Language Lessons for Today

Language Lessons for Today

See the complete review in 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

Language Lessons for Today (LLT) is adapted from Emma Serl’s Primary Language Lessons (PLL) and Intermediate Language Lessons (ILL). LLT is presented in three separate books: Grade 2, Grade 3, and Grade 4. The first two books correspond to the first of Emma Serl's books, Primary Language Lessons. while the third draws upon Intermediate Language Lessons. Since Grade 4 uses material from only the first part of ILL, I expect there will be additional LLT levels to cover the rest of the lessons in ILL.

LLT books cover all of the elements of language arts for grades two through four except reading, phonics, and spelling. Suggested answers are provided at the back of each book when necessary so no separate teacher guides or answer keys are needed.

Like PLL and ILL, LLT is very much a Charlotte Mason approach to language arts with its underlying presupposition that exposure to excellent use of language is in itself an important method of learning. LLT also bears the Charlotte Mason hallmarks of narration, picture study, copywork, oral composition, dictation, drawing, and poetry memorization.

While a number of other publishers have reprinted revised versions of Serl's books since they are now in the public domain, My Father's World's LLT versions probably have the most significant revisions as well as much new content not in the original.

LLT starts a little more gently than the original book. For example, in Grade 2, Lesson 2 requires only copywork rather than copywork and dictation. Grammatical work with “is” and “are” in the third lesson of the original book has been shifted back to the seventh lesson in LLT. Instead, the third lesson in LLT Grade 2 has students practice oral composition by explaining about squirrels in complete sentences. These differences in pacing are very minimal, but they do provide children a little more time and practice to acquire the necessary skills. However, LLT Grade 4 seems to take a more systematic approach to grammar and composition skills than the original ILL, covering topics more thoroughly and in a logical order. In addition, the lessons on grammar and composition are laid out more clearly in LLT than are those in the original.

LLT’s content is also updated in other ways. Dates are more current rather than references to 1911 and other dates from the original book. When students learn about initials used in a person’s name, they work with names that might be more familiar...And finally, God is mentioned more frequently in LLT than in PLL.

While there are significant revisions, many poems, fables, and pictures as well as lesson material from the original have been retained. However, even then, some sentences have been rewritten. For example in LLT Grade 3, a conversation between a hummingbird and a butterfly has been rewritten to remove the word “stupid,” and the conclusion to that conversation has been rewritten in what I think many would consider a more appropriate fashion....

Following Charlotte Mason’s recommendations, discussion is used for many of the lessons, and a child will answer many questions orally. Some questions provide opportunities for children to give either a written or oral response....Children will eventually be providing written responses, especially in Grade 4, and they will also be doing copywork and drawing....

You can choose how much copywork a child should do each day. LLT often reminds parents that a particular copywork or other writing assignment might be completed over a number of days.
Parents should find LLT much more helpful to them than PLL....

LLT books are not meant to be written in. You can use one book with all of your children, and there is no need to photocopy pages as worksheets. Lessons should take about 15 minutes per day. No advance preparation is needed, but parents must work closely with their children through each lesson most of the time for Grades 2 and 3. By Grade 4, students might be able to do much of their work independently.

PLL and various revisions of it have been very popular among homeschoolers. However, until now Hillside Education’s versions written for Catholic homeschoolers have been the only ones with really significant content revisions. LLT now provides the entire homeschool market with a much improved option, and I look forward to another LLT version covering the latter part Intermediate Language Lessons.

Pricing Information

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List Price $19.95 each

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Instant Key

  • Suitable For: one-on-one
  • Audience: grades 2-4
  • Need For Parent/Teacher Instruction: high
  • Prep Time Needed: none
  • Teacher's Manual: answer key at back of book
  • Educational Approach: Charlotte Mason
  • Religious Perspective: Christian

Publisher's Info

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