I Have Been Blessed

All about how God has blessed me. In my marriage, with my six children, through homeschooling, and our faith with recipes, large family living, and updates on our life.

Primary Arts of Language

The Institute for Excellence in Writing very graciously allowed members of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew to review their Primary Arts of Language Program (or PAL).  This program, for ages K-2 is a blended sound-sight method of learning to read and write.  This program has two parts, Primary Arts of Language: Reading, and Primary Arts of Language: Writing. Although they are available individually, the program is best suited as done together. In a talk entitled” The Four Language Arts”, by Andrew Pudewa (included in the DVD-Rom), Andrew describes the four arts of Language as reading and listening, writing and speaking,

The Reading Portion teaches phonics and whole words, using poetry. There are four stages: Foundations, Activities, Discovery, and the Library.  In the foundation part, phonetic rules and sight words are presented using games and manipulatives. Next, your student moves into Activities, where he plays to master the phonetic rules. At that point, she moves on to the Discovery where she can use what she has learned on words, and then into books, in the Library Stage.  Poetry is the centerpiece of each lesson and a poem is enjoyed for several days and used for many purposes. The Reading Package is available for $69 and includes: Primary Arts of Language  Reading Teacher’s Manual  The Phonetic Farm folder and stickers, The Phonetic Games, and a DVD-Rom which has the following – An Instructional DVD portion, and files that contain the student materials, Readers, and some audio files that introduce the program and give you more insight to this method of phonics instructions.

The Writing portion lays the foundation for your child yo respond to what she reads or hears in writing. It is separated into three parts. Part One is printing lessons and an introduction to responding to stories using a Story Sequence Chart. Part 2 consists of copy work, introduction of style, and continued story sequencing, and PArt 3 begins formal composition. The Writing Package is available for $89 and includes: Primary Arts of Language: Writing Teachers Manual, An interactive DVD-Rom which includes video instruction, student files, and 6 informational audio files. The Writing Package also includes All About Spelling Level One. (Teacher’s Manual, Student Materials, and Basic Interactive Packet).

This is one of the most complete phonics instructions I have seen. It is very integrated with the reading and writing portion which is nice. And it has a simplicity that is missing in “other” phonics programs we have tried. I especially appreciated the manipulatives which are uncommon in the Arts of Language. For the REading Portion we really enjoyed the game play aspect and using the poetry. Some of the poetry was familiar to me (including my favorite: The Little Turtle), and some of it was new to me. It was all pleasant little poems. I also liked the way the letters were introduced (The Letter Stories) …. for example, c is a happy letter. It is a happy cookie because somebody took a big bite! c is for cookie. The story not only reinforces the letter sound, but also the letter formation. Overall  I think this is a great program. I enjoyed it, which makes it an easier program to teach. And I appreciate the durability and non-consumable elements, especially considering that once Maddy gets this down, Adreya and Wyatt, and eventually Cassidy will all cycle through.

We feel blessed to have reviewed this program. We received this free in exchange for our honest review. Click the banner below to see what others thought of this program.

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Write Shop

Writing is definitely an area I am wanting to improve in our Homeschooling. Of all the subjects, it is probably the area I recognize as a weakness in Brendyn’s education. So, writing curriculums and finding the ‘right fit’ for him is something at the top of my ‘to do’ list as far as choosing Homeschool curriculum. Over the past couple weeks we have been able to review Write Shop. We reviewed the Junior Curriculum (Book D) which is for 3rd-5th grade.

This curriculum covers a Letter of Invitation, Humor, Adventure, Science Fiction, Mystery, Poetry/Haiku, Folktales, Historical Fiction, Personal Narrative, and Writing a Factual Article. This book helps the 8-11 year old identify and use proper grammar and punctuation, narrow a broad topic to a specific topic, brainstorm before writing, structure a sentence, write a paragraph, choose strong words instead of weak ones, use emotion words to develop voice, use the five senses to add descriptive detail, self-edit and revise their work.

I felt that this curriculum by its description was really going to give us what we needed in a writing curriculum. Just reading through the list I felt like this is exactly what we needed – choosing strong words, narrowing our topic, adding detail. In my experience, these are areas a lot of kids struggle with. In college, during my internships, I remember feeling that those kids needed work in these areas and it was a gap in even the Public School Curriculum I was seeing.

We were able to review the Teacher’s Guide, The Student Activity Pack and the optional Time-Saver Pack. The lessons in this book are so well-written. The activities are fun. The Teacher’s Guide includes step-by step teaching instructions, games for the children, daily lesson plans, writing samples and ways to evaluate their work. The Student Activity Pack is two-part and  includes worksheets, and also the paperwork for the Child to make Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack folders which allows your children to make file folder reference material to come back to time and again. The Fold-N-Go packs are really what I loved the most about the student part of this curriculum. It was the ‘hook’. View Sample Lessons here. The (optional) Time Saver Pack is just what it sounds like. It is ready-made materials for the parent who may have five littler children running around (sound familiar?) and doesn’t have the energy to put into making high quality lesson aides. These are pre-made game cards, spinners, etc, although instructions to make them yourself are included in the Teacher’s Guide.

I also appreciated that the worksheets can be copied for future children usage, a huge bonus to me whose  five littler children who will need writing curriculum in the future. In the short time we had this curriculum I realized it is what I have been looking for. We will definitely be using this curriculum in our Homeschool. And I am going to be looking towards buying the younger versions to get Tyler started early. If this is a product that will help out your child, purchase before June 12, 2012 and take 15% off any WriteShop Primary of Junior products using Coupon Code CREW15 at checkout. The Teacher’s Guide is regularly priced at $39.95. Student Activity Pack $39.95 and Time Saver Pack is $13.95.

We did receive this product for free in exchange for an honest review. Other homeschoolers reviewed this product and other WriteShop products and their review as well as mine is listed here.

We are so very blessed!

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