I was lucky enough to be chosen to review Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level C. I was so excited about this curriculum as my youngest seemed to be advanced for the level we had him at in reading. I was excited to see how my ADHD kiddo would enjoy this change in curriculum. Not only enjoy but benefit from. So what is Eclectic Foundations? It is a Classical styled Language Arts curriculum that seems to be very Charlotte Mason in design. If you are new to homeschooling, that last sentence may have gone totally over your head. Don’t feel bad, we have all been there. Let me explain a bit about what that means and then go into what this program offers so you can see for yourself if this program is a right fit for your family.
Classical curriculum is just that, curriculum that would be considered classic or vintage in styling. Picture an 1800’s classroom school structure but at home with modern curriculum choices. Charlotte Mason was a revolutionary British Educator in the 1800s. She styled her studies much different than what was done all over in those days, and honestly much different than what we see in our current school systems. She believed in combining subjects and using living books. In other words, books that were very descriptive and could help paint a picture of the subject matter into the young readers brain, instead of just stating facts. Today our living books would be full of pictures and images of the material being studied. She also believed in short lessons that get to the point, removing what she called twaddle or busy work as we know it today. There is so much more that could be talked about with these two styles of teaching, but for now, let’s get on with the review.
What does it offer?
This curriculum has taken both the classical and the Charlotte Mason approach to Language Arts and kind of combined them. The curriculum uses a very well know and much used reader, McGuffey’s. With this reader kids are asked to look at images and pull out details to help with their writing. They get to read well written, grammatically correct sentences which will help them with their own sentence creations. The lessons are kept short with no twaddle. Each part of this curriculum has a very specific purpose for being there and will help your child grow in their Language Arts studies.
- Short lessons
- Little to no prep work needed as a teacher/parent
- Very few supplies needed to use the curriculum (reader, pencil. paper, scissors, index card box and colored pencils)
- Practice with handwriting
- Memory Work
- Trusted Reader with variety so the kids don’t get bored with the same book, lesson after lesson
- Gradual progression toward independent paragraph writing
How does this program work?
When you buy Eclectic Foundations you can either buy the curriculum printed or as a pdf. Obviously, the first thing you would need to do if you bought the pdf would be to print out the student pages at minimum. With whatever way you choose to purchase the curriculum you will also need a copy of the McGuffey’s Reader. For Level C, the second reader is used. Once you have all your materials in place the program is pretty much a pick up and start working curriculum. In level C the program follows the same progression pretty much each day.
- Read from the Reader or determine the part of speech of some words and color code them.
- Read a list of words for that particular lesson and then dictate them to your child. Your child would write those words on a dry erase worksheet. This would be the phonics part of the lesson.
- The student would copy a selection given for handwriting practice.
- The student would work on memorizing a Bible Verse of the week.
- Complete some sort of Grammar exercise. This might be writing a few sentences, complete fill in some blank sentences, marking punctuation, answering some oral questions, etc. Each day has a new and different activity.
All of these steps we were able to easily complete in under 30 minutes each day. However, I did see in some later lessons that when more detailed writing assignments are given it may take a bit longer. For my ADHD kiddo I plan on splitting those lessons up into two sessions so he does not get so overwhelmed with the length of the lesson.
How much does it cost?
The current cost is $56 printed and $30 as a pdf. The reader used is free digitally but if you want a printed copy, which I would highly recommend, it is around $15 on Amazon.
What did my son think of this program?
My son really loved the challenge of the phonics dictated words. He loved that he got to use a dry erase marker instead of a pencil for this section of the lesson. Because the day’s words followed a specific phonics rule, it was easy for him to pick up on how to spell even the larger words. This gave him a huge sense of accomplishment.
He liked the stories in the reader and got excited for days he could read instead of color. Those coloring days he did not enjoy as much. He is just not much of a coloring kind of kid, and never has been. However, he loved playing a game, he made up, of which part of speech got the most colored cards and that seemed to help him push through and get his coloring done on those days. This curriculum was a big change from what he had been doing before so it took some time to get into the swing of how this curriculum’s routine was for him. Once he got into the swing of things, he seemed to do really well with it, and seems to have been learning a lot.
What did I think of this program?
I LOVED how simple it was to just open and teach. Not having to plan ahead really was a huge blessing. I loved to see my kiddo challenged with his reading. This program really seemed to have been a perfect fit for his reading level. He is in 3rd grade and had been working with a 2nd grade curriculum that was challenging him grammar wise but not reading wise. However I did notice a few things I am not so excited about. There seems to be a TON of writing. The first few lessons my munchkin was in tears each day over how much he needed to write. Now, he is doing much better with the amount of writing but still is not enjoying it. The picture below gives a good idea of how much writing/coloring is required most days.
With my background in having a Dyslexic kiddo I tend to look for curriculums that are multi-sensory. While my youngest is not dyslexic he is very much ADHD. The short lessons of this curriculum was a huge plus for him and me but the lack of multi-sensory aspects seemed to lose his focus. When asked at the end of our review if he would rather use this new curriculum or our old one, he chose our old one, saying that one was more fun. Mind you this is a kid who has always LOVED reading. So to see him in tears and hear him say that the reading curriculum I have for him isn’t much fun makes me second guess if this is the right choice for us.
Now, don’t get me wrong this program covers a ton of material and would help a lot of kids gain confidence in reading and writing. Personally, if your kiddo is Dyslexic or ADHD I would keep looking. However, if your kiddo loves reading, and does not have any type of learning disability, I would highly recommend Eclectic Foundations. So while this program may not have been a perfect fit for us, it just might be for you.
What is our plan now for Language Arts?
Honestly, I am still torn on what to do for this kiddo. He got so much out of this curriculum but seems to have lost his love for reading which I really want to get back. I love the solid education he is getting with Eclectic Foundations but need to add some more fun into the lessons that are multi-sensory. He has always loved making puppets for the characters in stories and reenacting them, Cutting, pasting and sequencing, building his spelling words with tiles, along with other more hands on activities that teach similar material. I might look into adding those elements to this amazing curriculum to give this ADHD kiddo what he needs to keep reading fun, yet still give him the solid language arts education I want for him.
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