I love Intermediate Language Lessons by Emma Serl. I used it with my older children so I know how gentle, thorough, and effective this book can be! The book includes art study, classic poetry and literature, vocabulary, grammar and usage lessons, composition, and more. Whenever I meet younger homeschooling families who are struggling with language arts, I always want to recommend ILL. Sometimes I do recommend it, but usually I don’t, because there’s one problem with this book: The teacher has to know what she’s doing to make it work. No instructor’s guide is included; no answer key was saved from the Victorian era when this book was written…the modern teacher is on her own. Novice home educators sometimes lack the grammar background to teach effectively with Intermediate Language Lessons. I’ve often thought that someone should make this book more accessible to everyone by reformatting and updating it and creating a teacher’s guide.
Well, Cynthia Albright stepped forward as the “someone” to do the work that I was unwilling to do! She has created a reformatted workbook edition of Intermediate Language Lessons, including a teacher’s guide and many other aids that make learning with ILL possible for every family. I am privileged to be able to review this edition for Sandbox to Socrates.
I tried out Level Two in my home, along with the Instructor Guide for Level Two. This level is intended for fifth graders but can be adjusted to accommodate slightly older or younger students. I used it with my nine-year-old, and we studied these lessons for six weeks. The materials, which are PDF downloads, can be purchased at www.intermediatelanguagelessons.com. The Level Two Workbook costs $8.95 and the Level Two Instructor Guide is $4.50. Permission is given to make as many copies as needed for the purchaser’s own family.
Professional and Beautiful Appearance
The style and artwork are classically attractive, almost vintage-looking, but my child did not find them to be dated or off-putting. He thought the style was very nice, and he was proud to add his own penmanship and coloring to the pages! Each page includes plenty of white space as well as ample room to write answers.
The Instructor Guide plainly states the objective of each lesson and the exact method for teaching it. There is no “education-ese” or lengthy jargon, rather a simple repeating of Emma Serl’s original instructions along with some explanation of what Serl meant by them, and what exactly we are to look for in the child’s work. The Instructor Guide includes an answer key and sample answers for writing assignments that will naturally vary. The instructions to the child within the workbook are also briefly and plainly stated. My son was able to understand perfectly in most cases, and the guide was there to help me when he didn’t.
Charlotte Mason Style
Mrs. Albright created a workbook for the child to write in, instead of copying the entire lesson by hand, but she did not lose the heart of the Charlotte Mason method at all in the process. The child still must do the work of understanding and composing. Narration was not abandoned for multiple choice or short answer questions! Copywork, dictation, and grammar studies are all still there. The rigor and effectiveness remain intact in this version. I compared my nine-year-old’s work with his elder brothers’ work that they did with the original whole book (years ago), and his is not lacking in any way. Yet he prefers the workbook style and I think it includes less “pencil work” that is so fatiguing for some children.
I am very pleased with this product. I will continue to use Mrs. Albright’s workbook format of Emma Serl’s book with my nine-year-old, and I will certainly recommend it without hesitation to newer homeschoolers. I think these materials are very appropriate in a classical home education setting, because Emma Serl’s original work contains classic literature, poetry, grammar lessons, and classical art; and Mrs. Albright’s workbook instructs children in copywork, narration, dictation, composition, and picture study.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
Amy Rose–Amy Rose was a middle child growing up in a trailer park in the Midwest with talented parents who struggled financially. Her future life was easy to imagine until one magical day when she was thirteen her fairy godmother gave her a box of oil pastels and a vintage textbook titled, “England in Literature.” Suddenly the entire wealth of riches found in the history of the West became to her a Holy Grail. So she grew up and learned how to classically educate her own children who all turned out to be geniuses or at least mostly teachable.