For comprehensive guidance, please see The Well-Trained Mind, (The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, 4th edition, by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, published by W.W. Norton, 2016. ISBN 978-0-393-25362-7). The Well-Trained Mind, 4th Edition
In this book, Susan Wise Bauer and her mother, Jessie Wise, make the following recommendations for a complete language arts program.
Grammar: First Language Lessons 1, 2, 3, or 4, for elementary students (Grades 1-4), followed by Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind workbooks for intermediate students. (Grades 5-8)
Writing: Writing with Ease text and workbooks 1, 2, 3, or 4 or elementary students, followed by Writing with Skill, texts and workbooks 1, 2, and 3 for intermediate students.
Spelling: Your choice; we recommend Spelling Workout, by Modern Curriculum Press.
Reading: The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading (phonics) and your library card. You can read more, here, from Jessie Wise: FAQ about Phonics and Reading
More About the Recommended Books and How to Use Them
First Language Lessons (FLL) and Writing with Ease (WWE) are designed to be used together, but they do not have to be used together. FLL covers grammar, punctuation, and mechanics; WWE covers writing skills--narration, dictation and copywork. The two books are structured so the exercises in WWE reinforce the concepts taught in FLL.
FLL includes dictation and narration in some lessons.. If you are using WWE, you may choose to skip these exercises in FLL, especially if a child is still developing fine motor skills. However, if the student needs additional practice in dictation or narration, the exercises in FLL can supplement those in WWE.
Starting First Language Lessons: Start a first- or second-grader in Level 1. (Level 2 builds on Level 1, so start at Level 1.) Start a third- or fourth-grader on grade level (3 or 4) because Levels 3 and 4 repeat everything found the previous years and introduce new concepts.
Starting Writing with Ease: If you have a first-grader, start in Level 1. Otherwise, use the WWE Diagnostic Evaluations to determine which level is right for your student.
WWE Diagnostic Evaluations (If the link doesn't work, try cutting and pasting this address into your browser: http://downloads.peacehillpress.com/pdfs/samples/wwe/wweevaluations.pdf.)
This link opens the Diagnostic Evaluation pages from the WWE Instructor Text. The cover shows a picture of hands holding a pencil. Scroll down and you will see the Mastery diagnostic evaluations.
Start with Year 1, page 66. If your student passes it, move on to the next one(s), in order, until you find the right level for your student.
Year 1, page 66
Year 2, page 108
Year 3, page 155
Year 4, page 215
A student will not necessarily be in the same level of WWE as in FLL, so it is important to use this diagnostic tool.
Based on the first years of customer feedback, Susan Wise Bauer has written updated guidelines for using our writing program. These updates are reflected in The Well-Trained Mind, 4th Edition, and you can find them here: Updated Guidelines 2014; Writing Program
Susan Wise Bauer and others have produced videos and written many articles to provide further guidance about how the products fit together, and to provide teaching tips and planning assistance. You can find the videos and articles at this link: Well-Trained Mind - Articles and Videos