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ELTL Reviews


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Samples are found here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/kathy-jo-devore/samples-english-lessons-through-literature/ebook/product-21697611.html


We like ELTL, having done level 1, and almost finished with 2. My daughter doesn't always enjoy the read-alouds, and I've substituted other books in place of suggested ones while still using the copywork in the workbook. DD doesn't seem to notice or care about this at all. The instruction seems sound, and her retention is about what I would expect for an 8yo who doesn't enjoy grammar and won't pretend to, either. In short, it's getting the job done. I've flirted with going to FLL3 after this, just because DD seems to be a "git-er-done" type on language arts, but I don't know if I will. I already have ELTL3, so I probably shouldn't bother. We do plan to do Treasured Conversations at some point as well. 


Anyway, I like the program. I like Kathy Jo and her willingness to reach out to her users and connect with them (via her Yahoo Group). I like the slow pace as it suits me and my kiddos. I would recommend checking out the samples and see how they roll in your family. She gives you plenty of pages in the sample to get an idea of how her program flows.

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We switched to ELTL this year.  I'm using levels 2, 4, & 5 with my oldest 3.  So far I really like it!  I'd been looking for a open-and-go Charlotte Mason LA program for years and haven't been happy with any I'd tried until now.  I also like the classical elements like diagramming, memory work, and more writing instruction (than just basic narrations).  My DD is a very reluctant writer and she's done well with the writing so far.  I like the literature selections...My older two read theirs on their own and I either read aloud the 8yo's or set her up with Librivox (most of the titles are on there).  


I have made 2 changes.  Two of my DC are using SCM's Print to Cursive Proverbs.  It's a program that includes manuscript copywork alternated with cursive instruction.  Once they finish this, I plan on having them complete their ELTL copywork in cursive.  My oldest is selecting her own passages (as it has them do in level 5).  For dictation we are using Spelling Wisdom.  Not only did I already have the first two levels, but I like my DC studying the passages and quotes from a variety of sources and the selections are chosen to include the 6,000 most frequently used words.  ELTL uses passages selected from the literature readings.


Another thing we do is combine everyone for one picture study (I just select one of their artists).  For poetry, I read aloud everyone's poems together.  When I repeat the poems in future years (as their siblings use the same level), I'm hoping they'll remember some of their old favorites.  I was really glad to figure out that we could still do poetry and picture study as a family.  Another thing I've done is to set everyone up with divided index card notebooks.  One section contains their memory work (mostly grammar definitions) and the other contains their poems to memorize.  We go through these are a group as well, and they just join in with the definitions they are working on.  For the poems, I have them read their poem aloud every time we read poems from the new lesson.



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I looked at the samples. Do you pretty much choose what you do each day? Or do you read a chapter from the book one day, the fable one day and the poetry one day? I think I'm confused on how it flows during the week.


It's all laid out from one thing to the next. The fables and poems are interspersed at regular intervals amid the book assignments. You read or listen to one book at a time.

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In a typical ELTL lesson:
  • The child listens or reads the literature, depending upon his age.
  • A brief lesson explores a grammatical concept. Examples are taken from the literature.
  • In levels 3 and up, there’s a short writng exercise. The child might analyze words from the new narration story, change a sentence from the story, or imitate a descriptive paragraph.
  • The child listens or reads the poem and the Aesop’s fable.
  • The lesson ends with a short exercise and copywork. The exercise sentences are also from the literature.
  • Once per week, there is either a written narration or a picture study.


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There is no such section. You open to the first page on Monday, do exactly as it says.


On Tuesday, open to the next page and do exactly as it says.


On Wednesday, you open to the next page and do exactly as it says.


All you need is the current book being read (or the librivox recording of it). On each page for each day, it tells you exactly what to read/listen to and what to do next.


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Okay, I completely understand now. Wow! Can not believe how much of a mind block I was having. For some reason, I was thinking that each numbered lesson was supposed to be split up over three days. I'm not sure how my mind got that in itself. 


I thought that the first time I looked at it too.  I also completely overlooked where it said what to read!  After staring at it for a long time it clicked.  I'll blame it on a lack of coffee.  

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Here is how I've been scheduling it.  I break our lessons up throughout the week.  We do copywork 3 days per week and dictation 2 days per week.  We do poetry & memory work 3 days per week.  We do the remaining portions of the lessons 3 days per week (grammar, writing, the folk tale, & grammar exercises).  If you're doing the math, that means one day per week we have a full lesson, but I usually break it up throughout the morning with other subjects in between.   Usually they work on the literature reading while I"m making lunch (DD often listens to her reading on Librivox or I can read it if I have something in the oven).


My older two often do their lessons on their own, but sometimes we do them together.  I always work with my 8yo since she's not as strong a reader...usually we take turns reading the lesson.  It's a bit of jumping around, but with 3 DC, I've found this takes less time than doing their lessons all at once. 

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I really love ELTL. We have done 1 and are 1/2 way through 2. (I also have 3 which I have read through). I had planned on using 1 just for the copywork in 1st, then moving on to something else for grammar and reading. My writing adverse son actually enjoyed doing the copywork b/c it came from something we just read. He likes that sort of thing.


I at first didn't get the samples of later levels but the more I looked at it the better I liked it. Here's what we did.


Level 1: We did 3 days a week (that is the recommendation.)

I read the story at snack time. (Five children & It and Jungle Book we divided up. 1/2 at snack and 1/2 at bedtime.

During lesson time I read the poem & fable. Every third lesson is a narration lesson. It alternates between 1.) picture study (in which the child would tell you about the picture) and 2.) the child drawing a picture about the fable of the day. Toward the last 1/3 of the level, the child would orally narrate the fable. (In the end there is still space to draw a picture also.)

Then my DS would do the copy work.


Grammar lessons include nouns and action verbs ( done orally) and the use of quotes to show someone is speaking.


Level 2: Lessons are written in a 3 day copywork pattern which is in addition to copywork from the story. So repeating every 2 weeks.

Day 1: Scripture Verse

Day 2: Picture Study Narration (not written).

Day 3: Poem (usually 4 lines every 3 days until poem is finished)

Day 4: Maxim

Day 5: Fable Oral Narration. -one sentence you use for child's copywork

Day 6: Poem.


Grammar lessons are really gentle & short! and use passages from the story. The child then marks up ONE passage from the story. (In the wb space is also given for the child to draw a picture of the passage.) The lessons do spiral back so they are constantly reviewing. It also does not FEEL like the child has to get every thing right away as it will come up again.


Grammar Lessons include nouns (person, place, things, ideas - all introduced separately.), pronouns action verbs, state of being verbs, linking and helping verbs, adj, adv, & prep. Direct & indirect quotes, contractions, abbreviations, and homophones/homonyms are also discussed. Days of the week, Months, Seasons are reviewed/memorized via poems. Address, Phone # is used in copy work, addressing envelopes/writing letters are also covered.

The definitions of grammar terms are also supposed to be used for memory work.


Writing includes the oral narrations and then starts to build toward the end with written narrations, prepared dictation, and some exercises like turning direct quotes to indirect. This all builds up slowly.


Each day also includes a poem and a fable to read.


How we do it.

I read the chapter during breakfast.


We Do the memory work after our morning "music"/wiggle time. We use the copywork for memory. So everyday we recite the current scripture, maxim and poem, then 1 set of past memory work. 1 set for Mon, Tues & We'd, & Thurs. so that we are reviewing old ones a week, then eventually once a month (on Fri.) We do a different grammar def. everyday.


I do the grammar lesson right after memory work. I guide my DS as he marks up the passage. Memory & Grammar are done in less than 10 min.


I actually DON'T read the poem and fable most days. I also do literature with TOG and also different things with my 1 yo & 6 yo, so something had to go. The daily poem is different then the copywork poem. She suggests letting the child pick out one of the daily poems to memorize but it is easier for me to have him memorize the poem he is doing for copywork.

My DS then draws a picture to go with the day's chapter and does his copywork independently.


To me the curriculum just "flows" and gets a lot done with a minimum of work for me. I did get the workbook (I printed & spiral bound it). It saves time on me (not having to write out) and aggravation (as in "I lost the page" the passage was on).

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