06 August 2009

Grammar Book

I have mixed feelings about First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise, the mother of Susan Wise Bauer (author of our Classical Education 'manual,' The Well-Trained Mind).

There is a lot to like about it, such as:

1. a non-consumable text
2. one book covers first and second grade grammar
3. scripted lessons (the parent just reads the instructions, child's correct response listed)
4. no other materials are strictly necessary (besides paper, pencil, etc)
5. lists tasks by 3 levels of difficulty for parent to assign after each lesson
6. teaches all parts of speech on lower elementary level
7. includes memory work, such as "30 days hath September" and other poetry
8. practices narration skills

However, it is stunningly repetitive for most of first grade. We did nouns and pronouns so long that I was about to throw the book out. I think we did them for about 3/4 of first grade. What is up with that? Then, when the kids hit second grade, slam bam one part of speech after another.

When I do this with my next child, I'm going to skip a great majority of the noun/pronoun repetition in first grade and pull from second. What is the point of choosing the best curriculum and being in charge of educational decisions if we can't skip lessons here, pull from this unit, and add to that? It was hard for me to leave the lesson plan initially, but I see the value of tailoring the lessons to our needs, not dragging our feet through the book to say "we did it."

It's a thorough book with good lessons, I just break up the lessons differently than the author does.

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