As soon as the review copies of Language Lessons arrived I was smitten. This is the finest implementation of the Charlotte Mason method of instruction I have ever seen. If you are new to home education, the Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) name may not be familiar to you. A British educator who devoted her life to improving the quality of children’s education, to Charlotte Mason, language arts skills consisted of narration, the child telling back a story, copywork, the transcribing of a well written piece of literature as handwriting practice, and dictation, which is spelling and grammar taught within the context of rich language instead of static lists.
From Theory To Ready To Use
Sandi Queen has done an excellent job of combining those lesson essentials, and even if she had stopped there Language Lessons would have been a fine program. But instead, she takes the series from satisfactory to exceptional by adding delightful flourishes that include picture studies with full-color paintings, basic phonics instruction, poetry appreciation and writing, creative writing, and much more.
Full Color Paintings Make These Books Sparkle
It is the gorgeous reproduction of notable paintings that will first catch your eye. True to the Charlotte Mason philosophy, the picture studies are based on classic works of art, introducing the child to the paintings of great artists, encouraging him to study them by asking pertinent questions, and then asking for a narration of what he has observed.
Very Short Lessons Cover Lots Easily
Likewise characteristic of the Charlotte Mason approach, each lesson takes a scant five to fifteen minutes a day. This increases a bit with age, but is never as time-consuming as you will find in the more staid programs typical of government schools. And Language Lessons doesn’t try to do everything everyday, which alleviates the tedium associated with other language arts programs. I know many mothers who struggle under the multiple pressures of parenting and educating, to say nothing of their responsibilities as wives and Christ followers. But I don’t know any mother who is too busy to use this program. Each book is a large, consumable, perfect-bound paperback, containing 180 lessons, and in full color.
A Little Too Flexible?
We love not having grade levels on the Language Lessons books since we all know that this is a difficult way to quantify a child’s skill level and find them the perfect placement. At the same time one of the number one questions we are asked at conferences is how to determine which book to start in. Our suggestion is to start with the most age appropriate series (as shown below) and then look at the samples on each to determine where in the series to start. Don’t hesitate to move up or down depending on your child’s unique needs, after all this is the beauty of homeschooling and is exactly how these books are intended to flex!
And the Winner Is…
RaeAnne LaBelle S who chose Language Lessons for the Very Young!