The Tan book in particular is a favourite of mine. The first time we used it was for my 7th grader, the year we had a baby and needed something simple to work at all year. He loved it! Surprisingly, when he finished his first writing assignment he said he could write another one. That's what I like about this series. It's gentle in its approach. It has some more difficult things, and some simple fun games. A good mix.
This year I'm using it for my daughter, (incidentally, the one who was the baby that year). She is in 6th grade, was a late reader, but is now a good speller who loves to read naturally. We are looking forward to working through this book together to help her develop some study skills using literature she already loves. It starts out with a book study on "Carry on Mr. Bowditch" which she's familiar with already.
We found that the books studied in the Tan book all become family favourites.
My daughter and I have enjoyed this language arts curriculum more than others we have tried. I like the integrated approach to learning language. Exercises are relevant and build on themselves throughout the week. There is also plenty of review so as not to forget what you have learned as the year progresses. My daughter has been inspired to read many books on her own after reading the quotes/dictation passages in the lessons (which is great because as an avid reader, I would not consider LLATL to be a stand-alone READING/LITERATURE program). I must say, I was disappointed that the Book Study featured in the preview (for TAN level) was significantly more in depth than any of the other Book Studies in the book; I found this rather misleading as I ended up designing my own book study for the other featured novels. Also, we chose to supplement the very short spelling lists based on the featured spelling rule in each lesson. We have also utilized other grammar books if added practice is needed in certain skills. It would be helpful if teacher and student page numbers correlated to better facilitate planning. But overall I am committed to this curriculum (after trying several others) and think it does a great job of teaching language without boring worksheets and exercises.
Learning Language Arts through Literature is based on the educational philosophy of Dr. Ruth Beechick and her natural learning method as outlined in her books, "The Three R'," "Language and Thinking for Young Children," and "You Can Teach Your Child Successfully." The curriculum is authored by Susan S. Simpson, a teacher, author and publisher and Diane Welch, a homeschooling mother of five, who is an avid reader and lover of fine literature.
Learning Language Arts through Literature Tan Book is a comprehensive language arts curriculum which teaches spelling, reading, grammar, composition, research and study skills, and higher order thinking skills, creative expression and penmanship. The authors have chosen "real books" which are the back bone for the curriculum's book studies. "Real Book" selections include: "Carry On, Mr. Bowditch," "The Bronze Bow," "Big Red," and "The Horse and His Boy." Literature passages from "real books" such as " Bambi," "Little House in the Big Woods," "Kidnapped," "The Hiding Place," "Prince Caspian," "King of the Wind," "The Wheel on the School," "The Swiss Family Robinson," "Swallows and Amazons," "Robinson Crusoe," "The Wind in the Willows," "Caddie Woodlawn," "Where the Red Fern Grows," "The Railway Children" "The House at Pooh Corner," "Anne of Green Gables," "Aesop's Fables," "Little Women" and "Invincible Louisa" are utilized for copy work and dictation. The Tan Book includes two units: Using the library and writing a research paper. Learning Language Arts through Literature incorporates creative expression activities such as creative writing, oral presentation and poetry into the daily lesson plans.
The instructors guide is comprised of easy to use lesson plans spanning a period of 36 weeks. Each lesson is made up of the following components: New Skills Taught, Materials Needed, Scripted Lesson Plan, Higher Order Thinking Skills, Answers, Examples, Diagrams and References to the student activity book. The Skills Index is an easy to use reference for the teaching parent. Assessments allow the teacher to evaluate the student's progress. Review activities follow the lessons to provide the student with additional skills practice. Placement tests are available online at the Common Sense Press website.
As a homeschooler, I have perused several language arts curriculums. I cannot praise this curriculum enough! Learning Language Arts through Literature receives an A+ from this homeschooling parent!
We really enjoy this approach to learning. My daughter immediately began reading "Carry On, Mr. Bowditch" and has really enjoyed the activities that go along with the book. She gets this out right away in the morning, and does her lessons! That is a winner to me!