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Sheldon's New Primary Language Lessons Review by Brittney RutherfordKimberly Garcia
P O Box 7868
Beaumont, TX 77726
I have always loosely followed the Charlotte Mason method for homeschooling, so when I came across Sheldon's New Primary Language Lessons, I felt like it would be an appropriate introduction to formal grammar instruction for my third grader. Kimberly D. Garcia, from Brookdale House, has taken a vintage grammar program and modernized it for conventional grammar rules and to make it even more Charlotte Mason friendly. Sheldon's New Primary Language Lessons consists of a single consumable workbook that also includes the teacher's notes/script within the lessons. There are 96 lessons with a variety of exercises, which include copywork, dictation, poetry memorization, fill-in-the-blank, narration through picture study, and written narrations. Some of the lessons are specifically designed to be completed orally, and many of the written lessons can be scribed by the parent or done orally as well if desired.
Sheldon's New Primary Language Lessons begins with an introduction to the teacher. Each lesson contains simple instructions for the student, as well as any prompts or questions for the teacher in a box. The appendix includes the dictation selections, vocabulary, memory selections, and an answer key. I don't particularly like answer keys included with the student text, and the pages aren't perforated so I cannot easily remove the answer key, or even the daily assignment, but luckily my son is not one to peek. Although it's not always convenient to have the teacher resources inside the student's workbook, I like that there are not multiple booklets or components to keep up with each day.
The lessons are written as beginning grammar instruction for students in 3rd to 6th grade. The curriculum covers a variety of concepts including, but not limited to sentences, punctuation, parts of speech, abbreviations, letter writing and paragraphs. Through the different exercises, students practice oral and written composition and proper grammar. I appreciate that the exercises are simple and practical. I find it includes more direct instruction than copywork alone would provide. It has just enough guidance for me as the parent without feeling too scripted or stifling. It doesn't have a lot of fluff or busywork either, which we both appreciate.
It's really a gentle, but thorough program. My son is math-minded, and doesn't particularly love the language arts. However, I've had very few complaints from him, because the lessons are straightforward and interesting. The pages for written narrations allow the student to illustrate their work as well, which is always fun for him. Older students who have had extensive grammar practice might find this too easy, but it could also serve as a fresh of breath air for students who are “burned out” on intense grammar instruction. I think Sheldon's New Primary Language Lessons is appropriate for middle elementary grades, and would work for many families who appreciate the Charlotte Mason method.
-Product review by Brittney Rutherford, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2016