Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Review

Language Arts has to be one of my favorite subjects to teach (with the exception of science) and one that my son particularly enjoys. Recently, we had a chance to try the Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A program from Eclectic Foundations, and our experience has been nothing, but positive.

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}

Eclectic Foundations offers a comprehensive Language Arts program that includes:
  • Phonics
  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Writing Composition
  • Poetry

One of the things that I like about this particular program is that it's really simple to use. There isn't any guess work involved, since everything is organized and all laid out for the teacher and student.

The full Language Arts Level A course from Eclectic Foundations includes:
  • Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Teacher's Guide
  • Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Student Workbook
  • Appendixes
  • McGuffey Flashcards

Each lesson encompasses a day and includes a broad range of assignments and activities. There are a total of 144 lessons included in this program, and the essential idea is to break it up into four lessons per week for a total of thirty-six weeks. Of course, one of the conveniences of homeschooling is the flexibility to switch things up as you see fit for your own family. Having said that, we didn't have a problem keeping to this schedule and even ended up adding in a few extra lessons during some weeks. You see, the daily lessons are extremely quick and easy. If you have really young children, I don't need to tell you how nice it can be to have the option of keeping a lesson short and sweet, sometimes it's even essential. Some days we're on a roll and can whip out two or more lessons in one day. Sometimes we even go back and do a previous lesson as a little refresher. Of course there are other days when your child just needs a break and because the lessons don't take up a ton of time, we can get away with having some time off without worrying that we won't be able to catch up on the following day. 

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}

I prefer a more Biblical approach in my son's education, and one of the great things about this language arts course is that it's based off of the Eclectic Education Series. For those who may not be familiar with the Eclectic Education Series, it's a collection of books from the mid 1800's to mid 1900's that was exclusively used as a means for children's education, instead of actual textbooks. Some of these books also include the McGuffey series of readers. Each book in the Eclectic Education Series was written by a Christian author using a Biblical worldview. Sadly, this style of education is not something we typically see in today's schools, since subjects are taught on a more secular level, nowadays. I like the idea of offering a more traditional method of teaching that's inspired by the Eclectic Education Series. Plus, you really can't beat the priceless sense of nostalgia that it offers. 

Since this is a language arts program based off of the Eclectic Education Series, there are many lessons that also include use of a McGuffey Reader. While there are physical versions that can be purchased, a digital PDF version is also available for free under public domain. As a courtesy, Elizabeth Ratliff, owner of Eclectic Foundations, was kind enough to send me a printed and bound copy of the Eclectic Primer to use with our course. She also makes the download links available on her website.

Other supplies that you would need in this program are the typical items that you may already have in your home (i.e. crayons, glue, scissors, Play-Doh, etc.). Now you may be wondering why items like Play-Doh and glue would be needed in a language arts program. You see, not only is there a variety of reading and writing lessons, but there's also a series of multisensory activities. As a mother to a preschooler, I was beyond thrilled to see that these were included in this program!

Here's one activity where we wrote out letters in baby powder.

The first portion of the program focuses heavily on phonics, and is actually based off of a book called Word Mastery by Florence Akin, however this book is not needed in order to proceed with the course. An example of a typical daily lesson during the beginning of the program will consist of first singing the Alphabet Song, followed by a series of hands-on activities such as making letters out of Play-Doh, pipe cleaners, coloring, etc. This is then followed by reading and writing various words, practicing pronunciation, as well as learning the difference between lower and upper case letters, which are also done through a variety of verbal and hands-on activities.

The lesson activities stay consistent with each week (preferably four lessons a week) with a few variations to make things interesting. Every week there is a focus on one new letter with the inclusion of letters from previous lessons. After all of the letters have been covered around week twenty-six, your child will be ready to move on to the more advanced lesson plans. These will touch up on the reading and writing comprehension portion of the program, which is where the McGuffey Eclectic Primer comes in. While we have yet to reach that point of the course, I was able to jump ahead and review some of what's to come. This area of the program gets more involved in sentence formation, punctuation, nouns, contractions, parts of speech, etc.

These are the letter outlines that are used for a variety of sensory activities in the first portion of the Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A program:

This is my son's favorite part of each lesson, because he gets to complete all sorts of fun arts and crafts activities. Since these pages can get messy, I was initially making a photocopy of the letters, so that we wouldn't ruin the original pages in the student workbook. I like having the option of being able to go back and reuse them for his refresher lessons. After a few lessons, I realized it would make even more sense to laminate the sheets, so that they can be reused over and over again without wasting more paper and ink, and that's what I eventually ended up doing. Having them laminated has been really handy, especially for the Play-Doh and sand activities. When we're done, I just wipe them down with a damp cloth, so they're all clean for future use.

My son has always been enthusiastic about learning letters and words. Before receiving this program, we were previously working through a variety of lessons that I just created at home. In some aspects, Level A meets at more of a kindergarten/first grade level, predominately in the later lessons, but I personally feel it's a great fit for us and definitely something we were able to work with, since it does offer a lot of motor skill activities, which are not just important for preschoolers, but tons of fun. The only thing that we are temporarily omitting from the program are the handwriting worksheets. Instead we are using an easel for letter writing practice, since I found this more suitable at the moment. Eventually we'll be moving back to the provided handwriting sheets, which will definitely come in handy later on. 

Currently there are three levels in the Eclectic Foundations Language Arts program (with additional levels in the works). Everything is based more off of level of difficulty, rather than a particular age group or grade. If you are interested in possibly having your child start this program, but aren't sure which one would best suit their learning level, you can review Eclectic Foundation's detailed analysis to help you choose. Did I forget to mention that it's extremely affordable? The entire course can be purchased for $30 as a PDF file, or you can order the set of printed and bound materials for about $48.00.

The Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A program has been fantastic for my son's language arts lessons. I really appreciate this traditional method of teaching and learning that's also in line with our own core believes and values. This has definitely made me want to use more materials inspired by the Eclectic Education Series in my son's education.

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Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}

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