Logic of English Foundations

Raisin and I are only done with a little more than 40 of the lessons for the Kindergarten language arts program Logic of English Foundations. However, he enjoys it so much that I feel it is time I discussed it briefly on this blog.

LoE Foundations is an “all in one” language arts for 4-6 year old homeschool teachers or classroom teachers. Beginning with phonics, Foundations teaches children to read, to write (both a manuscript and a cursive instructional workbook are available for the handwriting instruction), and to grasp the basics of spelling. So far, I have not encountered any grammatical instruction or lessons on the mechanics of writing but neither of those are typically included in a kindergarten level program, I don’t believe. The program is to have about 180 lessons. After the first 40, students have learned how to write the 26 lowercase letters of the alphabet and can successfully read a large number of words by sounding out the phonograms.Continue Reading

Living Books for History: Early America

We have been “officially” doing unofficial kindergarten at home for a little over a month now. I’ve been teaching Raisin at home for much longer, of course, but I had to call it official at some point.1 I decided we would learn about American History this year, and I feel it’s definitely time to report on some of the wonderful books I’ve discovered in this year’s journey.Continue Reading

  1. I am not legally required to track his schooling in my state until he is 7 years old.

(Homeschooling Minute) Grammar-Land by M.L. Nesbitt

Grammar has a reputation of being dull and dry, but a turn-of-the-century classic, Grammar-Land by M.L. Nesbitt (first published 1878), attempts to make it fun by turning learning the parts of speech into a game.

In the imaginary world of Grammar-Land, the parts of speech have been arguing about which of them is most important. They must come before Judge Grammar and explain themselves. The book is written with the “children of Schoolroom-shire” as the intended audience, and as each part of speech comes before the judge, he asks the children for help in understanding the parts of speech.

Because I love studying grammar, I think it goes without saying that I loved this book! I found it to be a delightful introduction for kids. The parts of speech have distinct and memorable personalities. I think my favorite was Little Article.

Admittedly, the plot is not a fascinating adventure. There is no disguising the fact that this book is teaching something. But, compared to other options, I think sitting and reading about Grammar-Land is an ideal way for my son to first be exposed to the parts of speech. With the worksheets that other homeschool parents have made (here and here), I see Grammar-Land as a delightful beginning grammar “curriculum” for my young son.  Best of all, Grammar-land is available for free at Google Books. I’ll come back here and report when Raisin and I have read it together.

(Homeschooling Minute) Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide

I decided to start my son on a formal spelling program this year (his K4 year). Although Raisin is quite young, he is constantly asking me “how do I spell _____?” so he can write notes or type on the computer (I opened a private blog for him to post his pictures and thoughts). He loves the power of words, and since he’s reading at a third- or fourth- grade level now, he naturally wants to progress to writing his own thoughts down.

For his spelling “curriculum,” I decided to go for the multiple interactions that come from All About Spelling. This relies on learning the phonograms of English with physical magnetic tiles to manipulate and flash cards with which to practice. Because handwriting is so very difficult for him (he is deadly slow in writing his letters, but he forms them correctly), I decided to dispense with the handwriting component. So far, he’s progressing well, and we practice a few words a day, spelling with the tiles. He also sometimes spells things to me orally, or he takes a “quiz” on a spelling app I downloaded to my tablet. In general, it’s working very well for him.

All that said, the curriculum I spied that I really wanted for its prettiness factor was The Logic of English, a program that presents the main rules of spelling quickly and thereby arms people with the ability to spell just about anything. The curriculum is new and is currently geared for older kids who need a crash course in spelling (although levels for younger kids are coming in the future). I did not feel it would be a good fit for my son (and the price was not right) but I did manage to snag a copy of the book that started Ms Denise Eide’s homeschool curriculum: Uncovering the Logic of English.

Although Uncovering the Logic of English is a slim book, Ms Eide manages to convince me that I too can learn to spell. I don’t have many memories of spelling tests in school, but I have always felt like spelling is one of those annoyingly random things about English. Spelling is one of the reasons I always prefer typing something to hand writing it: where would I be without spell check?

In less than 200 pages, Ms Eide discusses the building blocks of words (consonants, vowels, and syllables) as well as the basic rules over each of those. The other rules (silent e, suffixes, plurals, etc.) all seem so easy and so practical. I’ve found myself noticing the words I type and read more carefully. Continue Reading