Eclectic Foundations Language Arts
If you've had the vague sense that education today is just not what it was a hundred years ago, there's evidence that suggests you are right. A hundred years ago (in America) the McGuffey Readers were used in one-room schools all across the continent. Education rarely went past 8th grade and students would complete the McGuffey's 5th or 6th Readers. Applying today's Lexile standards to the McGuffey Readers yields some interesting data. The reading material in the 6th Reader, for example, has Lexile scores equaling 9th grade through college senior level. Eclectic Foundations seeks to provide quality language arts educational material based on the Revised edition of the McGuffey's Readers. Now, the 21st century student can be as well educated as his early 20th century counterpart.
Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Curriculum is designed as the lesson plans/lessons for the McGuffey Readers that might have been used in those one-room classrooms. The feel is very old-fashioned (materials are all black and white) but the provisions are modern consumable student workbooks where the student can do his required writing (no need for a slate) and no-prep Teacher's Guides. Approximate grade levels are given but be advised that the lower of the grade levels (starting with Level B) are advanced and may be more typical of the upper grade level. The books are designed to be used in sequence. The lessons and materials are well-organized and build in lots of hands-on activities at the lower levels. Phonics is provided, plus complete language arts (reading skills, poetry, grammar, handwriting/copywork). Phonics lessons are based on Word Mastery by Florence Akin and cover beginning through advanced phonics concepts. Grammar lessons are based on Speaking and Writing Book by William Maxwell and on First Lessons in English by Thomas Harvey. [All have been reworded to accommodate modern language.] All resources are available online at no cost but the author recommends purchasing a physical copy of the McGuffey Readers.
Lessons are straight-forward and simple: starting with reading the word lists and/or selection from a particular McGuffey Reader. Phonics practice has two parts word cards practice and review and spelling dictated words. The Word Cards for each level are printed ten to a page (to be cut apart). The words are outline letters, with the intent that the student will be coloring in the cards. The Phonics Practice Sheets are laminated pages in a spiral-bound book providing a write-on, wipe-off experience. Obviously, the pages can be re-used. Language Arts work continues with Handwriting Copywork (Traditional Style) from a McGuffey Lesson. Poetry is covered, with comprehension review. Grammar is covered with a teacher-student dialogue (scripted) providing examples and definitions as well as practice worksheets. Supplies needed for all grades are minimal pencils, crayons, scissors, map colors (colored pencils), plus thin and regular dry-erase markers and a box for word cards. There are, however, a few particulars for specific grades (listed below).
The Student Workbooks are practical, spiral-bound collections of lesson worksheets, with lined portions for handwriting practice, word lists from the lessons, and varied, short grammar exercises. Some picture studies and poetry are included. Teacher's Guides are also spiral-bound with one-page lessons. Each year contains 144 lessons (4 lessons per week for 36 weeks). All answers to exercises are provided in the TGs. The author recommends visiting the library weekly and incorporating a lot of outside reading along with the daily lessons. Just as you'll find in the McGuffey's, there is moral-character and faith-based content in both Teacher Guide and Student Workbooks.
If you've wished to go back to the days of simplicity and strength in elementary education, here is your opportunity - well-organized and laid out for you. ~ Janice