My daughter is ahead of the game in academics. I bought this thinking it would be good for her. But it is entirely too slow, too (for lack of a nicer word) dumbed-down for her. Lessons barely touch on parts of speech and when they do, they aren't called by their actual names (i.e. verbs are called doing words, nouns are called naming words, etc). This does not bode well for homeschooled children, as even their public school peers are learning the complete lesson. Which brings me to my next point. The lessons are not very well thought-out. They bounce around from topic to topic rather than teaching a topic completely, making it difficult for children to remember all the tiny bits of information learned here and there. And assessments are too far apart. It's important to have regular assessments to keep track of the child's progress. This curriculum has the child do an assessment every 2 months or so. That's not enough, so I had to make my own assessments and change and add to the lessons to make them more cohesive. Definitely not worth the money.
This is it. Your one stop shop language arts program! The price is an excellent value for what you get. The books are all high quality, with perforated student sheets for easy removal. My son loves the storybooks. You truly get everything in one - grammar, phonics, spelling, critical thinking and comprehension - it's ALL here. LLATL takes a spiral approach, so they introduce a topic and then review it frequently and build on it. I can see us using this clear through.
The only "cons" (and they're minor cons):
- The handwriting isn't our favorite approach, though for those who prefer an italic approach, they will like this. You may want to supplement the handwriting, but it really isn't a big deal.
- The lessons can be quite long. There are times that I have to split one day's assignments into two.
I have just started using this curriculum so these are my first impressions. I like having the lessons laid out for me, every detail. I really like my teacher manual. The lessons are weekly, broken down into 5 lessons per week. I was having a hard time working poetry into our reading program, partly because I'm not a natural poetry reader. I love that each day's lesson has a variety of different activities and points. It also includes cutting and pasting in some lessons which I like. The pages tear out easily from the workbook. There are a few books (10?) that you need to supply with the curriculum. A couple of them you will have in your home library or else your city library. My city library only had 2 books, so I decided to buy the corresponding books, just because I like to have things ready to go. They may only be used for a day or 2 but on the upside, they are really good quality books that will enhance your own personal library.
The curriculum is really well done, well made. Everything came in great shape. There are 6 readers that come with it but we haven't started those, but they have about 5 or 6 stories in each. Again, really good quality.
This may suit your needs if you like everything laid out for you as a teacher, if you want a comprehensive LA program that is easy to implement and if you like to have something everyday to work on. So far we've been keeping up with the schedule of 5 days a week, but it can also be done 2 days in 1 if needed.
I have a 9 year old boy and a 7 year old girl both working on it. I like that they are short assignments and variety of activity every day. Again, this is just the beginning. And for my son, I like that everything is in one book, we no longer have 3-4 workbooks (1 for spelling, 1 for phonics, etc) every day but its in one book and he knows its done then. Before it was too overwhelming with lots of workbooks. Both are enjoying this new curriculum.
The price was good, but keep in mind the price goes up if you choose to buy the other books you need with it unless you already have them.
A word about the workbooks, they are thick. Its not your ordinary workbook. Again the variety of activities each day varies so kids should not get bored of repetition. Also hands on activities are included. All the lessons seem to include a variety of ways to "catch" all the different learning styles. Its something that you can make work for your kids as well. The curriculum definitely involves the student in a number of ways (cut and paste, discussion, illustration, acting out, etc) and really uses good literature throughout. So far the book has also used a story from the Bible as well.
I should mention we did not use this for previous grades. It does start with review which has been helpful. Before this I've been using a variety of workbooks from various places as well as readers. This is much better and comprehensive then all those workbooks which were repetitive and overwhelming.
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 the late Debbie Strayer, a homeschooling mother, teacher, author and public speaker.
Learning Language Arts through Literature Red Book is a comprehensive language arts curriculum which teaches phonics, spelling, reading, grammar, composition, research and study skills, and higher order thinking skills, creative expression/games, and penmanship. The author has chosen "real books" which are the back bone for the curriculum's lessons. "Real Book" selections include: "A Tree is Nice," "Little Bear," "The Fire Cat," "Bravest Dog Ever," "Ox-Cart Ma," "Corduroy," "The Little Island," "Billy and Blaze," "Harry the Dirty Dog," and "Abraham Lincoln." Literature passages from "real books" are utilized for copy work and dictation. Learning Language Arts through Literature incorporates word wheels, flip books, cut and paste activities and games into the daily lesson plans. The Red Book contains six readers, "In, Out and About Catfish Pond," Up, Down and Around the Rain Tree," "Forest Fables," "Underwater Friends," "All Around the Farm," and Famous People," illustrated by acclaimed artist, Jack Stockman. The student workbook is consumable.
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. Assessments allow the teacher to evaluate the student's progress. Phonics Facts, Grammar Guides, Syllable Sense and Punctuation Pointers provide reinforcement as the student learns the mechanics of reading, grammar and spelling. 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!
I'm really not understanding the love for LLATL Red level. I find it to be sorely lacking in several key areas. Before I get into my review, I'd like to say...this curriculum was recommended to me by quite a few folks...most of whom said the same thing...red level is terrible. But stick it out until yellow level and it improves tremendously.
Let's look at key content areas:
Grammar: Red level gets an A from me for its grammar. This is about the only area in which LLATL Red is solid. The concepts presented are thorough and they are reviewed quite often. There is no drill and kill, but just enough review and practice.
Handwriting: I did not use their handwriting. We use HWT.
Spelling: Terrible. Four words a week? There is very little explanation of why words are spelled the way they are. We are using AAS instead and find it to be an incredible spelling program.
Reading: In my opinion, the reading level is below grade level. Most 2nd graders are able to read early chapter books. The 3-4 page reader stories were too easy for my crew. Perhaps at the beginning of the year, they were fine, but by the 2nd semester, they really should have started transitioning these kids to higher quality reading choices.
Writing: The writing process is really missed here. I'm not saying kids should be writing essays in 2nd grade, but surely, they are capable of writing a paragraph. We ended up substituting our own writing activities in which I assigned a topic, the kids would brainstorm, rough draft, proof/edit, revise and then write a final copy.
**After lesson 28 or so, the writing improves quite a bit with the Red level.
Misc: A lot of the activities are busy work. Cut and paste type stuff that I would expect from a 1st grade, not 2nd grade curriculum.
Overall, I think that the curriculum is "ok" but not tremendous. I plan to check out yellow level as well as Total Language Plus and Progeny Press and then make a decision from there as to whether or not I will continue with LLATL.
Other users promise me that it improves dramatically in yellow level. We shall soon see!