Homeschool Posts

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Teaching Little Ones the Logic of English with Foundations, a review

Want a fun curriculum that will have your little one giggling through the phonograms and dancing to segmented words?  Look no further than  Foundations A from Logic English.

The Foundations program is designed for kids ages 4-7.  I recently had the opportunity to review book A with 4-year-old Emma.

We received:

Foundations A Teacher’s Manual ($38.00)

Manuscript Full-Color Workbook ($18.00)

Re-Usable Resources Set,which includes a student whiteboard, various card sets, and a handwriting reference set ($88.00)

Other bundles and purchasing options are also available.

Foundations teaches phonemic awareness, reading, reading comprehension, and handwriting through the logical foundations of the English Language.  Each of the 40 lessons in Level A builds upon previous lessons and absolutely no prior knowledge is taken for granted.

Before she even looks at a letter on a page, she’ll learn to recognize the proper positions for her lips and tongue as she speaks individual sounds, learning the difference between those that are “voiced” and “unvoiced” (by holding her hand on her neck), and even “nasal” and “not nasal”  (by trying to say the sound while holding her nose).  This is a great way of helping kids with speech issues and little ones who are still learning how to properly enunciate---in fact I may try to use some aspects of this program with one of my older kiddos for just this reason.

Before your child is ever confronted with trying to read or spell words, she will have already learned to listen for individual sounds and how to segment words into their individual sounds and then blend the individual sounds back into the words.

She’ll blend /j-u-m-p/ and /t-w-er-l/ and jump and twirl around the room.

Before she tries to write even a letter on a piece of primary-ruled paper, she’ll learn what the different lines are called and the strokes that are the basis for that letter.

For the full scope and sequence of Foundations A click here.  You’ll also be able to download samples of the Teacher’s Guide and both the manuscript and cursive workbooks.  By the end of of this level, you child will be reading and comprehending words and phrases which use lower case letters and short vowels.

Quality of the materials

The teacher’s manual has a matte-finished hardcover with quality, glossy pages and I expect it to stand up to a lot of abuse.

The workbook has good quality paper and full color pictures---I was genuinely impressed and very pleased with the perforated pages that make it easy to remove them from the book. 

The tactile cards are a fun learning tool for my hands-on learner and she loves the whiteboard.  Her manually dexterity for 4 is pretty good, but writing on paper is still hard, so the whiteboard has been a definite plus. 

The other cards seem a little thin, but they do have a semi-gloss finish to them (not cheap cardstock).  We’ll have to see how well they hold up once we get further into the program.

Review of Logic of English's Foundations A @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

What do we think?

Foundations is very easy to teach.  It’s all laid out for me, including a list of things to gather together for each lesson---you will often add in common household objects like toys or picture books to the program’s materials (for instance a mirror so your child can see her mouth when she makes a particular sound, or something with a base to illustrate what a “base” is).

Lessons are lively and include hands-on and (full body) activities.  We don’t just blend the word “sing,” we sing it!  There are lots of games for practicing the phonograms (so it’s not just about flashcards) and fun suggestions for reinforcement---like eating popcorn and reading about pandas while learning /p/.

I love that there’s a simple assessment after every 5 lessons with a chart that shows me:

  1. what skills are expected to have been mastered before continuing on
  2. which skills will continue to be practiced regularly and don’t need to be mastered yet
  3. which skills will be practiced but are not essential to becoming a strong reader and speller

That’s right, they tell me which skills to not freak out over! 

I never feel at a loss and the assessment shows me how to determine if my child gets it.

We have completed the first 5 lessons and the first assessment, and you’ll be happy to know that Emma has mastered not only the skills she should have mastered (she can blend two words into a compound word and identify the handwriting lines), and is progressing nicely on #2 skills we’ll continue to practice, but has also mastered a skill that’s a #3 (she can identify voiced and unvoiced sounds---this little girl astounds me!).

Would you like to see part of her assessment?

Emma doing her handwriting assessment.

Emma loves Foundations and she’s learning!  We are following the suggested schedule for preschool, which is to complete Level A (40 lessons) in a year.  This is a gentle, very do-able schedule.  By the end of the book, she will have learned all of the single letter phonograms and will be able to read single syllable, short vowel words in lower case letters. 

An older child might complete levels A-C in a single year.  See the Logic of English website for suggested scheduling options.

Also available from Logic of English:

Essentials (reading, writing, and spelling for kids over age 7)

Phonograms App (for iPad)

Rhythm of Handwriting

You can read reviews of these at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog:

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