Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WinterPromise Language Arts 3 {WorkBasket Wednesday}

In that past I have been piecing Kayley's Language Arts together.  In fact, following the Well Trained Mind recommendations I used a lot of Susan Wise Bauer's Peace Hill Press products in conjunction with Rod & Staff English.  We liked it.  But, I had wiggle room in my budget and for no reason other than it just "looked fun" we purchased WinterPromises Third Grade Language Arts program called "Tracking Down Good Grammar" featuring Scout the Dog.  So far, we love it and I'm happy to give my readers a walk-through of some of its features!

There are several components to this program.  You need the teachers guidebook, Student Books A-D, Wordly Wise 3000 book 3, and Spellwell B, Bb and answer key.  I purchased the Teachers Guide and Student Books as .pdf downloads, printed them myself and had them spiral bound at Staples.  I really adore buying this way when I can because it lets me write all over the teachers guide and workbooks without remorse (or fear of retaining its resale value) and then print out another if I decide to use them again.  It is also cheaper and saves on shipping AND I get it right away (I dig instant gratification - its a fatal flaw).

The teachers guide is a simple grid format.  You can see from the photo below that this Language Arts program includes Grammar, Creative Writing, Handwriting, Spelling, Vocabulary, and at the very bottom, depending on which Themed Study you are in, Kayley's independent reading assignment.  Since we are doing the Animals Themed Unit, she is reading Classic Starts Black Beauty.

The student workbook pages are fun!  
This activity sent Kayley on a capitalization scavenger hunt!

Each page is themed with Scout the Dog 
(we really like programs that offer a storyline or theme)

A feature I really like is the creative writing.  Last year, using Writing With Ease, we learned a lot about how to summarize and write a synopsis of a story or paragraph.  Creative writing seems to tickle a different part of the brain and it has been fun to try it out....

The Spelling program WinterPromise schedules is Spellwell B.  You start each week with a pretest, make corrections, and then as the teacher you can add any extra words as you see fit at the bottom.  Now, at the very bottom of the page it says that if you get all your spelling words correct or only miss 1 then you do the "alternate" assignment at the bottom of each page...

Here is an example of Tuesday's homework in the Spellwell book.

For Vocabulary, Wordly Wise 3000 Book 3 is scheduled.  
This is a simple straight-forward way to learn some vocabulary.

Now--  What do we really think of Language Arts 3?
We really do like it!  I've had to do some "tweaking" to make it fit us a little better, but not much.  Kayley really likes the Grammar, Creative Writing and Handwriting just as it is....  (FYI: handwriting makes the transition to cursive in Student Book B.)  She really loves how hands on many of the activities are, like scavenger hunts, interviews, writing about books she is reading, etc.

You can see from the sample of week 3 where I have changed spelling to All About Spelling 3 and added in First Language Lessons 2 and Writing With Ease 3.  What WinterPromise Language Arts has done for us is replaced BJU Handwriting, Rod & Staff English, and random Literature in a one-stop-shop format that is fun and engaging.

Ok, so, you might be wondering why I replaced and added a couple of things.  Here is why:

1.  All About Spelling* is just way, way, more awesome than SpellWell...  To start the 1st 3 weeks of Spellwell Kayley aced all the words.  We could follow the "alternate" assignments as listed but they typically involved "writing a paragraph using your alternate spelling words" or something similar.  (pass!)  It also seemed crazy to write in the book when we were only using every 5th page.  Plus, we used AAS Level 1 and 2 and we really LOVE the hands on approach to spelling and felt that it is more rigorous in learning the actual RULES of spelling.  (*affiliate link)

2.  First Language Lessons 2 (and FLL 1 that we completed last year) is all oral and focuses on memorizing grammar definitions, word lists, poetry, and much more.  While I've tried this year to get a little more "Charlotte Mason" I find that I can't just leave the Classical behind and dump some memory work.  We were only midway through book 2 at the end of last year so I want to finish it this year.  There is NO hurry on this book.

3.  Writing With Ease has the child reading through a story and learning how to pull out information to narrate a summary either orally or in writing.  This is SUCH an important skill that Kayley still needs so much work on.  It is just "different" than creative writing.  This is more technical writing.  It is simple to implement and we can do it in less than 10 minutes...  

We will definitely be continuing with Winter Promise Language Arts this year.  It has been a nice break from piecing other curricula together and I admit I was getting burned out on constantly trying to create the "rigor" that is Classical. 

It's also affordable.  I bought the eBook set for $69.00,  printed them myself and had them spiral bound for less than $10.00.  I purchased Spellwell and Wordly Wise through Christian Book Distribution.  

So, there you have it!  I hope this review of LA3 helps someone!  Thanks for stopping by!!

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