Well Ordered Language – Review
I didn’t know much about Well-Ordered Language when I bought the 1A student edition earlier this school year. I thought it’d be a bit of a last-ditch effort for my (ahem, older) kids to properly learn grammar after doing practice with Daily Grams, some IEW sentence wrangling, and some really great Ruth Heller picture books when my two were younger. Nothing seemed to stick. They could stumble through the two afore-mentioned curriculums; paying attention just enough to get them done within the prescribed 3 minutes a day, but they had zero interest or motivation to allow the sticky notes of information in their brain to actually…stick.
I’d read a different book from Classical Academic Press and had heard quite a bit about the program so…why not? I’d try it out to see if we could get anywhere with it. I’m very pleased to inform you that we’re just now finishing up Book 1B and will work steadily through 2A until the end of term, teaching two kids of different ages, and abilities and the ‘notes have stuck!’
Easily Adaptable Language Arts Program
Well-Ordered language can be taught to any child at any level. It starts at the very beginning of basic grammar and sentence structure, with subjects and predicates, and moves through levels 1-4, with both A and B components or two books per year, one per semester, for four years/levels. I’ve only done level 1 so far, so I’ll stick with talking about that, but I’ve been very impressed with not only the ease and logical progression of the program, but the adaptability, and the quality literature and language it tucks in between the covers, as well.
My children are not grades 3 and 4, as suggested for the Classical school’s use, but are in middle school. One has diagnosed learning disabilities, the other, just assumed (and not as severe). The ‘stickiness’ of concepts is often a cause of low executive function. A lot of review, slow pace and daily practice with solid momentum helps a lot. A beginner program that can be adapted to use for older students is always something I’m keeping an eye out for.
Although there are some portions that we’ve skipped due to age (like the songs/chants–these help younger kids, I’m sure, but my older kids just feel like they are too ‘babyish’. Fair enough-if they can master the content, they can skip that exercise in each chapter). I also have adapted the program for two students to use one book as opposed to just one. It cuts my cost in half, but it also cuts the work in half, though they still get the quality content, teaching, and review. Those who struggle with a lot of writing/content at one time, this ‘less work more often’ system is very helpful.
Great Layout and No Drivel!
The content is excellent. Classical Academic Press (CAPs) always uses quality literature, poetry, and Latin words/definitions in their teaching, which I strongly prefer to made-up sentences that amount to drivel or uninteresting paragraphs you’d find on a standard test. My kids have had a broader understanding of the grammar rules because the way they lay out everything is, as Goldilocks says, “just right”. It’s orderly and you don’t spend too little or too much time on it before moving on to the next concept, which just builds on the prior one. It is aptly named.
Complimentary Writing Program
Well-Ordered Language has a sister writing program, called Writing and Rhetoric, and although I didn’t know it at the time, they mesh beautifully together. That was just a happy little accident that worked out for the benefit of my family by working through them side by side. (See also: last-ditch efforts)
Working Well-Ordered Language together with Writing and Rhetoric has improved my children’s ability to understand the parts of a sentence, grammar rules, and amplification with description and dialogue drastically within one year. Their writing ability has sky-rocketed in the last 6 months alone. I am very pleased with these two programs, see the immense benefits of working them in tandem, and will continue to use them next year. I’m just a little disappointed I didn’t know about them until this past year!
If you’d like to know more on how to adapt them to different ages, and abilities, or have more questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I’ll be in touch.
My name is Sarah Mast and I homeschool my two kids in Ft. Langley, BC. One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is the community gained, and I volunteer with a local support group to help foster that and connect others. My family loves the outdoors and traveling, and our weekends include skiing, swimming, hiking, or biking depending on the season. I found Classical Education Books at a conference and noticed their well-curated selection of children’s books. I kept tabs on their collection of the classics and hard-to-find books and reached out. Now I get to help customers hone their collections, and work on the ever-growing inventory here at CEB!