Saturday, April 3, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Language Smarts

The Critical Thinking Company sent me their Language Smarts C program as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. Level C is written for grade 2.

The content includes:
  • visual skills
  • phonological and phonemic awareness
  • comprehension
  • fluency and flexibility in word meanings and associations
  • word relationships
It is a colorful bound workbook which is easy to read and explains directions clearly. Visit the website link above to see which specific language arts skills are covered at this level. It is designed to stand alone as a core program or to supplement something you use already. The content is standards-based and the company slogan reads "Better Grades and Higher Test Scores- Guaranteed!"

The cost for the Language Smarts Level C 320 page workbook is $39.99.

I'm not sure where to begin with my opinion of this workbook. I mean as workbooks go, it is very nice. The pages have a lot of color. It is organized plainly and visually it is very pleasing. If you are a workbook oriented homeschooler, than really this is a fine specimen.

I might use a page or so to reinforce a skill here and there, but in the end, it's a workbook. Although, I am quite a visual learner and I like the color a lot, it is not practical for use as a master for copying. You'd have a lot of black on the page or you'd use a lot of ink to make this a non-consumable resource which homeschoolers tend to do.

I think the cost is rather high for a consumable product. I can assure you that in our homeschool, I would not choose to buy a $40 workbook!

In addition, the homeschooling community, while concerned with the overall academic achievement of their children, are not necessarily concerned with "standards-based" anything. The website and the products are geared toward classroom teaching and parents of children in a classroom situation. Now that doesn't mean it's a horrible product. It does mean that my blogging audience is probably not the target group for this workbook.

I do not teach grammar out of context/in isolation so diagramming a random sentence, no matter how pretty the workbook page is, is still a rote exercise. Filling in the blanks, correcting run on sentences, correcting punctuation, completing sounds, etc is not immersing children in language usage.

The product description on the webpage says- "Escape from boring language arts drill". I would argue they are not escaping the drill.

1 comment:

Lori said...

I do love some of this company's products- the Editor in Chief series and Mind Benders series are two of our favorites.