Finding a good language arts program can be a challenge. Selecting books, learning write essays, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all important. Common Sense Press has filled the need for a complete language arts program. It is called Learning Language Arts Through Literature. We have been using this program in our homeschool for years.
Learning Language Arts Through Literature covers first grade through high school. You purchase the level that is appropriate for your child. The first and second grade packages include readers, a teacher’s manual and a student workbook. Grades three through eight have a teacher’s book and a student book which are purchased separately. The two high school programs have the teacher’s and student’s books combined into a single volume.
Each grade level covers reading, writing and grammar skills. Higher grades include research units and essay writing. Lower grades include handwriting, spelling and phonics skills. After the second grade level, you will have to purchase the reading material separately or borrow the books from your local library. The program is offline. It is strictly workbooks and literature.
The program is all-in-one. The focus is using good literature to teach grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. I personally like this approach because children get to use well written books as their model for writing. The lower grades allow the parent or teach to chose the spelling words based on the child’s needs.
For busy parents this system is wonderful. Everything is laid out for you in daily lessons. The program is designed to cover 36 weeks of school, with five lessons per week.
High school students can choose between British Literature and American Literature. We are currently using the British Literature program at home. The program covers novels and poetry. I like the book choices–they hold the interest of my 16-year-old son.
Cost is another plus. First and second grades are more expensive because they include the reading material. For all other grades the teachers edition runs around $30 and the student edition is the same. You can usually find the books on Amazon at a discount.
Some levels have an e-book option. The e-books are less expensive than the printed editions. If you are teaching more than one child for a grade level, you may want to purchase a printed teacher’s edition and an e-book student edition. This will save money on the workbook pages.
In the lower grades, there is minimal emphasis on spelling. The spelling list is only five words. I think that it could be more robust.
There is a slight Christian slant to the program–not necessarily a negative. This would be a negative for families looking for a secular program. It may not contain enough of a Christian base for very conservative families–it is a personal choice.
I found some of the grade levels to have books that are geared more toward girls without including selections that boys would enjoy. The best way to see if you will like the book selection is to visit the Common Sense Press website and view the grade level that interests you. The book selections are listed in the detailed description.
I would recommend Learning Language Arts Through Literature. Our homeschool family has been using various levels of this program for the last 10 years. We are currently using British Literature and the Tan Book series. If you are undecided about which level is right for your child, a free placement test is available from Common Sense Press. I think that this program makes homeschooling easier for parents and the kids enjoy the hands-on activities. It is worth looking into if you are in the market for a new language arts program.
I have based this review on many purchased copies of Learning Language Arts Through Literature. Our family has used every level with the exception of American Literature.