Logic of English: Essentials

I have explored different reading and english programs over the years we've homeschooled though I admit I hadn't heard of Logic of English before. We recently had the chance to review one of their programs, Essentials: Logic of English Complete Set for Manuscript. We also reviewed Phonics with Phonograms App on our iPad.

Logic of English

What it is:
The Logic of English Essentials program as stated on their website is "A systematic approach to reading, spelling, writing and grammar." It uses a multi-sensory approach in breaking down words and teaches the "how and why" words are spelled certain ways eliminating rote memorization or guesswork for the student. For example, did you know you can  sing vowels but you can't sing a consonant? (Because your mouth is either partially closed or lips & tongue are in the way, go ahead and try it!) For an emerging reader, this helps them learn to decode the difference between vowels & consonants.

The complete set contains everything you need to fully use this program which is for ages 7 to adult. This means it could be used for emerging readers, those who need some remediation or anyone else in between. This program can also be used for ESL students.

The complete set contains:
  • Essentials Teachers Manual
  • Essentials Student Workbook (in cursive or manuscript, your choice)
  • Spelling Journal
  • Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Spelling Rule Flash Cards
  • Grammar Rule Flash Cards
  • Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Game Book
  • Game Card Decks
  • Phonogram and Spelling Rule Quick Reference Chart
I admit when I started looking the books over, I was a bit overwhelmed. The teachers manual is a hardback book with over 500 pages. The beginning of the book lists the scope and sequence as well as each lesson broke down and an overview of what each lessons covers. There is a also a section that explains how to use the program with different ages and abilities. You do need to spend time reading a section of the teachers manual to fully understand how to use this program. Once you read over how to teach the lessons, you can start with the first lesson. Each less is broke down and scripted to what you should say & do with your student as well as what they should be answering you back. It also instructs when to use the different flashcards or which page in the game book to go to.

The student workbook is a softcover book with 480 pages. Logic of English recommends starting with cursive though we chose the manual workbook (after reading their explanation of the why behind cursive, I did understand this aspect better and may do things differently with my younger ones). The workbook has everything the student needs to participate in the writing lessons and each section is well marked. The pages are perforated which makes it nice to be able to pull out and hole punch to put into our portfolios.

Each lesson is broken down into 3 parts. Part 1 covers phonograms, exploring sounds and spelling rules. Part 2 of the lesson introduces words through spelling dictation and analysis. Part 3 of the lesson covers grammar, dictation, composition and vocabulary development. All 3 parts of the lesson tie in together working on the same phonograms and vocabulary.

How we used it:

I decided to use this program with my 10 year old son as english in general is not his favorite subject so I was hoping this all-in-one curriculum would help spark some renewed interest (and hey, he loves being able to play games for school!) Looking at the recommended schedule of 1 lesson every 1 to 2 days, I knew we would most likely end up taking it at a slower pace so as not to lose his interest. Plus I wanted to make sure he was truly getting everything as there is a lot to soak in.

Before we started our lesson, I would glance at the teachers manual to see what materials I needed to gather from our flashcard sets. I liked this aspect of having everything laid out for me daily in one place! We took an average of a week and a half to fully complete each lesson, working about 20 minutes a day. This curriculum needs a parent to be heavily involved and the recommendation was to spend up to an hour a day with the student working on the lesson. I honestly don't have that amount of time to devote to one subject for one student when I have several other children to help, little ones to attend to, etc.

Each day we introduced and/or reviewed phonograms, went over the spelling rule we were currently using for that lesson then complete the corresponding workbook pages or filled in the spelling journal. Of course, Eriks' first question each day was do we get to play a game today?! We would either play the game corresponding with the current lesson we were on or we'd go back & play one from a previous lesson. We also completed some of the optional activities that the book suggested.

I really liked the all inclusiveness of this program. I found that using the same words for vocabulary, grammar, spelling, phonetic practice, etc really helped  my son understand spelling and parts of speech much better. An example of how the different subjects are tied together, for his spelling list he writes the words as I dictate them to him. Then next to them he has to list the part of speech then the plural past tense of the word.

Another thing I did was whatever flash cards we were currently introducing as new, I would put them on the fridge and kept them there during the duration we were on that lesson. I figured it was a good way to easily glance at them throughout the day. Not to mention it was a good review for my older children as well!

I think my sons favorite part of the program was the Phonogram and Spelling Game Book. He was able to play games with his siblings which I thought was great as it provided them a review and even taught them a few things as well.

We were also given Phonics with Phonograms App to review as well on the iPad (it's available for the iPhone as well). We found this program an added bonus and another way to reinforce what he was learning in the Essentials program though this app could be used independently of the program. We set up multiple profiles for all my children so they could all take turns reviewing the phonograms. It was easy to set up the profiles then set the levels you wanted each of them to work on. I tied Eriks level onto what he was currently covering in the book. It is a straightforward app where the student simply hears the phonogram pronounced then had to chose the correct phonogram to match the sound they heard. Sometimes less is more! It also tracks the students progress and answers. I think this app is a great way to learn & review the phonograms. In fact my almost 3 year old was wanting a turn to play and I do believe with working with her, she may learn her sounds earlier than any of my other children.

Essentials: Logic of English Complete Set is available for $243 though you can buy individual parts of the set as well.

Phonics with Phonograms App is available for $2.99.

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