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Have you done either of them? Would you do them again? Why or why not?


I am specifically thinking of using one of these for K or 1st (currently using MFW K with my oldest, not sure I'm diggin' it).;


Opinions, rants, raves, anicdotes, stories, anything will be greatly appreciated!



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I'm using MFW K for the 2nd time and loving it. Maybe if I knew what you weren't digging about it?


Just started ECC with my 4th grader, and started Writing Strands at the same time - I'm not in love with it yet, but I think it's more a learning curve for me issue, rather than a problem inherent to the program. I need more time with it before I can really tell give you a definitive opinion.


Also using Intermediate Language Lessons, which we started back in the fall. I like it a LOT, but I'm pretty Charlotte Mason minded, and I think that's the approach here and with MFW's other LA recs, at least in the primary grades.


Haven't started a spelling program yet. Well, tried Spelling Workout way back in 1st grade, but hated it and have used copywork and studied dictation a la Charlotte Mason ever since. Debating spelling programs to use for next fall.


I'm sure this was not helpful, but I think I need a more specific question...




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I've never used MFW, but I tried SL LA 2 Adv, LA 1, and LA K. Actually, I tried to do LA K twice, with 2 different children. :glare:


I disliked the entire way they approached LA. The backbone of the program is "creative expression". I felt like the assignments didn't include enough explicit instruction. I wrote a review of it on the SL forums. I'll just include it here:


We're in week 12 of using both LA 1 and LA 2 Adv. I went with SL LA because I knew I needed something different than what we were using (FLL and WWE), but I didn't quite know what direction to go.


I haven't been particularly happy with SL LA, and I have been trying to figure out what is not clicking for me. Here's what I think our problems with it are--maybe it'll give you a little insight into what's not clicking with you:



  • Spelling: my kids are natural spellers, so the spelling words seem a little pointless. I read them the spelling words on the 1st day and they already know how to spell all (or at least 9 out of 10 ) of them
  • vocab: it's not really scheduled in the IG, so I don't generally get to it in any formal way. If we come across a word in the read-alouds that I think dc might not know, then I define it on the spot. I think that's one way SL expects vocab to be covered, but I don't need to pay for the LA program to do that.
  • handwriting: again there's a space for it on the IG, but it's covered separately.
  • creative expression: of course, this is the meat of the program (at least at the levels we're using). We have the copywork once a week, which dc hate, but I understand the value in it. Then we'll spend a day on the activity sheet assignment, and a couple days of creative writing assignments. I don't like the creative writing assignments, and it's been hard for me to say why. I guess I feel like there's not enough explicit instruction going on.


Today, dd was asked to replace some words from a few sentences with more "effective" words, and I was to encourage my child to use more vivid vocabulary in their writing. It gave a couple of examples of "effective" words, but I still felt like saying, "huh?" I understand that "snarled" is a better description than "made and angry face", but I still feel like a lot of the assignments tell dc to go "write something", without really teaching anything.


On another forum, I have recently discovered some discussions about gifted children (dd, at least, is moderately gifted), and curricula targeted to them. It has given me some insight into dc's learning styles. For one thing, they tend to dislike incremental, spiral instruction. A pp mentioned that SL LA is meant to be spiral. I think that is where my frustration is coming from. I keep thinking, "Ok, that's nice, but when are we going to LEARN something?" I want explicit grammar instruction. I want Latin and Greek word roots in my vocab instruction. I want to read classic poetry and have someone show me exactly what poetic devices the author used, and what effect those have on the reader.


I agree with the natural language instruction to some extent. Children definitely need to be exposed to good writing. But I think they also need to be explicitly shown what makes the writing good, and how to produce good writing themselves. That's where I feel that SL LA is lacking.

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I am using MFW K for phonics with my son. We LOVE it. I wish I had looked into it with my daughter, because I know she would have loved it, too. I like how they get them blending letters with the blend ladder from the beginning, and everything is so systematic and well built into their program. While I have been using Sonlight now for 3 years with my daughter, the language arts never fit. I love their Readers 2 and up, but opted to do something different with her for phonics, and then started her in Readers 2, but still don't use the corresponding LA. (We are planning on switching to MFW as our main curriculum for next year.) I will say MFW does move a little slowly for a student that might not need a lot of review on letter sounds and blending (My son does, but my daughter would have been able to do this level at a much younger age). Some in K might be ready for 1st grade LA.

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The backbone of the program is "creative expression". I felt like the assignments didn't include enough explicit instruction.



:iagree: I tried valiantly for half a year to use LA 2 Int. with Becca and got so frustrated with the random creative assignments. We dropped it and went back to WWE and R&S. I'm so much happier and so is Becca.


We're using LA K with Sylvia but it's more of a fun diversion (she's way above that level) and we don't do ANY of the creative work. Next year she'll do CLE LA and WWE 1.


I won't use SL LA again.

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Oh no, I just bought SL LA 2 advanced and SL LA 1 regular... UGH!


FWIW, we are using SL LA this year and I am really happy with it. I know a lot of people here don't like it but I chose it because I actually like the creative expression side that it brings. Something in me does not like prescriptive writing instruction and I want my dc to be able to learn the various forms of writing but also have a writer's 'voice'. I want them to have 'room to move' in an assignment.


Anyway, we are using LA1, LA2int, 3/4, and 5, as well as two older Cores/LA. My ds6 is using LA1 and is going really well. He was writing very little when we started this program. His writing has now improved with the copywork and he actually asked this week for dictation. So, he did dictation 2 or 3 days as well. He has written similes, sentences with a series of words requiring commas, and sentences where he has learned to write with more descriptive words. He has also done a few of the composition activities which is great. I'm happy with that for a 6yo :001_smile:


Dd8 is doing LA2 intermediate and I am really happy with the Diamond Notes which has basically taught her to construct a paragraph: write topic sentence, add supporting details etc.


I find there is plenty to meet a variety of needs in the LA guide. Each week there is copywork/dictation (with extra for days when you want more), an instructional activity based on some kind of writing element, and a writing assignment.


So, I just wanted to encourage you to give SL LA a try since you have just bought it. It might just work for you. :001_smile:

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