Barefoot Ragamuffin Curricula has a great selection to choose from, and they are extremely generous in sharing them with us at no charge to review for you, our amazing readers.
We reviewed level 3 of English Lessons Through Literature (ELTL) last school year, and still love the way things are organized. Level 4 continues the study of English grammar and sentence structure through a wealth of well planned exercises, activities, and literature from a variety of sources. There are a few Bible passages included in the exercises, but those are easily substituted with something you prefer.
The assigned books in the program are freely available in the public domain, so you won’t have to break the bank buying books. I have found that my twins prefer physical books over digital, but that’s their preference (and mine), so I find inexpensive paperback copies for them to read.
There are three lessons per week, for a total of 108 lessons in a school year. ELTL has a two-week cycle of lessons, including a model story, playing with words, narrative and writing exercises, and literary analysis. Kids will learn about condensed, amplified and slant narratives, along with scientific and historical narrations. One thing you will not find in ELTL is busy work. Every lesson and activity has a reason to be there.
You’ll find just enough sentence diagramming to make English language structure more understandable, but not so much that you’ll want to run screaming for the hills. I did not enjoy diagramming when I was in school, but I don’t mind it here because I feel like it is always appropriate to the lesson and not just for the sake of diagramming.
The fables, short stories, and poetry in the book are wonderful, and my boys who hate copywork or dictation will happily write a poem to memorize and read, and don’t fight (much) when there is English work to do. The last year of school has seen tremendous growth in their writing, partly due to natural progression; but I also credit to English Lessons Through Literature and the terrific explanations given for each part of speech, and how to use them properly. We can talk about how the words fit together in a sentence, why you need to have a subject and predicate, and how to find them in the sentence. This understanding has helped improve their writing.
This homeschool ELA curriculum is primarily Charlotte Mason with a bit of the Classical method included. This suits us very well, because we like the structure and foundation that the Classical methods offer, but some of the curricula can be a little on the dull side for kids.
ELTL is very affordable, level 4 is $45 for the book and $15 for the workbook. The workbook is optional, but I think it’s a good addition to the set. It’s geared for grades four and up, and you can download a sample set from Lulu.com for free before buying at Lulu or Amazon. For more information on English Lessons through Literature Level 4, please visit their site at www.barefootmeandering.com.
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