Monday, February 15, 2016

Logic of English - 2nd Edition!

I've had the chance, for the past couple of months, to go through a new edition of Logic of English's Essentials program that has just come out.  I was contacted by the company and asked if I'd be interested in trying it out in exchange for my review.  I am, as you may know, a curriculum junkie.  So of course I said yes!  A couple of years back we had the chance to try out the first edition of the program, you can find my review of that here.

When I tried the Logic of English program a few years back I found it to be very solid and well thought out.  However, it ended up being too time intensive for me because the kids were all at different places in the program.  With three kids to manage we've bounced through many programs since then.  My philosophy is that the very best curriculum resources are the one that you can actually find the time to do consistently!  All about Spelling, Wordly Wise, Vocab Smarts, Hake Grammar, Growing with Grammar, Soaring with Spelling, the Spelling Zoo... and I could keep going.  There are so many programs out there to cover language arts.  We have tried many of them.  It can be hard to find the right fit!

I was intrigued when I heard that the new version of Logic of English makes it easier to teach to different levels at the same time, and that the lessons are now scripted out at a daily instead of just a weekly level.  I tend to prefer (heavily favor!) programs that are very scripted for the parent - it makes the likelihood of them getting done that much the greater.  I've had the chance to work with and look through this new edition, and I do think that it is MUCH better with regards to information on pacing and structure for the parent.  It does a great job of holding your hand and giving you a framework if you want one.

The first version featured one impressively sized teacher's manual and the new version features two volumes (that are both larger than the original.... !)  The new version also has a more comprehensive coverage of vocabulary and a new level.  You can use it for all of your language arts needs covering grades 1-7.  The spine of the program is this impressively sized teacher's manual.  It also serves as a great language reference that deserves a spot on your bookshelf next to a great big dictionary.

It is a bit intimidating to get started with but it's a very solid program if you have the time to put into understanding it.  There is definitely a learning curve on the front side but once you get the hang of it it is mostly smooth easy sailing.  The Logic of English is a phonetics based approach to reading, writing, and spelling.  This is, in my opinion, the best way to learn.  I could be biased because it's how I was taught and how my kids were taught but I'm pretty sure the research backs this statement up too!

What I like:

Each lesson has a main portion that you can do with your students that are at different levels.  Then there are different pieces that "break out" for each level.

You could use this as a summer review course for a child at level C - it probably wouldn't take more than 3-4 months, and it packs a lot of solid information in it so you can ensure your child has a great foundation in language arts.

The amount of writing is reasonable.  Some kids don't love to do tons of handwriting, and programs that require that can be an immediate turn off to them.

The focus on spelling.  The material moves at a nice clip (I'd say it is better for grades 3 and up), and covers all of the rules of spelling.

I think the spelling workbook that the kids fill out, as they go through the program, is a great tool.  The book is divided out into areas:

The child fills it out as they go through the program and learn how to apply different rules.

The program is mostly open and go.  If you have a whiteboard and purchased the flashcards you can be up and running in short order.

The app that goes with the program.  Visually appealing and easy to use, it is a great review tool for phonogram sounds.  Available for i based systems and android.

The use of dictation.  I think dictation is a great skill for kids to learn and I appreciate that this program comes with dictation already incorporated.

The AWESOME phonogram and spelling rule quick guide.  It is a laminated 3 page spread that is a great reference tool.  I love these kind of things.  If you buy nothing else, this one is awesome to keep on the school room shelf for the kids.

The student workbook, although very big, includes all three levels in one book.  Your child can hang on to it/use it as they work their way through the program three times.  Even at level C it is not an intimidating book for kids.  Nice white space, font size, and not way too much on a page to intimidate:

Other notes:

Daily lessons are needed with this program, and it is teacher intensive.  It will require around 30-45 minutes of your time on a daily basis.  It seems, however, that with subjects like spelling and grammar repetition and drill is the key to long term success.  There's just no getting around that!

The company's website has an excellent overview of the program, that gives you a great look at exactly how the manual is written.  You can check out a peek inside the book here.  Speaking of the website, it has helpful freebie gems all over it.  Handwriting sheets, spelling lists, video lessons, and more.  If you are the type (like me) who likes to over research before buying - this is definitely a website that will let you do that.

You can buy the components of the program separately but if you are fairly certain you're going to love it you will get a discount by selecting one of their packages.  The program is meant to be used three times if you start with a child at level A.  You can go through it at Level A, then again with Levels B and Levels C.  When you consider that fact the price becomes more reasonable.  I know, from experience, that you can easily spend more than that when searching out separate components to build your own perfect language arts program.

If your children aren't ready for the "meat" of the essentials program, the Logic of English group also produces a program for younger children called Foundations.  The lessons are shorter and more colorful, and better suited to the younger age bracket.

In summary?  The Logic of English program is a solid approach to the language arts that uses a phonics based system and can cover all your language arts.  

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