My Review of Logic of English Essentials

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.

Essentials Vol. 1 covers

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.

Essentials Vol. 1 Complete Set

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.





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  1. Thanks for this review! I love All About Reading and All About Spelling (what we’re currently using), but I’ve been fascinated with what I’ve heard of Logic of English, too.

    • Amanda Medlin says:

      I considered All About Reading and All About Spelling because I have heard such great things about them, but Logic of English was just such a perfect fit for us that I chose it and have never looked back. 🙂

  2. Is the one coming out Jan 2017 a higher level or just the new edition of what’s out now?

    • Amanda Medlin says:

      The one coming out in Jan 2017 is the 2nd book in the Essentials series. Volume 1 would be used for your 1st semester, and Volume 2 for your second semester. I am personally spreading the lessons out a bit more, so we started Volume 1 in January of last year and will still be working through it this fall, and plan to start Volume 2 when we are finished.

      • Angela Bergeron says:

        If volume 2 is the next one do you go through volume 1 more than once to hit all levels (a,b & c) or does that not matter?

        • Amanda Medlin says:

          Angela, I am glad you found my review helpful. I think you will love Logic of English! I would go through both Volumes 1 & 2 at the same level, and them come back the next year to work on the next level exercises and go back over any areas you think your students need to review from the year before.

  3. Thank you for the review and showing what each lesson looks like. I loved your video. It was so helpful. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

  4. Umm Muhammad says:

    I saw your video on youtube and now have stumbled across the accompanying blog post by chance a week later. This post answered my questions about going from Foundations D to Essentials.

  5. Very thorough review. It seems like most of the focus is on Spelling. Will the more advanced phonograms that are discussed in Uncovering The Logic Of English and rules explaining them be included in Vol. 2? Is there an answer key in the TM?

    I understand that for grammar, further work will need to be done with other resources, upon completing this book. Will there be a further need for spelling as well, or does this book cover all spelling needed for elementary?

    Thank you

    • Amanda Medlin says:

      I think the advanced phonograms are taught at the C level throughout Volume 1 & 2. I am out of town right now so I can’t look at my book to double check. There is not a separate answer key, but those are woven throughout the teacher’s manual as needed. In my opinion, Essentials covers both grammar and spelling very thoroughly and I do not plan on using anything additional for either. Hope this helps!

  6. I posted yesterday, but don’t see my comment, so I apologize if it ends up doubled. Thanks for your thorough review. Does the curriculum focus mostly on spelling? I understand that I will need a grammar curriculum after this as well, but does this cover all spelling rules taught in elementary, including the advanced phonograms listed in the book of Uncovering the Logic of English? I purchased her book a while ago, and found it very interesting.

    In addition, they have 20% off the Scratch and dent, so the teacher’s manual ends up being $60, + shipping. Is it worth it, or should I stick with the full price one?

    Thank you

  7. Angela Bergeron says:

    Thank you for the thorough review and video! I found your blog while looking for reviews on it. I think it looks like just the curriculum for my fluent readers who need help on spelling and grammar.

  8. Hi! I found your site while researching LOE. I’m really struggling with which to choose, Foundations or Essentials? I will be teaching first and second next year and I will be purchasing foundations for my 1st grader but I’m not sure about the 2nd grader. He is seven and he really does not enjoy reading, I think that he would enjoy the younger teaching methods of Foundations but his reading has improved greatly this year. I’ve taken the test on the LOE website and it suggests Foundations when I put in his age right now, but Essentials when I put in the age he will be later this year. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks in advance! I will gladly purchase from your link when it’s time to buy!

    • Amanda Medlin says:

      Amy, out of the two, Foundations is definitely more fun…colorful workbooks, lots of games and activities. I am currently using Foundations C with my 7 year old second grader and it is perfect for his reading level and is his favorite subject of the day. Essentials feels older in both it’s presentation and workbook layout, but it does cover all of the basic phonograms of Foundations with a heavier focus on spelling and grammar. If you are looking for more help in reading, your second grader would probably benefit from Foundations C & D now, and then move to Essentials afterwards. Also, as you are working through Foundations A & B with your first grader, you can re-teach your second grader the basic phonogram sounds as LOE teaches them and both your kids can play the phonograms games using the game cards. My 3rd grader, who is using Essentials, loves to join his younger brother in the phonogram games and it is great review for him as well. Hope this helps!

      • Thank you so much! I was kind of leaning that way but I was worried I would be holding him back by not choosing Essentials. I appreciate you taking the time to reply!

  9. Thank you for the review! What advise would you give for a fluent reader (2nd grade level) who needs help with spelling and grammar? Would you advise that Foundations A-D need to be done prior to Essentials or can someone start with the Essentials material? We did our main LA learning to read through Sing, Spell, Read, and Write. Thank you!

    • Amanda Medlin says:

      Mandy, I would go ahead and start with Essentials. It still goes over all of the basics that Foundations covers and I love the way it teaches spelling and grammar. I think it will be perfect for your fluent reader!

  10. Katie Harrison says:

    What are your thoughts on how well this covers grammar? I’m planning to use for a 4th and 2nd grader. I’m sure it’s enough for the 2nd grader but not so confident for the 4th grader.

    • Amanda Medlin says:

      Katie, Sorry for my delay in replying. I was out of town and wanted to re-look at my Essentials book before I commented. In terms of grammar, Volume 1 covers Parts of Speech (Nouns, Adjectives, Verbs, Adverbs, Prepositions, Pronouns, Conjunctions, and Interjections), the structure of Sentences and Clauses, Punctuation (Comma Rules, Capitalization Rules, Quotation Marks, Apostrophes, Numbers), and Paragraphs. I’m not sure what all Volume 2 covers because it hasn’t been released yet, but I’m sure it will build on what has already been taught in Volume 1. I plan to use Volume 2 with my 4th grader this year and then probably go back through both volumes at Level C at the end of 4th and into 5th. Hope this helps!

  11. I stumbled across your blog here when looking for Spelling Ideas with Logic of English. Actually I wished I’d found it when I was trying to figure out if I should keep the old or buy the new one. Glad I decided to wait it out as your blog is showing me to definitely give this edition a shot. I am still working on edition 1 with my 11 yr old and 13 yr old. I was thinking about starting edition 2 with my 8 yr old after he finishes Foundations D this year. Now I have two questions for you. Would you buy edition 2 for your 11 yr old and 13 yr old after doing edition 1 or would you move onto something else? My second question is after you are done with this program what would you recommend to use. I did look at Brave Writer but felt I didn’t get a good feel of what their program is like. Thank-you!

    • Amanda Medlin says:

      Hi Kelley! I never used Essentials Edition 1, so I can’t really compare the two to know if the same material is covered. The Logic of English staff is excellent at answering question via their website, so I would ask them what they think. If you are already planning to buy Essentials Edition 2, Volume 1 for your 8 year old, you could look it over to see what you think before purchasing additional workbooks for your 11 and 13yr olds. I would think Level C would be appropriate for their ages. If you feel they are beyond that, I would suggest looking into Institute for Excellence in Writing ( I believe that is what LOE recommends as well. I like Brave Writer as well, but it is definitely a more relaxed approach and the website can be a little confusing. I think this page is most helpful for explaining the program… Also the first few episodes of the Brave Writer podcast go into a lot of detail about each level of the program and really helped me understand it better. Hope this helps a bit.

  12. Christina says:

    Thanks Amanda your video was very helpful. I have a child who is 10 and going into grade 5. She is struggling with reading and I wondering what level you would choose for her. We have worked through bits and pieces of different curriculums which just haven’t fit. We did try All About Reading Level 1, I loved the readers, but she felt they were too young and she found the program boring. I was thinking of Spelling You See but see now that the spelling is covered in this Curriculum and won’t be needed. I am praying for wisdom as I do not want this to be another thing we start and don’t finish but I am desperate to find something that will help her.

    • Amanda Medlin says:

      Christina, I would go with Logic of English Essentials Volume 1, either level B or C. There are pre-lessons in the book that will help you evaluate your child to place her into the correct level. I have personally been so pleased with the Logic of English programs, and they have worked well for both of my boys who have very different learning styles. I think you should give it a try!

  13. Do you know if this is a true Orton Gillingham method? We are having my son tested for dyslexia and I have looked at this for a while now and it seems like it would be a good fit for my son because I have seen a lot of reviews on the other curriculums for kids who are dyslexic and they said their kids got bored. My son is in first grade. He knows all of his letter sounds but he can’t do phonome segmentation, has trouble sounding out words and has trouble blending. I homeschooled him last year for kindergarten and the reading program we used just didn’t work. He isn’t far enough behind in school to get help but he is behind his classmates. I know I need foundations. I assume starting with level a even though he knows his letter sounds.

    • Amanda Medlin says:

      Hope, I am not familiar with the Orton Gillingham method, so I can’t answer to that. If you contact LOE via their website, they should be quick to answer that question. I have always received excellent customer service from their team whenever I have had questions or issues. Here is more info on LOE and dyslexia… I agree on starting with Foundations A because LOE has a unique way of teaching and each lesson builds on what was taught in the previous lesson. You should be able to view some samples of each level on their site just to make sure. Hope this helps!

  14. Elisabeth Embrey says:

    Hi Amanda, thanks so much for your review. My daughter is in 2nd grade and we have used Foundations A-D for Kindergarten and First Grade. This year we have used Essentials Volume 1 Level B and will be finished within the week. Unfortunately, LOE has not finished with Volume 2 as yet and I am questioning what our next step should be. Did you do Volume 1 & 2 within one school year? I saw you mentioned using the curriculum for two years; I wasn’t sure if this was with
    a higher level the second year or just Volume 2. I also have been looking at IEW but I thought that started in 4th grade and I’m not sure what to use for 3rd grade and right now the remainder of 2nd grade:-) Do you have any advice? Thanks so much!

    • Amanda Medlin says:

      Hi Elisabeth! We have only completed Volume 1, but stretched it out for about a year and a half. In the waiting period, I have been using Brave Writer Copywork packs as well as working on weekly creative writing projects using a book called Writer’s Express I checked the Logic of English website, and they said that Volume 2 is at the printer’s now and should be available by early February. If you go ahead and order, they will send you the PDF lessons for lessons 16-1, which would cover 3 weeks, so it might work out for you to go ahead and a pre-order and start teaching the PDF lessons. I plan to start using Volume 2 as soon as we are finished with the Writer’s Express creative writing projects. Hope this helps!

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