When I first took a look at Eclectic Foundations, I knew this program was something I was definitely interested in giving a try. Just the simple look of the website told me right away this program was going to fit well for us. I often look for old fashioned educational materials that are simple in format to use with my children because I find they learn better with things that aren’t over the top.
I chose the first level of the program to review: Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A in the PDF format so I could print the program for more than one student. I like this option because if I need to redo a worksheet with a student who didn’t understand it or who just needs a little more practice, I can simply print out another one. It also allows me to provide a worksheet to my youngest child who may not understand what the others are learning but still wishes to join in.
What We Received For Review:
For review, we were sent the PDF file of Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A. We were also sent a PDF copy of McGuffey’s Eclectic Primer by William Holmes McGuffey. If you’d rather have an actual book, you can order this Primer online through various websites.
McGuffey’s readers have been a favorite of our family for years now and we’ve used them from time to time to teach reading when other readers just wouldn’t work. They are timeless classics used by many families. Their format is very simple and easy to understand and use without extra fluff to confuse children. I personally tend to look for these characteristics when choosing curriculum for our eager learners to use.
The file for Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A was the complete PDF download of the Teacher’s Guide for this level. It includes everything you need to get started except the reader I mentioned above. The student worksheets are contained right in this text. The day to day lessons plans are written out for your easy use. To me this was a blessing.
There are 144 lessons in Level A. The format is simple. Lesson 1 begins with reciting the Alphabet, then moves to a playdough activity. Next is an activity to teach children to recognize letter sounds. And finally there is a daily poem from Mother Goose.
This format is similar daily which helps the child know what to expect and you as well. The activities are simple but really teach the child. Activities change by the day as well so you’re not doing exactly the same things every day.
Somewhere around Lesson 65, the McGuffey reader is introduced and you will begin to use it for daily lessons. Before this, your lessons are all from the Teacher’s guide and the printables which are included within the guide. The basics of the beginning of Level A, lead up to learning to read before you actually get to the book itself.
There are also word cards which are to be printed and used with the lessons. The students color the nouns red and the verbs green to help them see the difference in the parts of speech. We colored these and then I laminated them so they would be able to be used for a long time.
The lessons are adaptable. You can expand on the activities if you wish. You can use other activities that you may find that fit with the main lesson itself. There’s many ways you can expand the program other than suggested within the daily lessons.
It would be great to find the daily Mother Goose’s poem in the actual book to read together. You could also find a printable of the rhyme to showcase for your student that day. Then you could expand on learning the poem by including an activity to go with that.
How We Used It and What We Thought:
The program is designed for 4 lessons to be taught a week. Since we homeschool all week, all year round, we more than met this suggestion. Because these lessons were so easy to use, I wasn’t overwhelmed by making them happen every day and neither were my little ones. The length was perfect for us to work through and complete within an hour a day, sometimes less or more depending on the activities we did. Sometimes the kids continued to expand the lesson on their own, especially on play dough days.
Some days I added in more activities because I felt the kids needed a little more than the lesson plan called for. I also searched online for printable copies of the poems to grab the kids attention and laminated these so they could look at them through the day. This allowed them to have extra practice recognizing words and visually see print on paper. As it was laminated, the poems weren’t easy for my young son to damage and it was easy for him to carry from place to place each day as he played. Sometimes he likes to read to his Dino’s.
My littles barely realized they were learning. The activities just flowed for them. They enjoyed “reading” with Mommy and learning.
This program is one I would have picked for my kids if I hadn’t received it for review. We do a lot of Charlotte Mason and Ambleside style learning in our Eclectic homeschooling so it fit us really well there too. Using the McGuffey Primer made it an even bigger WIN! It’s definitely one I plan to continue to use and I look forward to purchasing more levels in the future.
How Can You Get This Product:
Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A is available on the Eclectic Foundations website. We received the PDF file which costs $30. Level A is for students in First Grade but could be used with a Kindergarten child or a child who is older but struggles with reading. The skills start from the very beginning and build from there.
The printed Teacher’s Guide for Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A is available for $12 if you prefer the printed format. The Student Workbook for this level is $24. The Level A Appendixes and Word Cards are available for $20.
The program also has other Levels available for your students.
The Eclectic Foundations website can help you determine which level is right for your students.
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