all valued at $220 ($198 discounted):
- Essentials Teacher’s Guide, Volume 1
- Essentials Student Workbook, Volume 1 (student consumable)
- Spelling Journal (student consumable)
- Morpheme Cards, Set 1
- Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
- Spelling Rule Flash Cards
- Grammar Flash Cards
- Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards
- Phonogram Game Cards: Bookface
- Phonogram Game Cards: Manuscript or Cursive
- Phonogram Game Tiles
- Spelling Analysis Card
- Phonogram and Spelling Rule Quick Reference
What to Expect
My first impression was amazement at the sheer number of materials we received. The teacher’s manual alone, is bound to make you feel overwhelmed, at first, and relieved after reading its introductory sections. This is a solid, heavy, hardcover. Extensive, over 600 pages, and gorgeous to look at its polished layout, and even to feel its silky pages. It contains all that you need to teach English comfortably, and to even learn yourself, alongside your child. I should talk, English is not my native language, and though I’ve always considered myself a natural speller, I’m now learning all its mysteries. It turns out, no mysteries are involved, only logic! Who would have thought English spelling was logical? I certainly hand’t.
The reason for the Teacher’s Guide’s bulk is that it incorporates 3 levels of instruction (A, B, and C) ideal for multiple children. So if you have a large family, this program would accommodate you perfectly. Or if you have a small one, it, too would accommodate you. Heck, I have only one child and it’s working out beautifully. So, you go over the lesson’s theory together with all the children, then each child would do his corresponding level simultaneously. You would need the student workbook and the spelling journal for each child. Aside from that, I believe all the didactic materials can be shared. Talk about efficiency!
Furthermore, once the child finishes a level, she can then study the following level for a semester’s worth of instruction again. Again, I believe she can use the same workbook and journal. She’d use the corresponding level now, and even if a particular page has been written already, she could just use her notebook.
The actual instruction is divided in days as follows:
- 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 initially tried to follow this very closely, but I found Day 1, Essential Concepts, in particular, was taking way too l.o.n.g! Perhaps more so at the beginning for we encountered a bit of a learning curve. Nevertheless, these guidelines are only to help steer you the right way. Denise Eide, the author, encourages you to see these as a flexibility guide. Even with the levels themselves. She provides a placement test to begin the course, but points out the level for a child needs not be fixed throughout: Use and amend as you go along to fit the learning pace of your child.
How Do We Use Essentials?
We’ve been using Essentials about 3 to 5 times a week during the last month and a half. I’m pleased to say “I’m loving it!” Most importantly, Super Hero’s loving it, never mind about me! Though, I believe a curriculum needs to fit both, the parent and the child, to be successful.
The mammoth Teacher’s Guide has everything one can possibly need, and then some. If you know how to read, then you’re all set to impart an enlightening and pleasurable lesson. All you have to do is follow the Teacher’s Guide, and have all the add-ons handy to use as needed. The instruction is top-notch, Ms Denise Eide even supplements the lessons with free videos available in YouTube or the website. Having such proficient (she wrote the book about it, literally!) native English speaker, imparting or extending the lesson is a real bonus for me. I so appreciate having these videos available.
Aside from the videos, the website resources section proffers an outstanding assortment of handy supplements: Handwriting paper printables, spelling lists, phonogram charts, word wall templates are all available for free.
What’s Our Opinion?
I’m utterly impressed with Logic of English. The quality of the materials, the carefully constructed lessons, the inclusion of the didactic enhancements: flashcards, tile cards, videos, and most importantly for us, the games, all woven in at the right times. I can’t even begin to imagine how many hours of thoughtful dedication Ms. Denise Eide has devoted to developing this top-notch English program.
This curriculum has shifted Super Hero’s attitude toward language arts completely. He knew he needed to hone his Spelling skills, and though he was making an effort to learn, he wasn’t all that engaged. He now looks forward to his Essentials lessons, especially if there’s a game. Imagine that! A 10 year-old excited about spelling and grammar? Yes, he sure is. I attribute most of his enthusiasm for this curriculum to the games, even though they come once a week. Since he likes games so much, I sneak in a game, or two, throughout the week. I repeat one or make up something very simple myself. I guess this curriculum lends itself to that kind of sneaking 😉
One thing that we found a must to modify was the length of lesson 1 in particular. The lesson is thorough and excellent, but we found it extremely l-o-n-g! We were burning out. Since then, we just break the lesson in half or 3/4, or at any point in which we’re starting to feel the need of a break. And aside from the very first week of our Logic of English acquaintance, we aren’t keeping the 5 day a week program. With co-ops and our many outside activities, it’s nearly impossible to study anything 5 days in a row. Fortunately, 3 to 4 days a week works out well for us. So there, Essentials is quite flexible! Don’t you just love that in any curriculum?
The fact that the Teacher’s Manual includes 3 different levels of instruction, is a definite keeper. At this point, I really can’t imagine a reason to drop Essentials from our delightful learning. Oh and by the way, while surfing Logic of English website, I discovered Essentials Volume 2 of the second edition is due on January 2017. It’s reassuring to know that. I feel that in between the 2 volumes of Essentials there’s more than plenty of the finest instruction to master the
mysteries logic of English!
Super Hero rated the curriculum as usual. He gave 5 stars to all items, and I agree, except on Open and Go! Though Essentials is open and go now, it did require some learning curve as mentioned earlier. Not only getting familiarized with all the methodologies during the first few days, but also before we even started. There’s a meaty “Before You Begin” section in the Teacher’s Guide, that will be responsible for soothing any feelings of overwhelm you might have in the beginning. It’s a must read –and do!
If You’re Interested
I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was i compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.