Review of First Language Lessons by The Well-Trained Mind

Well, believe it or not, we are actually getting some homeschooling done with an almost 7 week old in the house!  My new son is a very sleepy baby and has been very calm during homeschool time for the most part as long as he is napping/being held.  Today was actually the first day I put him in the baby carrier for a bit during school and bounced around as he was a bit fussy. He has been very newborn-y and has really just loved being held and cuddled with blankets.  This is completely unlike my first son who barely napped and needed constant entertainment from the very beginning.  (If we were still breastfeeding, I probably wouldn’t have time…but like with my first son, I had low supply and we had to supplement and now we are just on formula.  Low supply plus cluster feeding resulted in a somewhat traumatic breastfeeding experience thats for sure…But I digress.)

We are currently finishing up the Common/Proper Nouns section of First Language Lessons Level 1 (put out by The Well-Trained Mind) and are on Lesson 45.   I am not crazy about the curriculum but I also like it enough to finish the book.  What I like about the book is that it is fully scripted and requires little to no prep.  I also like how we sit together and do the lesson and its not just another worksheet.  Lastly, I like that it is a gentle introduction to grammar.

The main thing I don’t like about it is that it is incredibly repetitive/simple, especially for an advanced/gifted Kindergartner.  Even at Lesson 44, the book is still requesting the student to repeat the definition of a noun three times.   We stopped doing that long ago!  Often the lessons just take a few minutes and I’m not always sure my son is learning anything.  The book has spent 45 lessons on the difference between common and proper nouns.   He got the concept long ago and I’m just going along with the curriculum in case the creator knows something that I don’t about information retention.  (I have only skipped a couple of lessons.)  Even though I’m sure most people, including myself, don’t always remember what a common and proper noun is, its a very easy concept to grasp.   The enrichment activities and lessons also include very simple exercises regarding proper nouns such as writing the names of aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.  This just seemed a little un-interesting and we often skipped these parts.  My son got the concept and I didn’t want him wasting his limited attention span on practicing writing their names, etc. to further drill down a concept he already understands.

We have enjoyed the poetry memorization.  My son is a great reader and has memorized each poem easily after just a few readings.  There was just one poem so far that is a bit long and might require more effort on our part to get him to memorize!

Honestly, I think my son learns more from workbook pages and drills than the learning style required by First Language Lessons.   As soon as we finish this, we are going to start the Rod & Staff Grammar Curriculum…I think my son is ready to start the book at a slow pace.

I’m really not sure of a better introduction to grammar and confidence builder with regards to grammar than First Language Lessons.  Its just a little painful to get through because of all the repetition and lack of variety in lessons.

Hope this helps someone!

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