J is quickly approaching his 4th birthday and showing more signs of wanting to learn like his older brothers. Over the past year, we’ve dabbled a bit with different subject areas without looking too much towards any formal learning to prepare for reading. That’s changed as we had Foundations A by Logic of English enter the house for review.
What is Foundations A by Logic of English?
Foundations A is a program which sets the stage for a beginning reader using phonemic awareness activities. Blending with learning the letters and the sounds they make, the student also learns to write in lowercase (either cursive or print.) Different games and activities provide ample opportunity for the student to practice decoding short vowel words and consonant blends. At the completion of this level, the student should be able to read and comprehend phrases with lowercase letters and short vowels.
For this review, we were sent the hardback teacher’s manual ($34.20) and student workbook ($16.20) for Foundations A as well as many of the items which are a one time purchase. Our family also received their Phonics with Phonograms App for iPad/iPhone ($2.99) to use.
The nitty gritty… Foundations A presents the material in 40 lessons with 8 assessments and review lessons placed throughout the book. The teacher’s manual lays everything out and a student workbook in a choice of cursive or manuscript is used for practice of certain skills. There are different packs of cards that work with the lessons (covering all planned levels), a student reader for reinforcement, a laminated handwriting trifold with each letter formation spelled out, and a double sided whiteboard to help with learning handwriting. While you could possibly make due without some of them, it could detract from the whole package of this curriculum.
How We Use Foundations A in Our Homeschool
The teacher’s manual is laid out to make everything simple to implement. I keep all of the materials we received for review grouped together and will grab any suggested books or materials for the lesson ahead of time. Then it is just a matter of opening up the book and walking through the lesson with J. There are plenty of tips on the sidebar that work with the main sections for learning.
J is just a few months shy from turning 4, so he is just below the recommended starting age for Foundations A. While a few months doesn’t seem like a long time to me, for someone in pre-school it can make a huge difference in readiness. This is something that was confirmed as we very slowly made our way through the first group of lessons in the program. He’s eager to learn, but his eagerness is balanced out by where he is developmentally.
Some things are easy for him to grasp. However, we discovered that some things (like blending together individual phonograms to match with a picture as shown in the photos above) have proven more challenging than I expected and J’s attention span not usually allowing for an entire lesson to be completed in a day. Instead of progressing at a lesson per day pace that I would expect for a kindergarten student, we have sometimes gone back and redone material from a previous lesson to make sure it is ‘sticking’ for him. His pace has averaged out to more like one lesson per week, which is the right fit for him at this time.
Just the other day, his brother who’s in 5th grade decided to take a turn being the ‘teacher’ and just started at the first lesson with J. Together they had a grand time deciding if different sounds were voiced or unvoiced by placing a hand across their throat. I can say that the sections like that which have him active are the ones he enjoys the most and recalls for his dad later that day. It also warmed my heart a bit to see his big brother trying to help him with material that he’d taken to being silly with me.
When it comes to learning to write, J has better success with air writing at the moment. As nice as the whiteboard is, he quickly moves from being focused on the task to wanting to just draw. While he hasn’t mastered the basic strokes on the whiteboard, he has memorized the names of the different lines and enjoys pointing to the correct line when I say its name.
As I mentioned above, we received the Phonics with Phonograms App for iPad/iPhone to review along with the Foundations A program. J has not reached a point of being able to truly use the app. So, an older brother and I both took turns testing it out.
You can set up multiple users for easy tracking of which phonograms the child has mastered for recognition. Just make sure you have the volume turned on before beginning as you need to hear the phonogram to select the correct one. If they miss hearing it or uncertain about what they heard, a quick press of the talking person figure at the bottom will repeat the phonogram. I wish I’d had this particular product when teaching my now 8th grader to read and start spelling.
My plans are to keep chugging along at our slow pace with J throughout the year. From past experience, I know that when things ‘mesh’ together you can see a rapid race through lessons. Besides, I’m not in a hurry to get him fully reading as he would be waiting another 2 years before being considered a kindergarten student. I have been quite impressed with how they teach cursive and opted to purchase the Rhythm of Handwriting for cursive as an ebook for my older boys to use.
What do others have to say about Foundations A by Logic of English?
Don’t just take my word for it! Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew on Foundations A and Essentials.