Friday, April 9, 2010

My Review of First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind

First Language Lessons was written by Jessie Wise of Well-Trained Mind fame.  It comes from the classical education mindset which is demonstrated in memorization, narration, and grammar.  Go figure!

The Old Schoolhouse offers high praise for First Language Lessons while I've read some individuals say who feel that it's too slow and boring.  I'll just tell you what I think.

First as a mother of a 5 year old, first-grader, this book is perfect.  The lessons are short and offer a lot of review.  Each lesson is fully scripted which could be a benefit for those that might be a little afraid of teaching grammar. The lessons cover nouns, pronouns, verbs, sentences, poems, and more and offers copy work ideas as well.  I appreciate how it demostrates that "classical" education doesn't need to be difficult nor tedious.

Personally, I rarely use anything as is and this was no exception, but to me, flexibility is one of the best things about homeschooling.  I would often add more copywork than mentioned in the book.  I also would occasionally do additional activities to support learning, as well.  On the other hand, if I didn't think my dd another day discussing proper nouns, then I would skip that lesson.

Second, as a person who has taught "average age" first graders, as well, I have a slightly mixed opinion.  If the only thing I was using was First Language Lessons, then I would say there might be concerns.  The lessons as they stand would be enough to learn the "grammar", but I think being sensitive to the student would be required as well.  Again, supplement or cut as needed.  The lessons were not made to be exciting, but they are so short, they shouldn't be excessively boring either.  The main thing I would definitely increase would be recommended  copywork.

So, there you have it.  I have enjoyed using this book and will definitely plan to use it for second grade.  I haven't looked at the subsequent books, so I won't really comment on them.

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