This year my younger son started his homeschooling journey with us. He went to the private school from play group to the second grade of the elementary school. We are not English native speakers. Even our language, Indonesian, has little relationship with the Latin. Therefore, it is quite funny when I share about the English language lesson curriculum to people whose native language is English. Today I dare myself to share the First Language Lessons 3 that my youngest son has in our homeschooling since we really like this.
There are four levels, with each intended for the correspondent elementary grade. The basic contents for each level is basically the same. Level 1 and Level 2 don’t have workbooks since it is assumed that children in those grades will take longer time to write. Therefore, most of the first two levels are done orally. On the other hands, level 3 and level 4 have student workbooks already.
If you are interested to use the First Language Lessons series for your children, I suggest you take the corresponding grade levels based on where your children are supposed to be in the public school. However, you know your children much better. If they have been already writing, then, taking the level 3 will be fine, but don’t force them.
First Language Lessons 3
First Language Lessons 3 series is written by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington. They are recommended by our main classical education reference, The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition).
This series uses the classical approach to develop children’s language ability in the first years of study. The classical approaches used include:
What makes it different from most English grammar program is the scripted exercise in the instructor’s book that allow parents who are not teachers to deliver the language lessons professionally and naturally. The scripts accommodate conversation between a parent and children so that both of them are expected to be active in the lessons.
How we use it in our home/what we like about this curriculum
- We use First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 3 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) and First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 3 Student Workbook (First Language Lessons) daily, following the lessons one by one. When there are longer lessons, we separate them into two lessons so that my child is not bored.
- We love the poem memorization in the book. They are intended for children at the age levels. Here are the poems included in the book:
- The Land of Nod by Robert Louis Stevenson
- A Tragic Story by William Make Peace Thackeray
- I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth
- A Time to Talk by Robert Frost
- The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe
- A Slash of Blue
- First Language Lesson Series are really different from the English as Second Language methods that we usually meet here in Indonesia. Usually, our English as Second Language methods will pick a chunk of grammatical topic and deliver it one by one to learners. With this curriculum, we learn grammar based on the parts of speech. We memorize the definition of each part of speech much more easily using this curriculum. In the future, like the older brothers now, children should be able to diagram the sentences based on the parts of speech more easily.
- There are also some narration practice in the First Language Lessons 3. Some narration practices are similar with the ones in the Story Of The World Series and in the Writing with Ease Series. The difference is grammatical emphasize.
- First Language Lesson 3 has proper amount of writing. It is different from other grammar curriculum as I know so far. The concepts of parts of speech are delivered mostly orally. Writing is usually made on the diagramming sentences.
- Talking about the diagramming sentences, First Language Lessons teaches us the concept from the very basic. The procedure is repeated all of the time and it gets more and more complicated gradually. When I looked back to what my older children lessons with this curriculum, the diagramming sentence methods in the First Language Lessons give strong basics to the next grammar levels.
I would like to recommend First Language Lessons 3 to the following: children that are ready to write, but do not really like writing, children that need to use sentence diagramming in grammar lessons, or children in the 3rd grade. Even if you are non-native English speakers like us, this lesson still can be helpful to give you the basic of the English grammar.