- Grade Level: 2 - 4
- Series: First Language Lessons
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: The Well-Trained Mind Press; Workbook, Student edition (July 17, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 193333908X
- ISBN-13: 978-1933339085
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1.2 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 118 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 3 Student Workbook (First Language Lessons) Workbook, Student Edition
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About the Author
Jessie Wise, a former teacher, is a home education consultant, speaker, and writer. She has decades of experience as a classroom teacher, elementary school principal, private tutor, and educational consultant, and is the co-author of the best-selling The Well-Trained Mind and the groundbreaking elementary grammar text First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. She lives in Charles City, Virginia.
Top customer reviews
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I did not expect much of this series, as I paged through it and found a lot of tedium. However. I was surprised by the extent to which my kids enjoyed the course. And, it exceeded my expectations for the reason I bought it, which was to beef up my kids' existing grammar skills, which were relatively good, but not rigorous.
Poetry: My kids loved the poetry memorization. I didn't love all the poetry selections, but they weren't bad. I ended up using a few from the book, and then choosing other more serious poets in place of some of the choices. But, I could see the poetry chosen as being positive for most kids, as my only real complaint with it was being, if anythign, too kid-friendly. This exercise could easily be done without the book, but I appreciated the periodic reminders to repeat poetry previously memorized.
Repetition: This is really a pro/con. Wise focuses on memorizing rules and lists quite a bit, and to accomplish this, she includes frequent repetition. Overall, I like this approach. I simply stopped using it when it felt unnecessary. As an example, there's a poem to memorize to remember the articles: a, an, and the. IMO, memorizing that list is a lot simpler than memorizing a whole poem for it. But my kids now have a solid grammar foundation, based both on understanding and memorization; I feel like the one bolsters the other. But I would recommend using the repetition as long as it's useful and then dropping it when it's unnecessary.
Ease: Works out-of-the-box: if used in conjunction with the teacher's manual, little if any preparation is required.
Organization for multi-levels: Levels 3 & 4 are organized similarly. My younger son did level 3 and older did 4. We were able to do most of our work together, as most chapters in 3 were keyed to similar lessons in 4. 4 added new depth, and I often had my younger son listen while my older son learned and did the exercises in 4.
For use as supplement or 1-year course: These worked extremely well for kids who had experience with the loosey-goosey preparation provided in public school. In terms of picking up a bunch of rigor in one year or supplementing while kids are in school, I think this program is excellent. I feel a lot better knowing that when my kids return to school, they will be able to contextualize their grammar lessons within a whole context of grammar, which is what I had wanted for them. This is not a complete soup-to-nuts grammar book, but it does cover the primary structures that most kids will encounter through middle school. It's an excellent balance of scope and depth.
Gentle Diagramming: Once my kids got used to it, they enjoyed the diagramming. It's a very soft introduction to diagramming, which worked very well for kids unaccustomed to it beforehand.
Repetition: See above.
Composition: As we were doing a 1-year course focused on bolstering rigor, I was unbothered by the lack of composition. There are brief letter-writing suggestions at the end, but as the book sets itself out as a resource for most LA needs, it's worth noting how peremptory this is. For our family, we skipped the few narrations exercises (in which children write a synopsis of a writing selection) and the letter writing, and instead used Writing with Ease 3 days a week (for synopsis) and another composition book 2 days a week.
Diagramming: I would love to see a few pages of suggestions for free diagramming at the end of the book. The gentle approach to diagramming involves the book drawing the diagram and the child filling it in. By the end, my kids were capable enough (thanks FLL!) to draw their own diagrams. I could see a later edition including more practice sentences without giving diagrams to fill in for kids who grok the material. This was especially frustrating in the Book 4 book. My kids only used this for a year and were ready to do their own diagrams by early spring. If my younger son was doing this book and then Book 4 next year, the soft diagramming approach would be way too easy. Also would be a great way to teach multiple kids who may be at different levels.
Overall, very pleased for my needs. I feel like my kids are going back into school with a serious understanding of how language works that will be a framework for everything they do for the next few years.
Now, as to Level 3, the first thing that I do not like is the fact that I had to buy two books. You have to buy the student workbook since she references it up to 11 times per lesson. Level 2 does not require a workbook and that worked out perfect for us. I do not like having to purchase an entirely separate book and based on the first 9 weeks, other than having him follow along in the book, I will not be using the pages. My son works better if he can learn about grammar by writing on the board or spreading words out on the floor. The authors' approach is very monotonous as stated but other reviewers but you can make adjustments to fit your student. For instance, I do not have my son repeat a definition 5-10 times per lesson. If he can tell me the definition in his own words and put the rule to use then we move on until we review the concept, which is done weekly through grammar games that I make up.
I love this series because it directs me in an organized fashion as to what he needs to know at his age and this alone makes the book worth the money. There are sample schedules at the back of the book that I use as a guide post but modify to fit his learning curve. It is a rigorous grammar program for his age but it is done in an easy step-by-step approach that does not make it overwhelming for him. She builds on the concepts over the 36 weeks and does frequent reviews of all the topics covered. He actually enjoys his grammar lessons and can easily tell you what all the parts of speech do, which none of his public school friends can do.
I would highly recommend this book without reservations but be prepared to make adjustments as necessary since I do not know any child who would like repeating definitions everyday and the workbook to me is not that helpful (I would rather have him work on notebook paper if the concept requires it). Happy teaching!!