Logic of English ~ TOS Review

*This blog post contains a product review*

Recently I began searching for a resource that would help one of my children gain a better grasp of spelling and also incorporate a phonics review.  After researching several options, I was beginning to become slightly frustrated and was planning to pull together various items to create what I wanted. Then the Essentials program from Logic of English became available for review. Designed for ages five to adult and utilizing multi-sensory activities, I was intrigued with the possibilities. The past several weeks have been spent learning how logical English is with two of my children: Lydia (10) and Hannah (7). I’d love to tell you all about it because it has become a favorite resource in our home.

Logic of English Essentials utilizes several different components to create a complete, engaging and intensive course that covers spelling, grammar, phonetics and vocabulary development. Written in a way that communicates simply but effectively, it can easily be used from emergent readers to an older student or adult who needs review or remediation.

For this review, we received a Logic of English Essentials bundle consisting of the following:  Essentials Teachers Manual (hardbound), Student Manuscript Workbook (softbound; cursive edition available), Phonogram & Spelling Game Book, Phonogram Flashcards, Spelling Rule Flashcards and two decks of Phonogram Game Cards (one manuscript/one cursive).

How do these components work together in Logic of English Essentials?

Essentials Teachers Manual begins with a scope and sequence, keys & symbols and materials/supplements list. Then there is an extensive introduction section that gives suggested schedules for the various needs of students. How you would pace this program for an emergent reader is a bit different in the pacing of a older student who is struggling with spelling. As you begin the lessons, you will soon see where adjustments might be needed and Essentials offers much flexibility.

Others topics in the introductions include: phonemic awareness, the three main parts of the lesson and teacher resources (list of spelling and grammar rules for quick reference). And then the lessons begin!

The lessons are quite simple in their structure and you will get a feel for the flow very quickly. Each lesson begins with a list of materials needed. Phonograms are the first part of the lesson and you review or introduce phonograms utilizing the Phonogram Flashcards. A game is often recommended to help reinforce the phonograms. Spelling is then introduce through some discovery activities and your student will learn a new spelling rule. Part two is a spelling list. However, referring back to activities from the introduction section, your student does more than just spell a list of words. They are learning how to break down words and recognize the phonograms and match them with the spelling rules so that English becomes logical. For example, after completing the spelling list, you student will go back to the word duck. They will underline the “ck” that makes the /k/ sound. Why? Because “ck” represents the /k/ sound in words with a short vowel sound. Part Three of the lesson is grammar. Grammar rules are learned and parts of speech. Using the spelling list, students takes those words and apply the grammar rules to them. Simple dictation and composition activities are used in the grammar portion. The lessons also are scripted so you don’t have to worry about how to explain the rules and teaching points. The script provided is clear, concise and complete.

Phonogram Flashcards–  This packet includes flashcards for the 74 basic phonograms and are used in each lesson of Essentials. Well made, sturdy 4 x 6 cards. The phonogram is given on the front with sounds and examples listed on the back.

Logic of English Essentials Workbook – This softbound book provides a convenient location for your student’s written work. It can be purchased in manuscript or cursive. Black and white presentation with no distracting graphics. It is a very basic “fill in the blank” type of workbook that compliments the activities in the teacher’s manual.

Phonogram & Spelling Game Book provides over 70 games to reinforce what is being learned each day. Games like Dragon, Speed and Snatch the Match require Phonogram Game Cards. Other games such as Eraser Race and Blind Spelling need a dry erase board and markers along with the spelling list. For your hands on and visual learners, this resource is so helpful.

Phonogram Game Cards come in cursive,  manuscript or bookface. At least two decks would be beneficial as several of the games require at least two decks. They are sturdy, thick, laminated cards that will hold up to much play.

Spelling Rule Flashcards are 4 x 6 cards that list the spelling rule and examples of the rule –  perfect for drill practice or a visual aid during the lesson. Spelling rule cards have a green top border as a visual clue that relates it to spelling.

How did Logic of English Essentials work in our home?

I was initially looking for a program for my 10 year old daughter who was actually a decent reader. However, new or big words caused her to hesitate and stumble while reading. She also was a terrible speller. Once I looked over the program, I decided to incorporate my 7 year old daughter as well so she could be exposed to the rules of grammar and spelling.. During the morning, I pull the two of them together and we do a portion of the lesson. We have fallen into a natural rhythm of completing a lesson in three to four days.

After the first day or two, my ten year old decided she didn’t want to use the workbook. Both girls are using composition books and dry erase boards for their lessons. We generally don’t use workbooks and I think it just felt odd to Lydia. For activities that require them to underline or correct portions, I write them on our large dry erase board or they copy them into their notebooks and then make corrections. It has been working fine.

Even though we are only a few weeks into this program, I can already see a confidence building in my struggling reader. She is seeing connections between the words and the rules. Drilling and reviewing of the phonograms has been a great refresher since the time period of her learning to read was a stressful one in our home.

One of our favorite parts of Essentials has been learning that vowels sing and consonants do not. We shared many giggles on that day. The girls are also enjoying the phonogram and spelling games. Snatch and Dragon are favorites. Here is the neat thing; even my younger non-readers love to join in for a round of memory. My five year old and fourteen year old have joined in for a game of Snatch. It is just too fun not to and they are learning without even knowing it.

As we progress further into Essentials, I have no doubt that I will be using this with my five year old when she is ready. I also regret not having my older students use it as a source of review. If not the whole lessons, the spelling portions would be beneficial to all.

When I tell my girls it is time for school, they ask to do Logic of English.. If our schedule gets thrown off and we miss a day, they are a bit bummed. Grammar and spelling are not drudgery. The enjoy Logic of English. It isn’t just the few games we have played but it is the complete package. What they are reading is finally making sense and they enjoy understanding. Even I have learned a few things as well!

I also appreciate how Logic of English incorporates multi-sensory learning without crossing the line into over-stimulation or annoyance. I have never been a fan of companies that turn learning into a game show. My girls being able to see, write and hear all aspects of the language has been a benefit but it all comes without the “busy distractions”.

The Logic of English has a wealth of information online from videos to free downloads. Very helpful!

Pricing and Purchasing Information:

  • Logic of English Essentials Teacher’s Manual $95.00
  • Logic of English Student Workbook (Manuscript) – $25.00
  • Phonogram Flashcards$18.00
  • Spelling Rule Flashcards$15.00
  • Phonogram & Spelling Game Book$15.00
  • Phonogram Game Cards$10.00

There is a complete package bundle option available as well.

How to make Logic of English cost effective?

Can we really put a price on helping our children learn to communicate and understand? Theoretically, no. However, for many homeschool families Logic of English pricing may seem high. The teacher’s manual is non-consumable so you can use it again and again with multiple children. If you have budget restrictions, flashcards and game cards could easily be made at home. While the workbook is nice to have, the program can be used without it. If you have a child who is struggling in reading or spelling, I recommend taking a look at Logic of English Essentials. I have been greatly impressed with this program.

This video does a excellent job of showing the importance of a systematic approach to English:

Logic of English also has a Foundations course that teaches reading and has a penmanship course called Rhythm of Handwriting. Crew members reviewed Essentials and these other program as well. Take a moment and read more reviews.


IEW – Student Writing Intensive C – Review

*This blog post contains a product review. Please see disclaimer at end of post.

Being able to communicate in the written form is an essential skill.  No matter how times change, the written is a powerful means of sharing information, beliefs and experiences. Sadly, teaching writing is an area of weakness for me; not just how to teach but how to proof, correct and encourage my young writers. Thankfully I have had the opportunity once again to review a student writing intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing: Student Writing Intensive C designed for grades 9-12.  I also received Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, a wonderful tool to aid parents in teaching writing to their children no matter age or material used.

Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVD Seminar and Workbook

In this DVD/Workbook set, Andrew Pudewa walks you through how to step by step teach writing to your students. No matter the age or ability of your student (or you), you will earn simple, effective ways to create excellent writers. The approach Mr. Pudewa uses is not a new, revolutionary concept. The foundation is simple: take a piece of excellent writing, teach your child to outline it and then re-write it.

In this seminar, you will cover topics such as: Note Making & Outlining, Summarizing, Creative Writing and more. You will become familiar with sentence openers, dress-ups and how to effectively use the student writing intensives at all levels.  6 DVDs of instructions (10hrs!), Tips and Tricks DVD, and three DVDs with samples from each writing intensive level. The seminar workbooks includes, notes, charts, sample lesson plans, word lists and more.  An information packed combo that will enable anyone to teach writing effectively!

The Teaching Structure and Style DVD Seminar w/ Seminar Workbook is $169.00. You can purchase separately if desired.

Student Writing Intensive C

IEW’s Student Writing Intensive C is designed for grades 9-12. This writing intensive package includes:Structure and Style Overview DVD for parents (2 hr course that gives the basics of using this method of teaching), four DVDs for the student, binder w/ dividers and student packet that includes all the handouts and information needed for this course.

The course should be completed in 15- 30 weeks depending on how you assign the lessons. A suggested course schedule is provided with the same basic flow each week. The student watches a video segment, practices the technique and then has a writing assignment to complete. From non-fiction to fiction, your student will learn the necessary skills to effective writing.

Intensive C was used by my daughter, Bekah, who is 14. She also used Intensive A several years ago. When I had the possibility of reviewing for IEW again she was thrilled to have the opportunity to use the program again. Bekah finds Mr. Pudewa engaging and witty. I agree. Whenever you can laugh while taking a writing course, well, that is a wonderful thing.

Bekah also shared that she Mr. Pudewa’s approach and demeanor as he taught the course. He didn’t teach “down” to the students but communicated in a manner that assumes the ability of young people to understand.

When the Student Intensive arrived Bekah grabbed the notebook and DVDs, set it all up and jumped right into the program. At her level and age, I allowed her to use it independently. She follows the suggested schedule and I would critique her work when the assignment was completed. I have never had to remind her to do writing. I have had to remind her to only do one lesson a week. It is a great program and one that produces results! When she finishes this course, we are definitely looking into some of the other writing courses.

IEW’s Student Writing Intensive C (grades 9 -12) can be purchased for $109.00. Student notebooks and packets can be purchase separately.

Other writing courses from Institute for Excellence in Writing were reviewed by the Schoolhouse Review Crew. If Student Writing Intensive – C is not right for your child, take a moment and read a few reviews!



Create Better Writers ~ A Review

One of the most challenging areas in instructing our children can be writing. The ability to express oneself in written form can be challenging and overwhelming for the student and teacher. There are a multitude of writing curricula on the market targeted at homeschool families. From scripted to open ended methods of teaching, you can find a wide rage of options. Trying to select the right one for your family can be so difficult.

If you are looking for a simple, easy to implement program that doesn’t overwhelm you or your student, Create Better Writers.com could be the resource you need.  Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to review three products from Create Better Writers. As one who is not gifted in writing and often avoid teaching it, I found the set up and structure of this product helpful.

How to Teach The Paragraph: This resource is recommended for grades 3 and up. How to Teach the Paragraph gives you and your student the “trick” to writing a paragraph without being overwhelmed with the process. Breaking the paragraph down and providing a “picture” of what it should be takes the paragraph and puts it into manageable bites. In a very short amount of time, your child will be writing a paragraph!

 Five Paragraph Essay: This resource comes after How to Teach a Paragraph. In this resource, you are giving the tools needed to walk your student through organizing and writing a five paragraph essay in an hour. You utilize simple steps to create the big picture. Detailed lesson plans are given and it also helps you to utilize the “bells” and “whistles” to make the essay of college level quality. In the end your student will have mastery of the essay.

Here are some samples available: Table of Contents, The Steps, and a Video Demonstration.

The Home School Writing Action Plan: This is an excellent resource for the homeschool parent that you can use with any writing program. However, it works perfectly with How to Teach the Paragraph and the Five Paragraph Essay. It summarizes the steps, offers a pacing chart and a road map to show you how to implement each step. This resource helps you to have a writing program that flows without stress!

How did Create Better Writers.com work for us?

I decided to use this with my 4th/5th grader. He had no previous writing instruction other than a few random lessons in his grammar book. Writing was not something that came natural to him and I wasn’t sure what approach I wanted to take with him. A simple, and straightforward approach like the one in How to Teach the Paragraph was appealing. After walking my son through the steps, he was able to write a paragraph in very little time.

In the past, if I asked him to write a paragraph I would get back two or three sentences. After using How to Teach a Paragraph for a week or so, he easily sat down, wrote a quick paragraph that had all the necessary parts such as a main idea and conclusion. I have been pleasantly surprised with this product!

Pricing Information:

How to Teach the Paragraph: $7.99 (ebook only)

How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay $17.95 for download/ $19.95 for softcover.

Homeschool Writing Action Plan$15.95 for download/ $19.95 for softcover.

Check out Create Better Writers.com product page for Bundle Purchase options!


Want to learn more about Create Better Writers.com? Check out what other Crew Members had to say about these products!

**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. All thought/opinions expressed in this post are my own.