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Cottage Press or English Lessons Through Literature


michaeljenn
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I only have brief experience with Cottage Press, but have looked over ELTL very carefully since it's been out. They are similar in many ways, but somehow my impression is that CP is more thorough. The teacher's guides alone are worth the money for me with all of the helpful information in the intro. CP has actually been used awhile by a cottage school. And there are levels from young elementary through high school. And the author has graduates. Those are my reasons for now fwiw.😊 But we are really enjoying it so far.

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I haven't used ELTL, so I can't say much about that program, but I have looked at samples.  I always felt like it wasn't as cohesive/thorough as it could be and the use of book selections bothered me somehow.  I think only getting a little bit of the story all the time would annoy both me and my daughter (in fact, it annoyed us both when we used WWE).

 

We love Cottage Press, though.  Thorough and well thought out, easy to implement because of the work book format but still so full of beautiful things....fables and fairy tales and poetry.  I plan on sticking with it straight through. :)

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No experience with both, but we're using Cottage Press Fable and Song for 6th, and really like it so far. I looked seriously at ELTL and decided that Cottage Press looked easier to implement. I also personally prefer the use of short works (fables, poems, and parables) as opposed to sections from larger books. I haven't look thoroughly at both. It's quite possible that ELTL provides an equally strong LA education in the end, but Cottage Press definitely holds your hand more.

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  • 1 year later...

Sorry to bump this, but wanted to check in with anyone using Cottage Press. Do you still love it? I'm going with RLTL for my younger girl (1st grade) who needs to learn to read (and I think reviewing phonics won't hurt my fluent reader DD8), but I'm REALLY torn between Cottage Press and ELTL for my 3rd grade DD. She reads at a 5th grade level and is a quick reader. I'm worried ELTL will drive her bananas to go slow (whereas my DD6 would enjoy taking her sweet time). I love that CP has vocab and spelling and its workbook style all tied together. After reading through every possible review I'm leaning towards that more, but I don't know if it will be weird teaching RLTL to one child and CP to the other... I plan on getting the RLTL Workbook, and I do REALLY like Kathy Jo's concepts, but the seasonal primers with the passages and the layout give me all the heart eyes. Thoughts??

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We are using cp and doing it at our own pace. We do like it but don't love it.

 

What I like:

How thorough the teachers book is

Having art and nature study scheduled

The copy work is quality literature and poetry.

I like the art study instructions and space to draw

 

What I'm underwhelmed by:

I was hoping for more from the nature study.

I think the copywork/dictation pieces are entirely too long for the age level they are geared toward.

There is not enough space to copy the long pieces.

 

I may need to re-read the teachers manual to get more from how to lead our time together. I'm just used to FLL/R&S type curriculum.

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We are using cp and doing it at our own pace. We do like it but don't love it.

 

What I like:

How thorough the teachers book is

Having art and nature study scheduled

The copy work is quality literature and poetry.

I like the art study instructions and space to draw

 

What I'm underwhelmed by:

I was hoping for more from the nature study.

I think the copywork/dictation pieces are entirely too long for the age level they are geared toward.

There is not enough space to copy the long pieces.

 

I may need to re-read the teachers manual to get more from how to lead our time together. I'm just used to FLL/R&S type curriculum.

We felt the same way and returned to R&S.

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I was in this trap too. I ended up getting ELTL 1 and 2 (combined book) and Fall, Winter, Spring Cottage Press Primer 1 set. My plan was to use ELTL 2 with DD, ELTL1 with DS and CPP1 with the other DS. That was my plan anyway....

 

What happened was ELTL is just plain great and all kids and I love it. CP was not well liked by me or my son. It is ok, and it definitely feels thorough. I could see using it and it being an amazing transition into classical writing. Still...my son sat with us and was doing ELTL because he liked it. It felt like too much for him. Plus ELTL copywork is just more developmentally appropriate. You can shorten copy work in CP but it is a pain.

 

We all switched to ELTL 2 and did the Wizard of Oz segment. Loved it so much I decided to bump everyone into ELTL 1 so we could get more years out of it :) We plan to do ELTL 1 and then next year pick back up after Wizard of Oz with 2. My daughter is in 2nd and advanced so I worried about it not being enougj. She is doing other grammar and uses VP Lit guides as well so it feels like plenty.

 

That is my long winded way of saying that ELTL is lovely and I am glad we dropped CP.

Edited by nixpix5
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We really like Cottage Press here. I am using Primer and Fable and Song. The dictations are long, so I let my kids pick the part they would like to do. It is a good mix of work without becoming tedious. I already use Writing Road to Reading, so I enjoy the spelling reinforcement. I also like using short fables and poems because we are already using Bookshark and have plenty of reading. Overall it is great for us so far(only been using it two months).

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Thanks for the input ladies. I liked that CP reinforced spelling as well. I know RLTL is phonics and spelling (and reading - which is mostly what I'm using it for... my DD6 almost 7yo needs help learning to read).  My DD8 is a fluent reader but could use some spelling and phonics review and I know she will be far more advanced than RLTL 1 (which my 1st grader needs), and I know ELTL doesn't cover the spelling and phonics since its more grammar and diagramming. Just trying to figure out how it would work to teach DD6 RLTL 1 while teaching RLTL 3 and ELTL 1 to DD8.... or if I should just give DD8 CP.  I saw the dictations/copywork were longer (my DD8 doesn't mind writing at all and is currently working on a book about magical pirate cheetahs?) and I did think the nature portion was meh, but I've got a really neat nature study thing already, so that wasn't a selling point...mostly it was the spelling, vocab and layout. Hmmmm.... I'm going to go pour over the samples again.  Thanks! I really appreciate it.

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Okay new question for ELTL users - my DD8 is rising 3rd grade. Looks like she could be between ELTL 2 and 3 (renamed to B and C)... is ELTL 1 not necessary at all? Can I do an amped/sped up version or just skip? I will be purchasing ELTL A if I go ELTL route but I can't start ELTL A with DD6 until she is more comfortable reading because I have 4yo and 3yo boys who won't allow super extended reading times unless I'm reading to them. On the couch. While they drink milk or spill crumbs everywhere. :wacko:

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Okay new question for ELTL users - my DD8 is rising 3rd grade. Looks like she could be between ELTL 2 and 3 (renamed to B and C)... is ELTL 1 not necessary at all? Can I do an amped/sped up version or just skip? I will be purchasing ELTL A if I go ELTL route but I can't start ELTL A with DD6 until she is more comfortable reading because I have 4yo and 3yo boys who won't allow super extended reading times unless I'm reading to them. On the couch. While they drink milk or spill crumbs everywhere. :wacko:

 

We jumped in with ELTL 3.  I bought it, and then wavered because it looked too difficult for my rising 2nd grader who had done a homemade program of dictation, copywork, and read alouds for 1st.  Other than modifying it slightly (the copywork is often too much for him), he has done well with it.

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Okay new question for ELTL users - my DD8 is rising 3rd grade. Looks like she could be between ELTL 2 and 3 (renamed to B and C)... is ELTL 1 not necessary at all? Can I do an amped/sped up version or just skip? I will be purchasing ELTL A if I go ELTL route but I can't start ELTL A with DD6 until she is more comfortable reading because I have 4yo and 3yo boys who won't allow super extended reading times unless I'm reading to them. On the couch. While they drink milk or spill crumbs everywhere. :wacko:

One of the unfortunate things about this forum is I read this thread and think - oh, maybe I should check out Cottage Press - but I will not do that because dd likes ELTL, and even asks for it. Even though it includes copywork, which is weird, because she often eschews writing. At any rate, to answer your question, we had gone through Shurley English 1 and WWE 1 and dropped FFL 1 faster than a hot potato. Last year, we started dd in ELTL 2, and it has been just fine. I do chose only one piece of copywork for her to do each session. We read The Wizard of Oz in 1st grade and I did not feel the need to read it again, so we have skipped the reading the book thus far. I think you could get away without reading the book if you wanted to. Thus far, it mostly gives some context to the examples used in the text.

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How did ELTL went from 1, 2,3 to now having A, B and C?

 

I am just not following at all

 

New A = Old 1

New B = Old 2

etc

 

 

There were a couple of changes along with the level designation. The main one being that Christian content (Bible verses for copywork or dictation, mostly) were removed so that homeschoolers can use homeschool charter funds to purchase. If you want that Christian content, the author has workbook files with the old copywork available.

 

From the publisher website:

 

 

ELTL is currently transitioning to a secular program. While it originally had Christian artwork, poetry, and copywork from the Bible included in it, we are removing the Christian content to make the program friendlier to those of all faiths and to make it available to those using state sponsored programs. (Note to Christian customers: You will be able to download a free file with the original Bible copywork when this change is complete. The original art files with the free color copies of the artwork will also still be available. The copywork is from the workbooks, so it is already formatted and ready to print and use. Also, the original workbooks will remain available. Read this FAQ for information about using the original workbooks with the updated textbooks.)

While making this change, we are also taking the opportunity to change the level titles. The original books were titled with numbers (Level 1, Level 2, etc.); these are the books which include Christian poetry, art, and scripture as copywork and/or dictation. The new secular books will be titled with letters and words (A – Aspiring, B – Blossoming, etc.). This will make it immediately obvious which version of the book you are buying.

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Okay new question for ELTL users - my DD8 is rising 3rd grade. Looks like she could be between ELTL 2 and 3 (renamed to B and C)... is ELTL 1 not necessary at all? Can I do an amped/sped up version or just skip? I will be purchasing ELTL A if I go ELTL route but I can't start ELTL A with DD6 until she is more comfortable reading because I have 4yo and 3yo boys who won't allow super extended reading times unless I'm reading to them. On the couch. While they drink milk or spill crumbs everywhere. :wacko:

ELTL 1 is not necessary before the other levels :)

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I haven't used ELTL, so I can't say much about that program, but I have looked at samples.  I always felt like it wasn't as cohesive/thorough as it could be and the use of book selections bothered me somehow.  I think only getting a little bit of the story all the time would annoy both me and my daughter (in fact, it annoyed us both when we used WWE).

 

We love Cottage Press, though.  Thorough and well thought out, easy to implement because of the work book format but still so full of beautiful things....fables and fairy tales and poetry.  I plan on sticking with it straight through. :)

 

beka87,

Did you end up sticking with CP (and loving it)?

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I have used both and vastly prefer cottage press.

 

Especially coming from a text and workbook format in cle and r&s, it would be a more natural progression for you then ELTL. It's in workbook format, but has all the good stuff you're looking for.

 

It is also definitely more thorough than ELTL, more quickly.

 

okbud,

Do you still prefer CP? Do you think ts more thorough?  DD8 is bright and loves reading and writing. I want to ease her into the rules, but not stay stuck there. Once She gets something, she 'gets it' and wants to implement or move on.

 

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Hi, there....Yes, we have stuck with CP and yes, we still love it.

 

Some of the cons I see listed above never came up with us - the nature study is gentle in Primer 1 and includes extensions in Primer 2 (which I actually skipped because we have our own nature study going), and one could very easily extend it further if one wished.  The copy work was long, but if you read the teacher's manual she suggests five minutes at a time and no more, with the goal of quality over quantity.  In other words, you do NOT HAVE to copy every word of every passage.  Not at all.  Same with dictation.  You're instructed to pick dictation work that will challenge your child but still be doable and work your way up.

 

The spelling was a perfect reinforcement for what we were already doing.  Vocabulary was great.  My daughter is good at picking up meaning in context, but studying the little vocab list before we'd read really made her think about the words...."Do you know what x means?"  "Yes"  (eyeing her suspiciously)..."Can you tell me what it means?"  And there followed a lot of brain work for her and an occasional trip to the dictionary.

 

I love the copy work selections.  They've inspired further reading.  I love the narrations selections.  We got to read all of Alice in Wonderland, for example, which probably wouldn't have happened otherwise.  And she loved it.

 

The grammar is done very well.  I think the level is age appropriate and it is repeated plenty to help with understanding and practice.  The primer series is over for us, which is really very sad, but there are younger siblings on the way and oldest daughter can now start Fable and Song....we're barely into that, but I can update you at some point if you like.  I love it so far. :) 

 

If you go with CP, DO read the teachers manual thoroughly.  It's not long at all and is really crucial for executing the program the way it was intended to be used.

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Hi, there....Yes, we have stuck with CP and yes, we still love it.

 

Some of the cons I see listed above never came up with us - the nature study is gentle in Primer 1 and includes extensions in Primer 2 (which I actually skipped because we have our own nature study going), and one could very easily extend it further if one wished.  The copy work was long, but if you read the teacher's manual she suggests five minutes at a time and no more, with the goal of quality over quantity.  In other words, you do NOT HAVE to copy every word of every passage.  Not at all.  Same with dictation.  You're instructed to pick dictation work that will challenge your child but still be doable and work your way up.

 

The spelling was a perfect reinforcement for what we were already doing.  Vocabulary was great.  My daughter is good at picking up meaning in context, but studying the little vocab list before we'd read really made her think about the words...."Do you know what x means?"  "Yes"  (eyeing her suspiciously)..."Can you tell me what it means?"  And there followed a lot of brain work for her and an occasional trip to the dictionary.

 

I love the copy work selections.  They've inspired further reading.  I love the narrations selections.  We got to read all of Alice in Wonderland, for example, which probably wouldn't have happened otherwise.  And she loved it.

 

The grammar is done very well.  I think the level is age appropriate and it is repeated plenty to help with understanding and practice.  The primer series is over for us, which is really very sad, but there are younger siblings on the way and oldest daughter can now start Fable and Song....we're barely into that, but I can update you at some point if you like.  I love it so far. :)

 

If you go with CP, DO read the teachers manual thoroughly.  It's not long at all and is really crucial for executing the program the way it was intended to be used.

 

Thank you so much! I am going to grab the primer 1 Autumn and the Teacher's help. I also purchased ELTL A and B (it was a combo book that I got at a great deal) I think it will be good to have since I'm fairly certain DD6 will love the slower pace of ELTL but DD8 will love the vocab, spelling, and writing in the Primer. I really appreciate you writing back!! It helped me pull the trigger to go buy it (and I also have a different nature study and am not too concerned about that)

 

btw -  ELTL B uses Alice in Wonderland... A few months ago I found a copy that was illustrated by Margaret Tarrant and have been all swoony trying to figure out how to implement - SO excited to hear CP uses it as well. :001_smile:

 

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  • 9 months later...
On 9/29/2017 at 8:23 AM, beka87 said:

I hope you all enjoy it as much as we have.  If you have any other questions at all, please let me know.  It's such a great program. ?

I have never used CP and am considering using it for a co-op class that meets once a week with approx. 3-4th graders.  With your experience, can you see that working well?

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1 hour ago, Bkpan8 said:

I have never used CP and am considering using it for a co-op class that meets once a week with approx. 3-4th graders.  With your experience, can you see that working well?

There is a pretty good YouTube review video of CPP1 that might be worth checking out. I may lack vision but I cannot wrap my head around how it would work in a co-op. It is a 4 day per week scheduled curriculum. It has a high need for teacher being present and listening to narrations, giving dictations, overseeing copywork, going through the spelling/phonics/grammarish sections not to mention the art studies and nature studies. If you have parents working with the kids at home every day and making sure they don't get behind so everyone stays on the same page, then maybe. 

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14 hours ago, Bkpan8 said:

I have never used CP and am considering using it for a co-op class that meets once a week with approx. 3-4th graders.  With your experience, can you see that working well?

How long will you have the children and how many of them are there?  I think you could adapt it to work.  Though you may be able to take the essence of how CP is set up to work and just create your own program that would fit just right into a co-op.

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6 hours ago, beka87 said:

How long will you have the children and how many of them are there?  I think you could adapt it to work.  Though you may be able to take the essence of how CP is set up to work and just create your own program that would fit just right into a co-op.

It is looking like only 3 children right now, meeting weekly for about an hour, maybe 25-30 sessions.  I plan to include poetry memorization, some brief picture study some weeks, and MAYBE discuss some lit selections.  I wanted to spend maybe half the class time each week on some grammar work, but so do not want to invent my own program over the summer.  Looking for something that is not teacher intensive.  They can do the CW at home easily, maybe some grammar practice at home..,

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I think that if you already have plans for poetry memorization, picture study, and literature selections AND plan on doing copy work at home, then CP may not be a good fit.  The Primer series is light on grammar and includes literature to read and narrate, picture study, nature study, and dictation.  I suppose you could run through multiple light grammar lessons and that would work.  You'll just be skipping a lot of the book (which is okay).  Fable and Song has lots more grammar and may be a better fit - parts of speech and diagramming and the like.  However, you'll still be skipping a large portion of the program as it is meant to teach beginning composition as well as grammar.

Perhaps a good diagramming handbook, if you are wanting to teach diagramming, and just going through marking and parts of speech and diagramming a sentence or two together would better fit what you already have planned.

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