The Level B Teacher Guide provides 144 Lessons using McGuffey's Eclectic First Reader. Cursive Handwriting is taught and practiced. Supplies needed include unlined index cards and 3/8" lined paper.
If your child is able to read simple CVC words and is ready to move on to silent /e/ words, then it's time for Level B. This year covers McGuffey's First Reader. Phonics continues with word lists from Word Mastery by Florence Akin. Your student will also learn cursive this year. Each handwriting page has a suggested way of writing the letter. I've made it easy, however, to incorporate your own preferred cursive style if you choose. After each letter of the alphabet is covered, the writing selections are either famous quotes, short poems, or the "slate work" from McGuffey's First Reader. Each week has a different poem and comprehension questions to study. Finally, a very thorough study of grammar is covered. I used First Lessons in English by Thomas Harvey.
McGuffey's-The McGuffey's section usually covers two lessons per week. One day is spent studying the picture and reading the words and the selection. The next day is for coloring word cards and reviewing parts of speech. The drill of defining the part of speech every time may seem redundant, but it is important not to skip this step. Pretty soon, your student will be reciting the definitions to you. Nouns are red, pronouns are pink, adjectives are orange, verbs are green, adverbs are yellow, prepositions are blue, conjunctions are purple, and interjections are black. Review lessons usually take an entire week. This week is spent doing different activities with the word cards.
Phonics-The phonics lessons are not to be confused with spelling lessons. The short word lists are to be read three or four times until the student can read the words easily. After this, your student then attempts to write the words on the appropriate Phonics Practice Sheet. Your student should attempt to spell the words independently, but don't hesitate to help him/ her spell the words. your student should not become frustrated with this process. The purpose of writing the words is to help them recognize the word when they read it. Formal spelling lessons will not be introduced until level D.
Handwriting-The only time your student is expected to write cursive is during handwriting practice. Other work should be printed unless your student feels comfortable writing in cursive. This program starts with each letter of the alphabet. The capital form of the letter should be written on the first two lines. The next two lines should be the lowercase form of the letter in a solid chain. The last line should be used to review previous letters. The amount of times each letter is written is at your discretion. If your student has trouble writing the letters, you can use a yellow fine-tipped highlighter to write the letters on the first (capital) and third (lower-case) lines. Your student can then trace the letters you wrote and independently write them on the following line. After the alphabet is covered, short quotes are given. Occasionally the slate work from the McGuffey's Reader is given as copy work.
Poetry-Each week, there is a different poem to read to your student. You should help them recognize the rhyming words and circle them. It may be helpful to use different color crayons to circle the different sets of rhyming words. Often a pattern can be detected by doing this. Comprehension questions are then asked to your student.
Grammar-Sadly, children today suffer from lack of grammar instruction. It was my goal to start my children with grammar instruction as early as possible. After searching high and low, I found First Lessons in English to be the perfect fit for this level. The lessons are short and easy to teach. I knew I had to include it. Don't worry if your student doesn't completely grasp all of the concepts taught. This program teaches a little above grade level. The idea is to expose the student to the material so that it will be familiar to him/her in future years. Your student is expected to need a lot of help with the worksheets. You will find that the McGuffey's word cards and the grammar lessons compliment each other well. Selections that have instructions to write something on the board can be done in numerous ways. I like to write on a dry erase board on the wall. You can, however, use a small chalkboard, a sheet size dry-erase board or even a sheet of paper. Bold words are to be read aloud. Words that are not bold and not in parenthesis are additional instructions; and words in parenthesis are the answers to questions.
Language arts programs listed in this section cover most areas of language arts (reading/literature, writing, grammar, spelling and handwriting) in one curriculum, although some skill areas may be covered with less intensity than a focused, stand-alone course.
If you've had the vague sense that education today is just not what it was a hundred years ago, there's evidence that suggests you are right. A hundred years ago (in America) the McGuffey Readers were used in one-room schools all across the continent. Education rarely went past 8th grade and students would complete the McGuffey's 5th or 6th Readers. Applying today's Lexile standards to the McGuffey Readers yields some interesting data. The reading material in the 6th Reader, for example, has Lexile scores equaling 9th grade through college senior level. Eclectic Foundations seeks to provide quality language arts educational material based on the Revised edition of the McGuffey's Readers. Now, the 21st century student can be as well educated as his early 20th century counterpart.
Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Curriculum is designed as the lesson plans/lessons for the McGuffey Readers that might have been used in those one-room classrooms. The feel is very old-fashioned (materials are all black and white) but the provisions are modern consumable student workbooks where the student can do his required writing (no need for a slate) and no-prep Teacher's Guides. Approximate grade levels are given but be advised that the lower of the grade levels (starting with Level B) are advanced and may be more typical of the upper grade level. The books are designed to be used in sequence. The lessons and materials are well-organized and build in lots of hands-on activities at the lower levels. Phonics is provided, plus complete language arts (reading skills, poetry, grammar, handwriting/copywork). Phonics lessons are based on Word Mastery by Florence Akin and cover beginning through advanced phonics concepts. Grammar lessons are based on Speaking and Writing Book by William Maxwell and on First Lessons in English by Thomas Harvey. [All have been reworded to accommodate modern language.] All resources are available online at no cost but the author recommends purchasing a physical copy of the McGuffey Readers.
Lessons are straight-forward and simple: starting with reading the word lists and/or selection from a particular McGuffey Reader. Phonics practice has two parts word cards practice and review and spelling dictated words. The Word Cards for each level are printed ten to a page (to be cut apart). The words are outline letters, with the intent that the student will be coloring in the cards. The Phonics Practice Sheets are laminated pages in a spiral-bound book providing a write-on, wipe-off experience. Obviously, the pages can be re-used. Language Arts work continues with Handwriting Copywork (Traditional Style) from a McGuffey Lesson. Poetry is covered, with comprehension review. Grammar is covered with a teacher-student dialogue (scripted) providing examples and definitions as well as practice worksheets. Supplies needed for all grades are minimal pencils, crayons, scissors, map colors (colored pencils), plus thin and regular dry-erase markers and a box for word cards. There are, however, a few particulars for specific grades (listed below).
The Student Workbooks are practical, spiral-bound collections of lesson worksheets, with lined portions for handwriting practice, word lists from the lessons, and varied, short grammar exercises. Some picture studies and poetry are included. Teacher's Guides are also spiral-bound with one-page lessons. Each year contains 144 lessons (4 lessons per week for 36 weeks). All answers to exercises are provided in the TGs. The author recommends visiting the library weekly and incorporating a lot of outside reading along with the daily lessons. Just as you'll find in the McGuffey's, there is moral-character and faith-based content in both Teacher Guide and Student Workbooks.
If you've wished to go back to the days of simplicity and strength in elementary education, here is your opportunity - well-organized and laid out for you. ~ Janice