I’ve been using First Language Lessons from the Well Trained Mind for three years now. Currently, I am using Level 1 for my first grader, Raccoon, and just finished Level 2 with my third grader, Beaver. Now that I have completed the first two levels I decided to share what I think about the curriculum.
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I love how it is completely scripted. This is the feature that attracted me the most. First Language Lessons tells you exactly what to say and what the child should say. This is great for me because it’s one less than for me to think about.
You need just the one book. Not many extra materials are required, thus convenient. Occasionally you might need a piece of paper and pencil.
All the different elements First Language Lessons uses are great and fits along nicely with that Charlotte Mason style of education. It has a strong emphasis on poem memorization, repetition, recitation, narration, copywork, and picture narration. With all the different elements, the lessons don’t get too repetitive and boring. Both Beaver and Raccoon enjoy the poem memorization. They get so excited when they memorize a new verse and can’t wait for reciting it to daddy.
The lessons are generally quick but thorough. Short lessons are great for Raccoon who has a short attention span. The short lessons are also more ideal for me because our days can be quite hectic and short lessons are more achievable.
Another awesome aspect of First Language Lessons, is the books are very affordable and non-consumable. I favor any curriculum that can be passed down to the next child. This is a big plus for us, a large family on a budget.
In Level 2, about halfway through the book, it starts introducing dictation with your child. I was a little surprised by that. I do think second grade is a little too early to start dictation. Beaver is not the best at spelling and would just get frustrated with dictation. I don’t know if maybe it’s just my kid, but once again, I felt that dictation was introduced a little too soon. I would just have him copy whatever it was that needed to be dictated.
Admittedly, I was a little nervous at first and often had the feeling of “where are we getting at with this”. I believe this was out of unfamiliarity with the method. I was not taught grammar this way, so trusting First Language Lessons took a huge leap of faith for me. However, I do plan on continuing with First Language Lessons and I feel confident in doing so because Beaver has always scored very well on standardized tests in the grammar category. Beaver and I are going to be starting First Language Lessons Level 3 this week! Both the kids and I enjoy First Language Lessons and I highly recommend it. I myself have learned a lot!
Do you have any experience with The Well Trained Mind’s First Language Lessons, good or bad? Comment below, I would love to hear other people’s opinion on the curriculum.