King Alfred’s English

The English language is quirky, wouldn’t you agree? Why is it so quirky, so complex? How did the English language we use today come to be? You can learn about the history of the English language in King Alfred’s English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do by Laurie J. White of The Shorter Word. This 170 page book takes you on a journey through history to see the English language unfold.

King Alfred’s English takes you to meet the people and events that led to modern English. From Caesar to King Arthur, from Brothers Grimm to the Vikings…meeting Wycliffe and Gutenberg, Henry VIII and Martin Luther….traveling through history, based on the central theme of how the Bible was translated into English we learn why the English language is so complex and rich in vocabulary.

King Alfred’s English is for ages 12- adult. While the book is written in a friendly, conversational manner, it is not material that younger students would enjoy or gain much understanding. I had my daughter, 13, read King Alfred’s English and she enjoyed it greatly. She enjoys both literature and history so it was the perfect presentation of information for her. It served as a great review of history and had fascinating information on our language.

Some interesting facts you will learn:

*Why is knight pronounced “nite” and the unbelievable way it was once pronounced

*The English were not British

*What exactly was the Rebel Yell

*What words and phrases were created by Shakespeare

*The Brothers Grimm were famous philologists (What is that?!?)

And so much more! King’s Alfred’s English is packed full of information! Take a peek at the Table of Contents!


Why should you read King Alfred’s English? You can see a list of reasons why at The Shorter  I think it is important to understand how our language came to be, how the Bible was able to be put into English and how a language can be influenced by others. One of the benefits of King Alfred’s English is that it can be a quick, informational read; easily read in a week or so. However, you can also turn it into a semester long course utilizing the resources the author has provided for free!

At The Shorter Word, there are teacher and student resource pages for King Alfred’s English. The teacher’s page contains worksheets for each chapter and test for each section. Answers are provided! She even gives you suggestions on how to count it for a course credit. We did not utilize the teacher pages. My daughter enjoys journaling or discussing her readings so I didn’t feel the need to use the tests or worksheets. All depending on your student and learning style, this could be a great resource.

The Student’s Page, on the other hand, is an excellent resource to use with King Alfred’s English. For each chapter, the author provides links to video clips, movie suggestions, articles to read, and other ways to expand the lessons. Please note Mrs. White’s encouragement to screen the links for your family’s standard and age compatibility.

Intrigued by King Alfred’s English? You can read the first chapter.


King Alfred’s English is $16.95 retail.  Various online stores such as Amazon, CBD, Grace and Truth Books and others sell King Alfred’s English. (CBD currently has the lowest price for soft cover at $14.89)

Kindle edition is available for $5.95.

King Alfred’s English would be a great addition to your history or English studies. The student pages offer a wealth of information to make it a full, well rounded course. Don’t listen to just me! Head over to the Crew to see what other thoughts of King Alfred’s English.

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received a copy of this product for the purpose of review. No compensation was made. The thoughts/opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Heritage History

We love studying history through living books. Quality literature has the wonderful ability to make the people and events of the past become interesting and real. By reading and studying about the past, we can gain insight and understanding that can have a lasting impact.  History textbooks tend to be dry and leave out a substantial amount of facts and give a very limited view.

There are a few hurdles that sometimes deter families away from using living books in their studies. They are unsure of how to put together a course of study using just living books, cost of programs that are already set-up and scheduled for you, purchasing the living books or their library system not having the needed books available.

Heritage History can be a help and solution to these hurdles. We were recently able to review a Heritage History’s British Empire Classical Curriculum. When you first visit , you may assume that it is just a collection of old, out of print books. This assumption would be a huge mistake!

Taken from the Heritage History website: The British Empire collection covers the history of the British Empire, from the earliest days of the Hanoverian dynasty to the turmoil of the First World War. It tells stories of the rise of British rule in Indian and Asia, the conflict with the French in America, the exploration and colonization of Africa, the opening of trade with China and Japan, and the discovery and settlement of Austrialia and New Zealand. Most regional histories cover pre-colonial history as well as history under British rule, so the collection provides a fairly thorough overview of world history with an emphasis on the colonial era.

The British Empire CD contains 57 classical children’s history books  that cover this time period of history.  Some of those books are Struggle for Sea Power, Boy’s Book of Battles, Our Island Story, Tales from Irish History, Story of Japan, War Inventions, English Literature for Boys and Girls, and so much more! These books are categorize according to three levels: green/elementary, brown/intermediate and red/advanced.

The CD offers the book in 3 formats. You can choose to read from your computer, print a PDF copy or download the books to your e-reader. The books are in MOBI and epub format so they will work on any e-reader. Such a wonderful feature to have the choice on how to access the books.  While we do not have an actual e-reader we do have an e-reader app on a phone and British Empire books have worked wonderfully on it.

Contained on the Heritage History’s British Empire CD is not only  57 books but a study guide that can be printed or read on screen.  This is a great resource for those who need a bit of guidance in how to make her history course of study flow. In the study guide you will find beautiful color maps, timelines, era summaries, and list of prominent characters. For those of you who may have limited printing ability, a pre-printed copy of the study guide is available for purchase or you could even chose to purchase a download copy of the study guide. We were able to review the pre-printed study guide and it was fabulous. We are limited to a black and white printer. It would have not done these beautiful maps justice. We love maps here and I can’t imagine not using these in color!

The study guide also gives a description of each book so you can easily decide which books you want your students to read. The books are divided into “core” reading and “supplemental” reading.  Along with the color maps, black and white outline maps are provided to aid in map study. Accountability forms are also included to help with tracking of what your students are reading.

Our Thoughts of Heritage History’s British Empire CD and Study Guide:

I really enjoyed the British Empire CD. While you can read the books straight from the computer, the ease of reading via our e-reader app was lovely. My older girls could easily take it with us while running errands or read in bed at night. We are frequent patrons to our library system but it is getting harder and harder to find quality literature; it is being replaced by dumbed down series fiction. It is nice to have a resource in the time period we are studying and not worry about finding core or supplemental reading. It is all there and easily accessed.

I loved the printed study guide. With a busy schedule, it is nice to be able to open up and have a simple plan to follow. While it is included on the CD, I prefer having the printed, color copy of the study guide. I think the study guide is really helpful if you are new to using living books as your history curriculum. It helps you to have a base to pull from and keep you on track.

Purchasing Information:

Heritage History has 5 CDs that cover World History: Young Readers, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, British Middle Ages and British Empire.  Each of those has a study guide to accompany the CD. You can buy them individually for $24.99 each. Pre-printed colored study guides are $24.99. A download version of the study guide is $12.99.

You can also purchase the 5 CDs together for $99.99. This is a $25 savings!

And it is the perfect time to buy! Heritage History is having a Spring Sale! Buy 2 cds and get a third cd free!

Heritage History has a great amount of information on their website and I would highly recommend checking it out to see if this curriculum would be a valuable resource for your family.  Here are a few pages I think are helpful: FAQs, User Guide(really good information), Self-Publishing, and Classical Curriculum FAQs.  There is also study aids at Heritage History that provide resources for historical characters, maps, historical images and war & battlesCombining Curricula is also a great informational page to read if you are currently using another living books curriculum.

We really enjoyed the British Empire CD from Heritage History. I hope that we can add a couple more CDs as we continue our history studies. After browsing around Heritage History, please make sure to stop by TOS Review Crew. Other families reviewed varying  Heritage History CDs so please see what they have to say as well!!


**Disclaimer: As a member of TOS Review Crew, I received a complimentary copy of this product for the purpose of review. No compensation was made. The thoughts/opinions expressed in this post are my own.


Excellence in Literature

Several weeks ago we were provided the opportunity to implement Everyday Education’s Excellence in Literature’s Introduction to Literature course  and I was so excited! My 7th grade daughter is an avid reader. However, I wanted to make sure she had the ability to pick the stories apart and gain a deep understanding of the message the author was trying to share. This is a very valuable skill that is an asset not just for fictional literature, but all reading material.

Reviewing this product could not have come at a better time!

Introduction to Literature: English 1 is designed for 8th grade and up. However, it can be adapted as needed. This course is designed to be independent study and the text is written directly to the student. It focuses on various works: short stories, poems, drama and novels. Context readings have been provided to give background on the authors and help to give that valuable literary context.

The student will demonstrate understanding through approach papers, essays and other writings. Excellent samples of each type of written paper is given in the text and so very helpful!

Introduction to Literature consists of  9 units. The first unit is a collection of six short stories. The other units include the works: Around the World in Eighty Days, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Jane Eyre, Pygmalion, Treasure Island, Animal Farm, The Tempest, and Gulliver’s Travels. An honors tract is also available and you can read more about it here.

If you are interested in why these particular works were chosen, you can read about the selection process here.

Beginning this course with a 7th grader who had not encountered such writing assignments in the past was a bit of a challenge. I decided quickly that we were going to take it a bit slow with the units to make sure we covered them thoroughly. This is one of the reasons this review is so difficult for me to write. I wish that we had progressed  a bit further in the program to have experience with a couple of units. We are just finishing up with unit 1. It took my daughter, who loves long novels, a bit of time to enjoy the short story writings. Then we both had to learn how to produce an adequate approach paper. We are making progress and she is learning so much. And to her surprise, she is actually enjoying the writing!

I love that it is independent study. She takes her assignment and runs with it. She is an excellent independent student and I love when courses encourage this and make it easy on both of us to implement.  We will continue to progress through this course at a steady pace, taking longer when needed since she is on the younger side for this course. I do hope to continue with the other levels of the Excellence in Literature program. I have loved what I have seen so far!

Personally, I always enjoy thumbing through a product before buying and you can sample a whole unit from Introduction to Literature here.  There are 5 years of study in the Excellence in Literature course and you can see a complete book listing for these.

It would also be wise to read the FAQ as it covers such topics as: How to Prepare a Younger Student, How to Determine Placement (each level increases in difficulty) and more. Very helpful information!

I even love the price of Excellence in Literature:  Introduction to Literature! You have a choice between two different formats:

Introduction to Literature: English 1 – Print Book, 132 pages $29 + $4.95 shipping/handling

Introduction to Literature: English 1 – E Book –  $27. It is already laid out to be printed double sided to easily slip into a 3 ring binder.

Please stop by the Crew and see what other families thought of Excellence in Literature: Introduction to Literature.



**Disclaimer: As a member of TOS Review Crew, I received a complimentary copy of this product for review. No compensation was made. The thoughts/opinions expressed in this post are my own.