The Logic of English has released their second edition of Essentials!
Now, normally, I don’t get super excited over second editions. Normally, second editions are just a small revamp of the original. Normally they just fix a rogue comma or misspelling here and there, maybe they add in an additional chapter. Not LOE. Nope, Essentials second edition is practically a whole new beast. If you are curious as to what the first edition is like (and you may be, the first edition is on clearance while supplies last) you can read my review of it . . . and then you’ll know just how much this has changed.
Logic of English in a Nutshell
Logic of English is a language arts program that is heavily phonics based. The gist is that once your child understands the nuts and bolts of the English language, they’ll have a much easier time working with it. When I was tutoring kids with this program, we called this program our “secret code” – once the kids got the code down, their reading, vocabulary and spelling skills improved exponentially.
Kids first learn phonograms, and then layer in spelling rules, grammar concepts and latin & greek morphemes (and other foreign roots). This one program covers reading & phonics, spelling, grammar & mechanics and vocabulary.
The second edition of Essentials contains three levels of instruction, in one book. This means this program can be used to teach all of your children in the 1st-7th grade age range. You can teach all of the kids at exactly the same time. The first level, Level A, is approximately the same level as the original edition of Essentials. B and C both are more challenging.
In our house, I am teaching level A (approximately grades 1-3 depending on the student) and level C (grades 5-7ish) at the same time. We all sit around the dining table, and I teach the main parts of the lesson to all of the kids at the same time. When it comes time for differentiated activities, I may have one child start a worksheet page, or practice their phonograms on the App, while I work with the other. During spelling lists, I will dictate one word to the first child, then to the second while the first writes. Easy peasy.
The new edition also includes morphemes for the third level (Level C). Children at this level will learn roots and phonograms borrowed from other languages right from the first lesson, and apply those roots to both their spelling words and vocabulary.
On a more superficial level, the new edition is better laid out, is more colorful, and is easier to use. The paper is thicker and of a better quality. Instead of the large weekly lessons, the program has now been broken down into smaller, daily lessons. You no longer need to set the pace on your own, which makes it even more open-and-go. This edition also includes placement tests, pre-lessons to get kids up to speed with the basics, and a clear integration of the Spelling Journal.
This program is intended to be repeated three times (each child can complete levels A, B and C), so you can dig deeper and deeper over the years, with all of your children.
What is the same?
The foundation of the program is still the same solid phonics-based program. It is still a teacher-led program. It still incorporates dictation, plenty of practice, and of course, games. LOE is a program that we all do together as a family, and it’s the one teacher intensive program that is still hanging out on my shelf, even when my time has become more scarce.
This is an intense program. These books are thick and are packed full of information. Teaching essentials takes 30-60 minutes each day, depending. LOE requires plenty of practice- your kids can drill the rules, phonograms and morphemes with each other, with the flashcards, and with the app. You may feel overwhelmed when the curriculum first arrives. Take a deep breath, and chill- I promise it contains a ton of teacher training (and, there is a video-based teacher training available FREE on YouTube).
This is an expensive program . . . at first glance. Remember that this one program is THREE LEVELS of curriculum. If you have six kids, you can use this program again, and again, and again with all the kids. For me, the cost breakdown is worth it. Many other spelling programs are going to have you buying a new level each year. Not Logic of English. This is a one-stop shop. If you purchase the PDF version of the workbook, you’ll just have to pay to print it each year (this is a massive workbook though- it’s probably more cost-effective to just buy the workbook). If you already own the first edition of Essentials, all you need is the upgrade kit.
The second edition is split into two volumes. It includes 10 pre-lessons, and 15 regular lessons. These are big, beefy lessons, and at the pace we are working, I anticipate they will take my family almost a complete year to do. For a dedicated family, who is willing to work about an hour today, it will likely take you a semester to complete.
I have the first edition on my shelf, and yes, I would still pay out of pocket to buy the new edition. I’m a fan girl though, and it IS that much better to have the two advanced levels and the morpheme instruction. I doubt you will regret the upgrade if you have a. a boatload of kids, or b. a kid who needs their reading and spelling skills to take off.
Things to look forward to:
The Essentials Reader, which is out as a PDF now, and in print soon, which will include lovely leveled stories and articles for each lesson, as well as a workbook and supplementary teachers manual for emergent readers (my Level A kid will be getting this- stand by for a review).
Volume 2 will be released in early 2017.