What it is:
Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A is a hands on language arts program that teaches phonics, handwriting, and more for children just beginning their reading journey through hands on, stress-free lessons!
The curriculum is available in both digital and physical versions. We received a physical copy of a teacher’s guide, student workbook, word cards and laminated Appendixes. We also use the corresponding McGuffey’s Eclectic Primer that’s free for anyone to download.
Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A begins by taking one letter at a time and spending four days getting it really committed to memory through a variety of exercises that engage all types of learners. For example, on day one we create the letter using a long rope of play dough or wax sticks. Then we play a game where I read a word aloud and if it starts with the letter we’re working on she points to the smiley face and it doesn’t she points to the sad face, which apparently makes the activity way more fun.
The next day, we make a sand art picture of the letter (okay, I’ve never actually done this, I’m sorry I just can’t take the mess, but she colors the letter in with different art supplies each week, and once she glued on some hearts). She also circles the letter every time it appears in a selection of text, and reads simple words like man, ran, etc. that use the letters she has learned. On future days she writes the letters in sand or with chalk outside or something fun. She also writes the letter in her workbook. She has fun letter activities like a maze and a letter match, and her absolute favorite is letter tic-tac-toe!
On day three, one of her activities is determining whether the letter sound is at the beginning, middle, or end of a word, once again using a set of smiley faces to make it fun. She also recites the alphabet at the beginning of each lesson and reviews the letters we’ve already worked on. We close each lesson by reading a nursery rhyme.
Beginning in lessons 28, Boo gets to use a laminated page with each vowel printed with blank spaces before and after it so she can write in letters to make the words she read two days before.
We’ve not gotten there yet, but in later lessons she will begin reading from the McGuffey’s Primer every day, and cut out and color word cards. I also looked through the teachers guide and later on in lesson 105 I believe, we begin discussing grammar, beginning with when to use upper-case and lower-case letters,and at the same time Boo will begin writing a selection every day. There are 144 lessons in all, and by the end Boo will hopefully be able to have fun trying to make sentences with the word cards she’ll have cut out by then. 🙂
How we use it:
Since we work on each letter for four days, we’ve been using this curriculum four days a week. Right now each lesson is fairly short and sweet, though I can tell they will get somewhat lengthier as we progress. Doing four lessons a day, it will take us thirty-six weeks or about nine months to complete the curriculum, making this a full year’s language arts program. I definitely plan to complete it, and assuming it continues to work well for us, I will purchase Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level B for Boo next year, and get another student workbook for Smiles to go through Level A when she’s ready. 🙂
What we think:
Eclectic Foundations is a hit! Boo finally actually remembers each of the letters we’ve worked on, and what sound it makes and all that jazz. She still struggles with actually reading, but I’m hoping that will click for her soon as we continue to work on it. She really enjoys her lessons since each day includes fun, hands-on activities.
I enjoy seeing her really flourish in her reading progress. This has been a huge struggle for us and I feel like we’ve tried nearly everything else under the sun. Sometimes it would feel like she was getting a bit of a grip on learning to read using another program, but inevitably the curriculum we were using moved too quickly and she would end up forgetting the things she had worked on.
I also love how simple this old-fashioned curriculum is to use. The teacher’s guide takes me through each day very simply, and it’s not overly involved or lengthy, which is incredibly helpful when I’m also trying to teach a fourth grader and take care of a baby and a preschooler! It also approaches language arts from a Biblical worldview, using Christian text where appropriate, but it’s not weighted so heavily on the Christian aspect that it detracts from the purpose of actually teaching Boo to read. I would totally recommend Eclectic Foundations to a friend! 😀
Be sure to hop over to the Homeschool Review Crew link-up to see what other reviewers have to say about this curriculum as well as other levels of Eclectic Foundations.