A Foundation for Fun: a Logic of English review

This review is purely out of love (I love this program!) All the materials in this review were purchased, and I received no compensation for my opinions.

Logic of English Foundations review Logic of English Foundations Phonics

This year, I made a very scary decision. I changed our phonics program to something new. I can’t tell you how many times I re-evaluated that decision and wondered if I were making the right own. We’re only a few weeks in to our new year, but I’d have to say—all my fears have been relieved!

Not only am I impressed with what Middlest is learning and the things I’m discovering about her in the process, but I am thoroughly convinced that the program must have been written with her in mind!

Logic of English Foundations teaches solid phonics and eliminates nearly all the exceptions and sight words. It teaches detailed awareness of sounds and how to make them. It teaches phonemic awareness and how to blend sounds. It teaches consonant blends and reading in a very logical, simple progression. But best of all, it does all of this in a way the child would never suspect because we’re having so much fun.

We explore sounds; we play guessing games (she “guesses” the word I’m sounding out to her, or I “guess” the word she’s sounding out to me) and scavenger hunt (she hunts for the word I’ve sounded out); we play phonogram hopscotch; we march, twirl, dance, shout, jump, and run.

Logic of English Foundations

And in the process, I’m uncovering problem areas before they become problems. For instance, in one lesson (the work page pictured above), Middlest was to stamp the picture that had the initial sound I said. When I said “ch,” she kept thinking the answer was the tree because she says “chree” instead of “tree.” And I’d never noticed before. We were able to correct the sound before it caused her trouble in her reading.

Last year, consonant blends were nearly our undoing, but this year she is learning to blend orally before she ever sees it on paper. It’s a brilliant strategy that keeps learning to read a lot of fun rather than intimidating. Last year, she dreaded phonics time and pouted nearly everyday; this year she asks to do it first. Best of all, she’s sounding out and reading simple words all on her own throughout the day, before we’ve even introduced a single reading book. I’m ecstatic about the difference!

Logic of English Foundations Cursive

Although Logic of English Foundations gives you the option for cursive or manuscript instruction, cursive is recommended; and I must say, this is another aspect of the program that I have been most impressed with.

Just the like the phonics, the writing instruction is simple, methodical, and logical. It engages both fine and gross motor skills, and it’s creative. This is Middlest’s favorite part. Games are a big part of this instruction as well, games that get my child out of her chair and moving. For my little wiggle-worm, this is ideal. We write in the air with our noses, elbows, feet, and fingers. She writes on my glass door and on my whiteboard. She writes on the line size that she is most comfortable with, and then we each draw funny faces over our favorite letter she’s written.

Logic of English

And honestly, there are days when I wouldn’t be able to tell her letters apart from mine; she’s learning it so well! As a matter of fact, I’ve retaught Oldest a few of the letters using the LOE program because he’s had so much trouble writing the letters with our original program. The LOE cursive makes so much sense and actually helps the children to be less confused about letter-formation. It’s a-mazing!

Logic of English Foundations comes in 6 different levels (A-F) with about 40 lessons each, equivalent of K4-2nd grade. These levels can be used one or more a year, depending on the level and maturity of the child. We opted for two levels this year. Though I probably could have jumped to Level B (a kindergarten equivalent), I really felt that Middlest would benefit from a quick review with the Logic of English approach. We are whizzing through Level A at about a lesson a day, and the lessons are taking roughly 20-30 minutes for both phonics and cursive instruction. We’ll slow down when we get to Level B and take a couple of days per lesson.

I couldn’t be more pleased with Foundations, and highly recommend it over any phonics program I’ve seen or used.

I received the Basic Phonograms cards as a part of an earlier review of the Essentials program. Otherwise, the only other materials I’ve purchased for Middlest are the teacher and student copies of Levels A and B and the Doodling Dragons app on iTunes for $4.99. Teacher copies are $38 each, and student workbooks are $18.

If you are looking for thorough phonics instruction that will totally engage your child, Logic of English Foundations is all that and more.

Up Hill Battles

We’ve been struggling through long vowels with Middlest over the last several weeks. It’s a battle I remember having with Oldest, too, the mental struggle to separate short vowel words from long vowel words. Except Oldest was extremely motivated to learn to read, and Middlest? Middlest likes to play and to be fast.

After several teary lessons, I drew her a picture on our whiteboard, a colorful picture of a little girl at the bottom of a big hill. I explained, as I was drawing, that sometimes in life and in learning we have to go up big hills, like the hill in front of our house. It’s hard work. And sometimes, we have to take breaks. Sometimes, we have to look for other ways to get up the hill. We might have to get off our bicycle and push our way up the hill. But one thing we never do is give up and decide not to go up the hill at all.

Then, I went “back to the drawing board” (or rather, Google and pinterest) to look for new and different ways to teach her this concept. I also called my mom, who is an ever-present wealth of homeschool know-how. We pooled ideas, and I had an inkling of what I needed for Middlest.

I made up a few worksheets from the words in her reader that were giving her trouble. I also made up a few games from resources I’d found on the internet.

Long Vowel practice

 

Marking and reading her words (without pictures, so she can't guess)
Marking and reading her words (without pictures, so she can’t guess)

By the end of the week, she was making some progress. And by the next week, she was reading her story to Daddy and clipping along through her game, even after I added new cards. But I knew that we really had made some significant progress, when I saw a picture she was drawing at the end of that week.

Look who made it to the top of the hill!
Look who made it to the top of the hill!

It brought me to tears, folks. Those up-hill battles are totally worth it.

 

Finding the windows

There is a very old Christian song I used to sing, “When God closes a door, look for a window.” I’m learning that the same could be said for teaching; when a door closes, you have to look for the open windows.

I actually love that part of teaching. I love the challenge of making something clear to a learner. And one of the things I love best about getting to teach my children is that moment of overcoming with them.

My daughter is a daily challenge. She is extremely independent, and even though she’s only four, I do try to allow her to be as independent as possible with her work. And of course, as with any area of parenting, what worked with one child rarely works with the next. So even though I’ve just been down this road with her brother not much more than a year ago, I’m still teaching it as if for the first time.

For example, I remember my son struggled with some sight words, including the word “the.” To help him, I wrote the word on a post-it-note and hid it in his pockets each day until he finally recognized it. Middlest, however, just couldn’t recognize the word at all. She’d try to sound it out, recognize the “th” sound, and guess “this” every. single. time. I admit that I would get extremely frustrated, and so would Miss Do-It-Herself.

Finally, I started looking for a window.

She wants to sound out the word, so why not give her the tools to sound it out? I gave her two rules: th says th in this; and e says e in me. She immediately read it all by herself—pronouncing it as thee). I figured that eventually she will naturally make the transition to the other pronunciation once she starts recognizing it. But for now, we’ve made it over that hurdle.