We have lately been working with a Language Arts program from the company Eclectic Foundations.
We were given Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level B for the purpose of this review.
My son’s “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” are currently using this program, but since I received the digital format, I will be able to use it with my other boys as well. I like that, because none of them have really been formally exposed to grammar, we have mostly done grammar through everyday speech and correction when necessary.
What we received in our digital download:
- Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level B Teacher’s Guide
- Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level B Student Workbook
- Level B Phonics Practice Sheets and Word Cards
I received this in one large download of 518 pages.
The only other book needed is McGuffy’s Eclectic First Reader. The Electic Foundations Level B has a link where you may download it for free, or you may as I chose to do, order a physical copy which cost me very little.
The author of this program, Elizabeth Ratliff has used additional sources to base this program on. The phonics lessons are based on Word Mastery written by Florence Akin, whereas Grammar lessons are based on First Lessons in English written by Thomas Harvey. The majority of the poems and copy work come from Poems by Grades written by Van Stone Harris and Charles B. Gilbert. While all of these books are available at no cost online, you will not need to seek them out and print them, as the author has included them right within the program, except for the McGuffy’s First Eclectic Reader. She has also modified some of the content of the books to accommodate the language of today.
One thing that always concerns me is, how much am I going to have to spend for extra supplies to work through a program. You’ll be pleased to know that with Eclectic Foundations Level B (and I imagine it is the same for the other levels), there is not much to purchase. This is the list of what I needed, and where I got it very inexpensively:
- Unlined Index Cards (for one lesson) – I think they came from our grocery store.
- paper to write on, handwriting in the Student Workbook has been lined 3/8″. I found a free printable of this many years ago on the web.
- A pencil box, rubber bands, or baggies to keep the word cards in. We’ll be using bands.
- Crayons and/or colored pencils (I had already purchased these when they were in the back to school sales)
- scissors will be needed for the word cards (although I use my scrapbooking paper-cutter for the cards) and for some grammar lessons
- Thin dry-erase markers (grocery store)
- Dry-erase eraser (oddly, I couldn’t find one at the grocery store or the supermarket, but then later found it at the dollar store!)
So the author is quite correct to say that not much extra needs to be purchased! With the digital format of course, you do need printer paper and ink. I also purchased notebooks cheaply at the dollar store, and page protectors for the phonics practice sheets (I do not have a laminator yet, hint hint!)
While reading the overview at the beginning of the Teacher’s Guide, I found the instructions telling me what to print out and how many of each thing. I have opted NOT to print the Teacher’s Guide. I’m instead reading it from the pdf. For each student, I needed to print the student pages, the phonics practice sheets, and the McGuffy’s Word Cards (the cards are to be printed onto white card stock). Along with reading the Teacher’s Guide from the pdf, I have chosen to print the student pages no more that one or two lessons at a time so that it isn’t overwhelming.
This program has 36 four-day weeks, which should carry through an entire school year. We educate through the year though, so I may slow it down a bit, both to accommodate our year and to accommodate the slower learning pace we have here.
Here are “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” working through a lesson:
We decided it was easier to do the pages on the table and THEN place them into the notebooks.
Neither of the boys are complaining about doing this (a refreshing change!), and agreed with me that the lessons are not overly long. This is very “Charlotte Mason” friendly, including picture study and poetry right along with the grammar and phonics.
There was a time when I much preferred physical products, but I have gradually come around when it comes to downloadable versions. I have four children of varying disabilities and levels, so having the digital version is such a great help!
If you like a program that is very easy to use whether it’s the physical or digital version, I recommend Eclectic Foundations Language Arts. If you are not sure, you can easily check it out for free. Download the Scope and Sequence here, a 58 page preview of the first four weeks here, and the Phonics Sheets and Word Cards here. Doing this aided me both in deciding that I really wanted to try this program with my kids, and in choosing which level to ask for to review.
The digital format is $30.00, an extremely good price even if you have only one child. I have four!
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