Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Eclectic Foundations: A Language Arts Program Review

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }

When I officially started homeschooling my oldest the biggest hurdle in my mind was teaching him to read.  Especially for boys, reading can be a major source of contention and I was nervous about how it would go.  Little did I know that not only would he do just fine, but once he learned to read the hurdles only diversified from there!  Much like the different approaches to education, there are various approaches to each subject as well and it can be hard to determine where you prefer to end up on the sliding scale.  We were given the opportunity to review Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level B from Eclectic Foundations that is a language arts program based on the McGuffey Readers popular in the 1800's through the 1960's.   As you'll see, this program, specifically Level B, combines some very basic and straightforward approaches to engage in phonics, poetry, picture study, grammar and cursive handwriting.  It certainly does live up to it's name in being foundational yet eclectic!
Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }

Eclectic Foundations currently offers Level A, B and C with D soon to be released.  We received  Level B, which includes:

  • McGuffey's First Eclectic Reader (Publisher graciously copied and bound a public domain edition for our use)
  • Teacher's Guide
  • Phonics Practice Sheets
  • Student Workbook
  • McGuffey's Word Cards

The program has 36 4-day/lesson weeks with each lesson being quite short.  Every lesson includes a  task with the McGuffey reader, grammar questions or activities with the cards, cursive handwriting practice, phonics, and a poetry reading/discussion.  Most lessons took us about 15-20 minutes at most, usually less.  Level B is intended for first or second grade, with the material being intentionally advanced in some areas.  For example, much of the grammatical concepts were not fully understood when first introduced.  By design, students are simply introduced to them and understanding is expected to increase with familiarity.  

Our experience:

While his print handwriting isn't exactly winning awards, my 6 year old has been begging to learn cursive.  When the possibility of Eclectic Foundations came on the scene that included cursive and grammar in greater detail than we had done so far, it seemed like a good fit!  
  • The short lessons made it very easy to incorporate it into our school time and weren't a burden on his attention span.  
  • I found the teacher's guide to be very easy to use with all the information spelled out and available in one place for every lesson (no flipping back and forth like some manuals).
  • Scripture and scriptural principles are engaged throughout that helps reinforce the shaping of the heart that we as parents are striving for.  Being reminded (both child and parent) of different aspects of character building, even in the middle of a grammar lesson, is such a blessing!
  • The simplicity of this program continues into it's price.  To receive a physical bound version of these items (minus the McGuffy Reader), you would pay approximately $56.  If that is a stretch for your budget, you can purchase the entire PDF version to print out how and when you'd like for $30.

My son is nearing the end of his first grade curriculum and beginning second grade sometime this summer after baby #3 arrives and settles in.  Whatever other curriculum we may begin for second grade, it is my intention to continue with Eclectic Foundations for the remainder of this program because of it's simplicity and straightforward education.  Whatever else he may do, I know we're covering some important, foundational ground that is easy to administer and something he is enjoying.  A victory for everyone!

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Like I mentioned above, there are other levels available with more to come soon.  Feel free to browse other Crew Members reviews through the link below to get a taste of what the other levels involve.

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}

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