For the first six months of the school year, we have been working our way through Language Lessons For A Living Education Level 1 (in NZ our school year is Feb-Dec).
We have almost finished the book, and I have ordered level 2, which will hopefully arrive sometime within the next 6 weeks. Shipping to NZ takes a long time!
Since level 1 is fresh on my mind, now is the best time to write a review on it to let you know how we found it…
Language Lessons For A Living Education Level 1
Language Lessons for a Living Education is a language arts curriculum by Masterbooks.
It is a Bible-based, Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum. Language Lessons includes reading living books, oral narration, art study, poem study, bible stories, and copy work. The picture books used within this curriculum are all Bible-based.
Along with the student workbook (which includes the teacher notes inside) there are three picture books that go with the curriculum:
- Charlie and Trike in the Grand Canyon Adventure – by Ken Ham
- Not Too Small At All: A Mouse Tale – by Stephanie Z. Townsend
- The Door of Salvation – by Ken Ham
You can buy the workbook and picture books individually, or you can buy them as a set from Masterbooks.com which works out to be a little cheaper.
The curriculum continues on from what students have learned in Foundations Phonics and teaches more complex phonetic rules, some basic grammar concepts, spelling, and handwriting skills.
Types of Activities Included In Language Lessons 1
These are the types of activities included in the workbook:
- Reading and discussion of the picture books
- Oral narration
- Art/picture study
- Poem study
- Scripture passages
- Writing alphabet letters
- Create your own dictionary activity
- Spelling words
- Phonetic rules
- Grammar – such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives
- Sight words
- Reading words with tricky phonics rules
- Handwriting practice
- Prompts for independent reading
- ‘Just 4 fun activities’ – such as dot-to-dots or mazes
Does my child need to know how to read before starting Language Lessons 1?
Students should have used Foundations Phonics or some other phonics course to learn how to read before starting Language Lessons 1.
To start Language Lessons 1, they should be able to read CVC words and some sight words (some free sight word worksheets for kids). They should be able to read short sentences.
Foundations Phonics is a 6-month course that can be used for the first half of 1st grade, and then Language Lessons 1 can be used for the second half of 1st grade. If used over one semester, or half of the year, lessons are 5 days per week.
Alternatively, you can use Language Lessons 1 over the course of a whole year, using the suggested daily schedule for 3 days a week, which is included at the front of the book.
Transitioning From Foundations Phonics to Language Lessons 1
I am a member of the ‘Moms of Masterbooks’ Facebook group.
Over time, I have seen quite a few comments from mothers that their children did not transition well from Foundations Phonics to Language Lessons 1. Many said there was a big learning gap between the books, and their children found Language Lessons 1 too hard and challenging to move on to.
Some mothers in this situation said they were going to spend some more time working on phonics and reading with their children and come back to Language Lessons 1 a few months later.
I did not use Foundations Phonics, although I have heard many mothers rave about it in the Facebook group. I have only ever heard good things about this curriculum.
Personally, I used ‘Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons‘ to teach my daughter to read (Bob Books are also good).
We LOVED this curriculum and found it very effective. By the end of the 100 lessons, the book states that your child is reading at a second-grade level.
After completing this book we moved on to Language Lessons 1 with no problems.
If anything, Language Lessons 1 was pretty easy for her to work through. As she went through 100 Easy Lessons, I used sight word flashcards with her, and so she already knew all her sight words before starting Language Lessons 1.
If you’re looking for a reading curriculum, then I can’t recommend ‘Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons’ enough. It has given my daughter a fantastic foundation for reading.
It also gave us a smooth transition to start using Language Lessons 1, learn more complex phonetic rules, and start to introduce some grammar concepts.
What’s Included Within the Language Lessons 1 Workbook
Here’s what’s included in the workbook:
- Scope and sequence
- One semester suggested daily schedule (5 days per week)
- Alternate one-year daily schedule (3 days per week)
- Course assessment chart
- Recommended book list for reading practice
- Book reading list
- Sight word list
- Basic phonics review page
- Phonics charts used within the book
- Grammar study sheets – these include phonics rules, basic grammar concepts, etc.
- Spelling list to write out spelling words
- Spelling word lists for each lesson (spelling words start in lesson 5)
- Create your own dictionary schedule word list
- My own dictionary template pages
- Suggested activities and games parents can use as part of their lessons
- Lowercase alphabet writing practice sheet
- Uppercase alphabet writing practice sheet
- Vowel writing practice sheet
- Consonant writing practice sheet
- Copywork practice sheets with grammar facts
- Answer keys for each lesson
Check out the sight word flash cards I made for our shop if you’d like to try them out!
Create Your Own Dictionary Activity
At the back of the book is a “Create Your Own Dictionary” section, where students can write the dictionary words they have been given, a meaning for each word, and a picture to illustrate the word. This is a fun, creative activity for students to complete at the end of each week.
At the end of the course, you can take the dictionary pages out (all pages are perforated), and make it up into a little book that showcases all their hard work during the semester.
My Overall Thoughts of Language Lessons 1
My daughter really enjoyed working through this curriculum.
She enjoyed most of all working on the ‘Create Your Own Dictionary’ part of the course. Her handwriting and spelling have improved a lot.
The curriculum comes with wonderful picture books. The Ken Ham books especially are really beautiful, high-quality books with lots of fun flaps to lift up (which my kids love)!
As a fan of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy on education, I thought the art study, poetic study, scripture study, narration and copywork were all fantastic parts of this course. The grammar exercises were fun, concepts were explained well, and the book was full of cute, colorful pictures.
It was clear which work was to be completed each day, as the exercises were labeled at the top of each page. There was a range of different activities throughout the book so that the activities didn’t feel too repetitive or boring. The book moved along at a great pace.
Here are some other FAQs:
What age is Language Lessons 1 for?
Level 1 is designed for 1st grade but can be used for kids aged 5-7 years old.
How long does Language Lessons 1 take each day?
Lessons should take approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Sometimes a lesson took us as little as ten minutes.
Look Inside Language Lessons For A Living Education 1
You can view a look inside the student workbook, as well as each of the picture books, by going to the Masterbooks website here.
My One Complaint About This Curriculum!
My only complaint while using this book was that there was too much repetition using the book ‘Not Too Small At All’.
Children are asked to narrate this story many, many times. The first five times doing so was alright, but after that it became tedious! I even started skipping this part entirely.
As there were three picture books included within the course, I expected them all to be evenly used, so that we didn’t get bored of using them.
However, most of the curriculum uses the one book, “Not Too Small At All’. I felt that there could have been a lot more variation of activities used with all of the picture books to make it more fun and interesting.
Apart from that one complaint, I think that Language Lessons 1 is a great curriculum, and we are excited to move on to Language Lessons level 2!
What resources do you use for language arts? Leave a comment below!