Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Eclectic Foundations ~ A Review

Eclectic Foundations believes that a solid foundation is crucial to education. My 3rd grader is working through Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level C a great, back to the basics language arts curriculum. There are currently three levels to the Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Curriculum with a fourth coming April 2017. Level C is geared for students in the 3rd-4th grade range.

Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level C includes:

  • Student Workbook
  • Teacher's Guide
  • McGuffey Word Cards Level C
  • Phonics Practice Sheet
Along with the above you will need to print out a copy of the McGuffey's Second Eclectic Reader. You can access free copies of the McGuffey Readers online. I would highly recommend you printing and spiral binding the Reader. You can also purchase copies of the McGuffey Readers online. Eclectic Foundations does not sell these on their website. The Readers are intended to accompany the curriculum.

McGuffey's Second Eclectic Reader

Originally published in 1879, McGuffey Readers are still relevant and great learning tools. In the introduction the student will be given a brief overview of the articulation marks used throughout the reader. A short punctuation guide is also included. There are 71 lessons in McGuffey's Second Reader. Each lesson includes a whimsical picture that correlate to the lesson. Lesson contents vary from stories, poems, letters, informative information, and hymns.  Even though, for the most part, the content was written over a century ago it is still relevant. Much like great literature the contents of McGuffey Readers is rich and meaningful. 

Here are some snippets from the reader:

Lesson LV

I know that God made the sun
To fill the day with light:
He made the twinkling stars
To shine all through the night.

Lesson XLIII

"Come, little leaves," said the wind one day. 
"Come o'er the meadows with me, and play;
Put on your dress of red and gold, --
Summer is gone, and the days grow cold."

Lesson XXI

Bees live in a house that is called a hive. 
They are of three kinds. -- workers, drones, and queens. 

My 3rd grader was able to easily read the selections and learned so much. Some of the lessons are written in cursive which made my daughter's eyes show fear. I have not introduced cursive to her yet but she was pleasantly surprised that she could read it! The style of cursive used is reader friendly to kiddos not familiar with cursive. My daughter really like the pictures that were included with the lessons. Often times she studied the pictures for a bit before beginning the lessons so that as she read the lesson she could picture in her mind what she was reading. Of course she did comment that she wished the pictures were in color. I explained that often times a long time ago pictures were sketched without color as is the case with the McGuffey Readers. The lessons are not too long, at the most 2-3 pages. Each lesson has wholesome content such as moral components, character building, biblical truths, life lessons, etc. for the student to glean. At the end of each lesson I felt like my child came away with more than just academic progress. 

Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Student Workbook

The student workbook has a total of 144 lessons. Each lesson contains a word list, handwriting/memory work, and grammar. The intent is to cover 4 lessons a week for 36 weeks. I did not follow the suggested plan. Some days my daughter did multiple lessons while other days she only did one. It is highly recommended that when a child shows a particular interest in a lesson that more time be taken to explore a particular topic. Whether that be going to the library and getting books on the subject, searching the internet, coming up with a craft or project, or merely discussing the topic further with the child. "One of the best gifts that you can give your student is the freedom to learn." This statement is so very true! Homeschooling provides the opportunity to explore interests, pursue passions, and make learning a part of ones everyday life instead of being confined to "school hours."

Handwriting/Memory Work utilizes scripture, famous quotes, and sayings. The Word List in each lesson is meant to be seen as a way for the student to become familiar with words that they will see in everyday reading. The Grammar part of each lesson reinforces proper grammar instruction. The grammar lessons and the McGuffey Word Cards are meant to complement each other.

My daughter liked that the lessons were quite short and easy to complete. She was quick to memorize the Memory Work selections. I loved the Handwriting section.

Phonics Practice Sheet

This handy laminated page is perfect for practicing the work lists in the student book. My daughter loved that she got to use a dry erase marker! Simply write, wipe, and repeat. 

Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Teacher's Guide

This guide gives you the teacher step by step instructions for each lesson. The guide starts with an introduction and overview to get you started. Each lesson in the teacher's guide is broken down into sections that correlate to your child's workbook. 

McGuffey Word Cards Level C

These stock card pages are the perfect complement to the program. Your child will color these cards based on their part of speech.

  • Nouns Red
  • Pronouns Pink
  • Adjectives Orange
  • Verbs Green
  • Adverbs Yellow
  • Prepositions Blue
  • Conjunctions Purple
  • Interjections Black
Several additional uses for the work cards are given in the teacher's guide.

Overall, I absolutely loved this program. The curriculum is simple yet rich in content. I would highly recommend this program to others. If there was one thing that I would change about the program, that would be that the student workbook include a primary handwriting style page to copy the handwriting/memory work instead of just lines. 

To read more reviews click here.

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