Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Essentials 2nd Edition by Logic of English ~ Schoolhouse Crew Review

Picking a Language Arts curriculum has proven to be one of the hardest decisions for me as a homeschooling parent. You can believe I was super excited to be reviewing Essentials 2nd Edition by Logic of English. It has proven to be much more than just the run of the mill language arts program. It is packed full of everything you need to teach your children how the English language works including 74 written phonograms and 31 spelling rules!

What is Logic of English all about?

Logic of English is a language arts curriculum based on phonics, and is intended to introduce students, ages eight and above, the linguistic structure of English. With one curriculum it will cover three levels of instruction, so it makes it super simple to teach multi-level kids at the same time. Logic of English includes everything you need to cover spelling, grammar, and vocabulary.

What we received for this review~

What we did not receive would be a shorter list! It amazes me how generous Logic of English was to give us the complete set that includes everything you need to use the program. When I first received the box, I was shocked at all of the components that go with this set, but learned fast that they are all needed and all an important part to it. 

The Essentials 2nd Edition Complete Set includes:

I told you there was a lot to this set, but you will soon see how it all works together. Don't let the amount of components scare you!

Where do I start with all of this stuff?

When I found out I was reviewing Logic of English, I was so excited because we were actually in between language arts curriculum so it was perfect timing. When I received the box that day, I couldn't believe how intensive it was, and this was just a first impression! I had no clue what a phonogram was or a morpheme or any of the other words I was seeing right off the bat. I found out quickly that I needed to make sure I studied the Teacher's Guide and get myself very familiar with it before we started using it. It's not the type of program that you open the box of supplies and jump right in. I had never taught language arts like this before so it was all new to me.

After opening my box I realized that I had to get organized! I now had all of these flash cards that I needed to do something with. There are a ton of ways to organize them, so I will just show you what I did. I got this neat little bin at Wal-Mart for around a $1. It has worked great. I may actually put them on a ring so we can flip through easily, but I haven't decided yet. I just took the card in the front that states what each set of cards are, and I turned it up so that it almost made dividers for me. 

After spending time in the Teacher's Guide, and getting organized, you will need to give the placement test to see which level, (A, B, or C) that your child will need to start on. It is located right inside the Teacher's Guide and you can make as many copies as you need of it to use for your children. It took me about 20 minutes to give the placement test, and I learned that we should start on level C. After taking the placement test it may start you on some of the Pre-Lessons. Don't skip this step as it will help the children understand the phonemic awareness. I had intended on only using this for Gavin, but because of how it's taught, I thought Edyn could sit in on it too. Even though she is older, it has already helped her in areas that she had weaknesses.

How we used this in our school~

Ok so this program is 15 lessons long not counting any Pre-Lessons that you may have to do beforehand. Each lesson is broken down into 5 daily lessons and each daily lesson is broken down into even smaller units. They say that each daily lesson is supposed to take 30-45 minutes and I have found that this is true. It was taking us close to an hour for most lessons. Sometimes if I felt like it was particularly long, we would break the daily lesson into 2 days. My kids work better in shorter segments, and this program is easy to adapt to that. At the beginning of each lesson it gives you an overview of what that lesson will cover. This will help you know of any flash cards or spelling rule cards that you will need to have prepared for your lessons. 

  • Day 1 - Essential Concepts ~ This is where any new phonograms and spelling rules will be introduced.
  • Day 2 - Building Words ~ You will start off with a review of the phonograms and then start your introduction to this week's spelling words. 
  • Day 3 - Words in Context ~ Review and then this is the grammar portion of the lesson
  • Day 4 - Words in Action ~ Review again and then this section is mainly about vocabulary. You may also see the symbol for an essential reader here. (This is the day it has shown up for us so far.)
  • Day 5  - Check Your Understanding ~ Review of everything
One thing that I really like about the Teacher's Guide is that as you are going through it teaching the lessons you will see little symbols. This will tell you whether it's a concept to teach all of your students or whether it's for level A,B, or C. It will tell you if it's time to use the Student Workbook or the Essentials Reader.

A few things I want to touch base on:

Teaching the phonograms - You may be asking what a phonogram is. It's basically a symbol that represents a vocal sound. Being that my kids know a lot of words but have never learned all of phonograms individually, I was concerned that starting to learn this way would confuse them. It hasn't at all. They can look at all of the phonograms that we've learned so far and tell you exactly what sound they make. There are flash cards that you will be using throughout the program for all phonograms and morphemes! I love this!

Teaching the spelling - The spelling words for each lesson are broken down into Levels A,B, and C and color coded so it's easy to find which level you need. Teaching the spelling with Logic of English is a bit different than anything I've taught before. It's called Spelling Analysis, and it's not just memorizing how a word is spelled, it's applying the phonograms and spelling rules to the words to understand why they are spelled the way they are. There is a detailed process that you do with each word. Don't worry it's laid out for you in the Teacher's Guide but you also get a separate Spelling Analysis card that you can keep right in front of you each week as a quick reference. Most of the spelling is done in the Student Workbook but sometimes they will need their Spelling Journal to add words to it. The journal separates words that they are learning so that it makes them easier to remember. 

Essentials Reader, Teacher Guide and Activity Book - We have only used this a few times so far, but it's very nice and well put together. The reader is a story or poem to help with reading comprehension. The activity book is a companion to the reader, and has worksheets to go with each lesson. We got the download and only printed the activity book. He reads the reader online, and this has saved on printer ink. Gavin is the only one that has used it so far, but he did enjoy it!

Games and hands on activities - Sometimes you may start a lesson off with a game. My kids really love anything hands on so this is some of their favorite activities.  They loved using the game tiles to learn syllables and vowel types. 

What we thought ~

I could honestly go on and on about this curriculum. There is just so much to cover but hopefully I gave you an idea about it. I really do love it. It's so in depth and intense. I would highly recommend this for anyone who has kids that struggle in this area and especially anyone who is learning English as a second language. I really believe that this would be perfect for them. 
My one and only suggestion would be to include an answer key for the teacher. I was really surprised that it didn't have one in the Teacher's Guide with it being as large as it is. I think it would be much easier to check over their work. With this being a new way of teaching for me, there were a few instances I wanted to make sure what they did was correct, but had to go back and try and figure it out by reading through the text rather than quickly be able to see the correct answer. This definitely doesn't take away from the program, but would just be a great asset.

All in all we give Essentials 2nd Edition by Logic of English a thumbs up. You can definitely tell that a lot of thought and hard work was put into this program. If you are looking for an intense, but easy to understand language arts curriculum, then this one is for you!

Be sure and follow Logic of English on social media!

Logic of English was kind enough to let 100 of us review their program. If you would like to read other reviews, simply click the banner below. 

Logic of English Review

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  1. I was also impressed with the thoroughness (although we used Foundations A) and a bit overwhelmed at first. However, we plan to continue with it because it's working so well! The games are a big plus for my son!

    1. I was so overwhelmed at first!! After, I got my groove with it, it really was a lot easier than I was making it out to be lol!

  2. I LOVE the approach of this curriculum, but since I plan to use it with a 5th and an 8th grader, I am concerned at the massive financial investment for one semester's worth of material? Do you feel it is really worth all the money?

    1. I'm sorry I'm just now getting back to your question. We moved last weekend, and I haven't been on the computer much. I do think this is worth the money, but mainly if you have a student that struggles with Language Arts or reading. It is a lot to take in so be prepared. It uses an approach I wasn't very familiar with, but once we got going it was a lot easier to understand.