Review: Intermediate Language Lessons Level 3/Grade 6, by Tammy

 

My sixth-grade son had just finished two semesters of rigorous writing and grammar study, but I didn’t want him to lose the knowledge he’d gained over the summer. Intermediate Language Lessons Level 3 by Emma Serl seemed like a good way to review without feeling like hard work. Grounded in the Charlotte Mason method of teaching, ILL is gentle, yet thorough, instruction in writing and grammar. Cynthia Albright has reformatted ILL into a printable workbook for the child to write in, instead of copying the entire lesson by hand. For my pencil-phobic boy, this was a godsend.

Intermediate Language Lessons includes nature study, poetry, vocabulary, art study, grammar and usage lessons, and more. The lessons are short but effective. Mrs. Albright has included lined pages to be printed for dictation exercises. Because ILL was originally  printed in the Victorian era, Mrs. Albright has updated the postal codes and state abbreviations in the pertinent places. The one drawback, from my point of view, is that there is no teacher instruction available from the original printing. Mrs. Albright indicates that she is working on one (and has written teacher’s guides for Levels One and Two). When the teacher’s guide for Level 3 is finished, I will gladly buy it.

Like many boys, my son is not a fan of writing. The PDF format is ideal for him because we can print what’s needed – i.e. the dictation pages – and use the other pages on our iPad using the Notability app*. The app allows him to write on the “page” and delete errors, and then leave it for Mom to check. This saves on printer paper and ink, erasers, and frustration.

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Pros:

  • Charlotte Mason method – narration, copywork, dictation, grammar
  • PDF – print all at once or as needed
  • Multi-pronged approach to language arts – nature/art study, grammar, writing

Cons:

  • No teacher guide/answer key for Level 3 — if the parent isn’t familiar with CM-type instruction, this program is more difficult to implement (not impossible; just more difficult)
  • Vintage pictures – my ultra-modern son had to learn to look past the pictures

Verdict: If your heart is drawn to the gentle yet thorough instruction of the Charlotte Mason method, I highly recommend Intermediate Language Lessons Level 3 for sixth grade. This PDF program will be a blessing to your homeschool.

*There are other apps that allow you to annotate a PDF on the iPad. Notability is the one I’m most familiar with.

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 my own 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.

Tammy lives in the desert southwest where antelope play in her front yard, grazing among the rattlers and scorpions. She enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and crochet. She currently  homeschools one son.

Review: Intermediate Language Lessons Level One/Grade 4, by Caitilin Fiona

 

I have been familiar with and a big fan of Intermediate Language Lessons for at least five years. Imagine my pleasure upon receiving this new workbook format of the same material!

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Cynthia Albright has done an excellent job of reformatting a beautiful vintage work into a beautiful modern one. She has kept all of the original ease of use — lessons written to the student, seemingly simple assignments that deepen the child’s understanding of English — with the addition of modern formatting into a workbook, and small corrections in things like the forms of street addresses which have naturally changed since the original was published.

In addition, the lessons focus on beautiful things: those of nature, giving attention to topics like birds, plants, and the natural world generally; and those of humanity, giving the student examples of pretty pictures for picture study, and poems to be familiar with or memorized.

I will be honest that in some places, the old-fashioned prettiness can become overwhelming, especially in the picture study pages; but this can be remedied either by choosing an alternate picture for the child to study, or by skipping those assignments. I have done both.

My children like the ease with which they can both understand the lessons, and use the workbook format that allows them to keep all their grammar and English work in one neat place. The only way that this could be improved, in my view, is by having the option to purchase a bound version of the workbook; in our family we have a tendency to lose loose leaf pages, no matter how carefully filed in binders.

In short, this new updated workbook format of Intermediate Language Lessons is a winner, requiring little to no parent prep, yet providing a solid and manageable level of work from the students at a very affordable price of $8.95. I am pleased to give it my warmest recommendation.

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 my own 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.

 

Caitilincaitlin_fiona Fiona–Caitilin is the mother of six children, ranging from high school down to early elementary, all of whom she has homeschooled from the beginning. Her particular interests in the homeschool universe include teaching Latin, Shakespeare, and Great Books. Outside of homeschooling, her interests include languages, literature, theology, cookery and nutrition, movies, and fooling around, er, researching on the Internet.

Review: Intermediate Language Lessons Reformatted by C. Albright, Level 2/Grade 5, by Amy Rose

 

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.

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Clear Instruction

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.

Recommended

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 R12211601494_8a0a5dcb15ose–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.