Friday, October 2, 2015

Catching Up in Language Arts, Part 1: FLL3 and WWE2

The goals:
  1. Finish First Language Lessons level 3 and 4 in one year's time and be prepared to move on to 5th grade grammar at the beginning of the next school year. 
  2. Finish Writing With Ease level 2 by the middle of the school year and move on to a new curriculum, probably Brave Writer. 
The students: Builder Boy (not quite 9 years old) and Early Bird (6 1/2)

The purpose of this post: to show you how we are doing it if you ever find you want to do something similar, and a reminder that curricula is not the boss of you.

We went through First Language Lessons level 1 a while ago and really enjoyed it. It took more than a to get through because of circumstances, but the boys had fun with it. I was able to add to it to make it work better for my kinetic learner and I blogged what I added for others who might be interested in doing the same. I intended to do the same with FLL2 and even started the process, but a move and more circumstances saw me dropping it for the rest of the year.

So here I was at the beginning of Builder Boy's 4th grade year and we have barely begun the 2nd grade level of our chose grammar curriculum. Do I carry on with the 2nd grade level during 4th grade, or was a skip possible? I re-read the relevant part of The Well Trained Mind and the course description of FLL2. That made it pretty clear that the purpose of the first two levels was much more about exposure to the idea of grammar and the very basics than mastery of the subject. Which is perfect, in my opinion, for the intended ages/grade level. Then I took a look at the lesson names and what level 3 teaches (found here) and decided that we could probably skip level 2 and move on to level 3. I got the pdf of the student workbook so that I could print out the work pages for both boys and that has been nice and easy. I also don't always have them do all of the exercises for every lesson, so I can cut a page here or there and print less.

I was only going to plan on finishing level 3 this school year. But I have been having them do a lesson every day, 5 days a week instead of only 3 days a week. In the first four weeks of school we finished 20% of level 3, not including the optional topical lessons. Since we school year round I think it is completely realistic to expect to finish by the next school year at this rate, assuming there are no unforeseen problems.

The lessons are moving along at a steady pace. There seems to be enough review that a 3rd grader with no previous grammar experience could probably start at level 3 with no problem as long as you move at a mastery pace, taking extra time to practice and review as needed.

This level introduces diagramming, and the boys are so far having fun with it. Early Bird insists on writing for himself (he is currently finishing up the kindergarten Zaner-Bloser handwriting workbook.) Because he is careful and meticulous, and Builder Boy is more concerned with finishing quickly, this often means waiting for Early Bird before we can move on. As long as he continues to show mastery of the subject I let him skip one or two per lesson so that we can move on. Right now each lesson takes around 20-25 minutes between poem memorization practice, definition review, the scripted learning part, and the workbook exercises.

Builder Boy's
Early Bird's

Yes, my 6 year old is working on this curriculum with understanding just fine. No, I do not think an average 6 year old should jump ahead to this book. When Builder Boy was 6 he was still working on sorting the difference between a common noun and a regular noun, needing physical cards to move around to help him. The work we are doing now would have confused and frustrated him. Early Bird has the benefit of having had the preliminary work of going through the first level, plus his greatest strength is in language arts.

A similar problem presented itself with Writing With Ease. We made it less than half way through WWE level 1 by the end of Builder Boy's 3rd grade year. Handwriting issues has been a major reason, though another is a lack of follow through on my end. We have skipped ahead to WWE level 2, but we are also skipping the copywork and dictation lessons. We are doing just the narrations, one a day, 5 days a week, and that this rate will be done sometime around January. At that time we will be switching to a different curriculum. I respect the authors of The Well Trained Mind and WWE a great deal, but I want something different for our family. I will likely still use WWE level 1 with Lady Bug when the time comes for her in a few years. Not really sure what after that, which is a little scary. But I am reading reviews of programs by bloggers that I highly respect to get a better feel of what I want for us and what is going to be best for providing that. More to come on that when I finally figure it out.
The Well Trained Mind, First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, and Writing With Ease are all produced by Peace Hill Press. I am an affiliate with PHP which means if you purchase their products through one of my links, I get a small portion of the sale at no additional cost to you. Affiliate link to their grammar products: Peace Hill Press Grammar Products.

The books can also be found at (picture of the book is another affiliate link.) Sometimes has better prices on the books, however, to my knowledge, you can not purchase the workbook PDF on Amazon. You get it at the PHP site, and if you have more than one kid and a not too expensive printer I highly recommend going that way.

I was not paid to review these products. All opinions expressed are my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...