We are unpacking and getting settled in at the new house. In the meantime, I am trying to reestablish our homeschool rhythm and already thinking about my plans for next year and the changes I want to make. If you are a fellow homeschooling mom, you are probably also thinking ahead to next year, so I want to tell you about my experience with the Logic of English Essentials program.
Logic of English is fairly new to the homeschooling scene. In 2012, I went to the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Conference to look at curriculum for Jack’s Kindergarten year. In scanning the breakout sessions, one session title really jumped out at me. It was about Nerf Guns and teaching kinestheic learners. Since I love play-based learning and have two very energetic boys, this session was at the top of my list. I am so glad that I went because it was there that I first heard Denise Eide speak about her fabulous Logic of English program.
Logic of English teaches reading, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and handwriting in a fun and engaging way. The curriculum is broken down into two series: the Foundations series for ages 4-7, and the Essentials series for ages 8 and up. When I was in school, English was not one of my favorite subjects because I felt that so many aspects of English grammar were vague and ambiguous as opposed to the concrete concepts of math and science. With Logic of English, Denise Eide has addressed this very issue and has managed to turn Language Arts into a science to help us make sense of all the “broken rules” in our English language.
I used Foundations A through D with Jack and it was one of his favorite parts of our day. I am happy to say that he is now a great reader and speller with beautiful cursive handwriting. (Well, most of the time. He is an 8 year old boy after all.) I started Foundations with Aidan this school year and although his learning style and personality are different from Jack’s, he also loves Logic of English and is in the early stages of becoming a great reader and speller himself. And thanks to the excellent Foundations handwriting method, he too has beautiful cursive handwriting that he is very proud of.
Both of my boys LOVE to play Memory and other games with the Phonogram Game Cards. It is such a fun way for them to learn and review their phonograms and I love that this is something they can do together even though Aidan is in Kindergarten using Foundations and Jack is in 2nd grade using Essentials.
Around this time last year, Jack began Foundations D, the last book of the series for ages 4-7. Planning to start IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) in the third grade, I was unsure of what to do for his second grade year. I knew Logic of English offered the Essentials curriculum for ages 8 and up, but it looked like it was just a repeat of what we had already learned in Foundations, only targeted toward older children who were struggling in Language Arts. I was still in this place of uncertaintly when Logic of English contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing the Essentials curriculum. Yes!!
Jack has now been using Essentials for several months and I am ready to share my thoughts, but first a few disclaimers.
- Although I looked at other Language Arts programs before we began homeschooling, Logic of English stood out as my favorite and it is the only Language Arts curriculum I have ever used. I say that to let you know that I have no experience with other Language Arts programs to offer you any type of compare/contrast.
- Although I purchased the complete set of Foundations A through D, Essentials 2nd Edition Volume 1 was offered to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
- I love Logic of English so much that I have been an affiliate for a while now, which simply means if you make a purchase after clicking over from my blog, I will receive a commission.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s proceed. Hopefully I have already conveyed how much I LOVE the Logic of English Foundations program for ages 4-7.
My big question about Essentials was, “Is Essentials just Foundations repackaged for an older audience or is it truly the next step after Foundations?”
After using Essentials for the past few months, my answers are yes and yes.
In a way, Essentials does repeat much of what was taught in Foundations. But it repeats it in a way that reinforces those basic spelling and grammar rules we learned in Foundations and then builds on those basics with customizable reading, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary lessons. But don’t let the word customizable intimidate you. The great thing about Essentials is that each lesson is broken down into 5 days, and each day is completely written out for you and color-coded for Levels A, B, and C. There is a placement test at the beginning of the book so you can easily determine right level for your child.
The lessons are so easy to teach and if you have the complete set, you will have everything you need to make the lessons fun and engaging with no prep work required.
The Essentials 2nd Edition – Complete Set Volume 1 costs $198 and includes everything you need to teach reading, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary to ages 8 and up.
This set comes with:
- Essentials Teacher’s Guide, 2nd, Volume 1
- Essentials Student Workbook, 2nd, Volume 1
- Spelling Journal
- Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
- Spelling Rule Flash Cards
- Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards
- Grammar Flash Cards
- Morpheme Flash Cards, Set 1
- 1 deck of Bookface Phonogram Game Cards
- 1 deck of either Cursive or Manuscript Phonogram Game Cards
- Phonogram Game Tiles
- Phonogram and Spelling Rule Quick Reference
- Spelling Analysis Card
I thought the most helpful thing I could do for you would be to take you through one complete lesson (broken down into 5 days) and share my thoughts along the way.
If your child is a struggling reader, Logic of English offers a Reader to accompany the Essentials program. You can also purchase a Student Activity Book and Teacher’s Guide that act as companions to the Reader and offer engaging pre-reading, comprehension, and composition activities.
We personally do not use the Essentials Reader. Jack is a very confident reader and just received a Kindle for Kids for his birthday. I download chapter books for him and as he reads for 30 minutes a day. As he reads, he highlights any words he is unfamiliar with and uses the Kindle dictionary to look up the definitions and records them in a notebook.
As far as writing and composition, I had originally planned for Jack to complete Essentials in 2nd grade and then begin IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) in 3rd grade. Because of the multi-level approach that Essentials takes, I am now planning to use Essentials in a relaxed way for the next two years and go ahead and start the Brave Writer program to add a creative writing and composition element, and probably hold off on IEW until 4th or 5th grade.
In conclusion, I absolutely feel that my kids are getting the best Language Arts education I can give them. When I occasionally look at other Language Arts programs to check out the competition (all of us homeschool moms do), I always come back feeling that Logic of English is the best out there.
I have been very pleased with Essentials as a reading, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar program for my 2nd grader and feel that it truly is the essential follow up to Foundations. I definitely plan to purchase Volume 2 when it comes out in 2017!
If you would like to purchase Logic of English Essentials or simply learn more about their programs, please visit Logic of English.