Finding a language arts curriculum is a lot like finding a good bathing suit –getting that perfect fit is really tough! Here’s a review to help you “try on” one more curriculum.
Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL) is a gentle approach to language arts study that works best for homeschoolers who use a living books approach to learning
[I am basing this review on our use of LLATL Yellow (grade 3). Other levels may vary.]
The literature part of LLATL is covered in two ways:
1. Four novels are assigned through the year.
2. Each weekly lesson begins with a literature passage (either poetry or prose).
Most lessons include copying the literature passage, learning a short (5-6 words) spelling list of a word family represented in the passage, writing the passage from dictation, and practicing cursive handwriting. The other activities vary and include basic language arts skills – alphabetizing, analogies, parts of speech, plurals, punctuation, etc. The writing tasks are few – just a handful of narrative, descriptive, or how-to topics throughout the year. The nitty-gritty of paragraph structure is not covered at all.
LLATL publishes a teacher’s book and a student book. I rarely used my teacher’s book because most of the student activities are clearly described in the student’s book. But there are a few exercises that say only “follow your teacher’s directions.” Actually, for this program you can use the teacher’s book only and have your child write on paper.
The big question about LLATL is, “Is this a complete language arts curriculum?”
Yes and no. Everything (except vocabulary) is touched on but not necessarily covered in depth. That’s probably why LLATL is considered a gentle curriculum. (I supplemented LLATL Yellow with additional grammar, spelling, writing assignments, extra readers, and vocabulary.)
The daily assignments are not long and can be completed in 10-15 minutes. And of course, reading only four books in a year is not enough. There is certainly an assumption that your children are reading other books besides the four titles included in this curriculum.
If you want something light that touches on lots of language arts topics while giving you time to select your own tangents, LLATL may be a good fit. If you want a rigorous program that includes all you need for language arts, LLATL may be a disappointment.
My Own Take on LLATL
Personally I think LLATL works best for those homeschoolers who already incorporate a lot of language arts across the curriculum. If you use a living books approach, your children are already reading a lot of good books. Similarly, if your children write about their history and science readings, then they don’t need extra writing assignments as part of a language arts program. Assuming that your children already do reading and writing tasks in other subjects, LLATL can be a nice “icing on the cake,” pulling together some topics you may otherwise miss or reviewing others that you did study. For more about this approach to language arts, read Ruth Beechick’s short advice (scroll down to It’s Just Common Sense).
Written by Jimmie, Charlotte Mason flavored mom of one.