Charlotte Mason Language Arts {a TOS review}

 Brookdale House Review
Recently my eldest, Connor, has developed a love of all things medieval.  When the opportunity came up to review a Charlotte Mason inspired language arts and history program, Writing Through Medieval History Level 1 Manuscript, we responded with a very eager "yes, please!".
This medieval history writing program is written by Kimberly Garcia and is published by Brookdale House.  This company publishes material that is inspired by Charlotte Mason's gentle, no nonsense, method using copywork, narration and dictation.
Some of the categories Brookdale House offers are geography, writing, grammar and scripture memorization.  What we used was a 330 page e-book from the Writing Through History series, in manuscript (cursive is also offered).  This series starts at Level 1 for grades 1-3 followed by Level 2 for grades 3-5.  If your student completed all of the "Writing Through History" series offered that would be 4 years of history (and writing) for your student with Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern History.
What is included?
As mentioned we given level 1 of the medieval writing program, in manuscript.  Writing Through Medieval History is a very thorough curriculum.  With this curriculum your student will learn grammar, penmanship, spelling, and history all at once.
The e-book starts with the table of contents and lists four chapters which are:
  • Historical Narratives
  • English tales
  • Poetry from/about Medieval History
  • Cultural Tales
The table of contents also acts as a timeline.  (Or, if you print it out like me, acts as a way to mark off your progress.)  Following the table of contents is:
  • Introduction
  • Additional Information
  • Definitions
  • Suggested Scheduling
  • Reminders
I found these sections to be a very nice, clear and gentle instruction on the Charlotte Mason method.  Included was a link to a video of Kimberly Garcia showing an example of how she would do a lesson from the Writing Through History series.  As a visual learner myself, this was so helpful to me to see and hear an example before I began with my son.
Before I talk about the actual lessons, I'd like to move on to the appendix, which I found to be so valuable as the teacher.  Here you'll find a grammar guide and suggested scheduling as well as models of the lessons for dictation.
The lessons begin with a story (a narrative, tale, or poetry) followed by two models for copywork.  The first model is for exact copying, where your student would write directly under the model.  The second practice model is for studied dictation, to be copied from memory.
What did the lessons look like in our home?
We used this writing curriculum with my very reluctant writer 3 days a week.  Using the grammar guide in the back we skipped the first two months (noun and verb) and began with pronoun as Connor already had learned noun and verb. 
The stories, of course, could be presented in order, but we bounced around to be sure we had a sampling of all 4 chapters.  We began with The Caliph and the Poet, 712-755 AD.

Day 1:  I read aloud to Connor and afterward I had him narrate back to me, verbally.  (There is also a paper provided for a written narration.)

Day 2:  I would print Model Practice 1 and we'd look at it circling our grammar (either pronoun or adjective so far).  I'd point out capitals vs lowercase to him as he struggles using both at random.  Because he is a very reluctant writer we'd do one or two lines then stop for the day.

Day 3:  Connor would finish writing the 1st Model Practice.

From here we would start with a new story and repeat Day 1-3.

Our Thoughts

Connor really loved the history focus and simple/short lessons.  We have been struggling trying to find him a language arts program that doesn't overwhelm him and Brookdale House fits our needs in that it isn't a typical "fill in the blank" workbook or overwhelming long copywork.

He especially loves Day 1 were he can hear a story and tell it back to me.  We'll be completing this ebook and then looking into others from Brookdale House.
To read the many various reviews of Brookdale House products click the banner below.  I'm looking forward to reading about Sheldon's Primary Language Lessons.
 Brookdale House Review

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