Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Review of First Language Lessons Level 2

I posted a review a couple of years ago on First Language Lessons Level 1; this post is a follow-up to that review and covers First Language Lessons Level 2, which Rose finished up a couple of months ago.

First of all, as I mentioned in my review of FLL Level 1, my copy of FLL is a combined edition of the first two levels. However, I believe the content is basically the same as the newer, separate editions.


It is suggested that you do at least one lesson per week of Level 2 over summer break to improve retention, but we didn't do that. Rose did forget things over the summer, but she was able to pick them up again fairly easily, and since I only do grammar for exposure at this age, it didn't bother me much that she didn't retain everything. We did grammar 3-4 times a week, about 10-15 minutes each day, and easily completed the book in less than a year. We started out doing one lesson per day, but towards the end of the year we doubled up on some lessons in order to finish more quickly. Rose is my child that likes to finish things when she sees that she's near the end.

The structure of this book is basically the same as Level 1. The scripted lessons continue, and the lessons provide a good variety based around a few major themes...

Grammar: The grammar in FLL 2 starts out with a review of nouns, then covers state of being verbs, pronouns, linking verbs, commas, capitalization, contractions, adjectives (including predicate adjectives), conjunctions, direct and indirect quotations, adverbs, types of sentences, prepositions, and interjections.

As in FLL 1, the lessons are short, gentle, and often interactive. Instead of just rattling off a list of pronouns, you help the child slowly memorize them over several days and they get to make up sentences using pronouns. When we learned about linking verbs, we made a little paper chain of three different colors: one for the noun, one for the linking verb, and one for the adjective. The state of being verbs were learned by chanting and clapping them. Prepositions were reinforced by setting the table! She put the plate on the table, the fork beside the plate, the glass above the knife, etc. There are just enough activities to make the book fun but not overwhelming, and none of them require much prep time. This is a huge win in my book.

Poem Memorization: As in Level 1, Rose memorized several poems. We were reminded throughout Level 2 to review poems memorized in Level 1, and one of the final lessons in the book was a cumulative poem review where she was asked to recite all of the poems she had learned over the two levels. She wasn't sure she could do it, but she did great!

Story Narration: Story narrations continue in this level with slightly longer stories. As in Level 1, I had her do oral narrations, occasionally typing them out for her. Some of the stories were read again in subsequent lessons and used for a parts of speech hunt. For example, we read "The Quarrel" one day, then the next day we read the same story to look for contractions.

Picture Narrations: As in Level 1, this level contains several picture narrations, which were a nice change of pace. These are often used to reinforce another lesson. For example, in one picture narration Rose was asked questions involving prepositions, like: What do you see on the bed? What is beside the lamp?

Copywork/Dictation: Some of the lessons end with a short copywork or dictation exercise. We skipped most of these because we also use Writing with Ease. But, because the exercises often related to the lesson (such as copying sentences containing adverbs), I did read them aloud to her.

Optional Enrichment: Many of the lessons end with an optional activity, which we usually skipped. These include things like making a "My Week" booklet, or drawing pictures of various things related to the lesson. Others we chose to do, such as making a crown for the King of the Stuffed Animals ( a fun lesson in the preposition section).

Writing: This level included some writing activities, but since we were also working through Writing with Ease Level 2 and Writing Strands Level 2, Rose did not complete all of these. She wrote postcards and learned how to address envelopes, but we skipped some of the composition lessons because they were very similar to things she had already done in Writing Strands. We also skipped a few lessons at the end that were designed to review dictation, since we cover dictation with Writing with Ease.

Like Level 1, we both really enjoyed First Language Lessons Level 2. Rose didn't often complain about doing it, which is a huge plus in my book. The only thing she didn't really enjoy were the days she was asked to hunt for nouns, verbs, etc. in a story. She got a bit frustrated by that, but other than that this was a nice, light continuation of Level 1, and I plan to begin First Language Lessons Level 3 with her this fall.

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