First Language Lessons (FLL) is our elementary grammar curriculum. Many people pair FLL with our elementary writing curriculum, Writing With Ease (WWE) but the two curricula are not dependent on one another; you can use Well-Trained Mind Press' grammar with another vendor’s writing curriculum, or Well-Trained Mind Press' writing curriculum with another vendor’s grammar curriculum.
Start FLL Level 1 when the student is an emerging reader, is able to sound out multi-syllable words, and has practiced penmanship enough to be able to copy names, words, and short sentences. Starting in first or second grade leaves plenty of time to complete all levels of FLL in the elementary years and move on to Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind in the middle grades.
How does First Language Lessons work? How is it structured?
FLL is a scripted grammar curriculum in four levels (not “grade levels”--use what is appropriate for your student’s abilities). Each level is designed to be completed in a year.
Levels 1 constitutes a full year of grammar instruction with content and instruction targeted at first or second grade level.
Level 2 constitutes a full year of grammar instruction with content and instruction targeted at the second or third grade level. Level 2 builds on Level 1. If you are starting FLL in second grade, start with Level 1. In third grade, you have a choice: progress to Level 2 if you want to continue with the poems, stories and rhymes; or jump ahead to Level 3. Either option is fine.
Levels 1 or Level 2 require only the Instructor Guide; there is no student workbook as all the work is done orally. The optional audiobook brings to life the poems, stories and rhymes in both Levels 1 & 2.
Level 3 constitutes a full year of grammar instruction with content and instruction targeted at third or fourth grade level.
Level 4 constitutes a full year of grammar instruction with content and instruction targeted at fourth or fifth or fourth grade level.
Levels 3 and 4 require both an Instructor Guide and a Student Workbook.
Does FLL introduce sentence diagramming?
Levels 3 and 4 introduce the student to sentence diagramming. Our optional reference books can be helpful starting at this stage. These books are useful through high school and beyond.
- The Grammar Guidebook (GG) is a lifetime reference book for you and your student.
- The Diagramming Dictionary (DD) is a power-assist in teaching sentence diagramming.
Should I order-paperback or PDF? CD or MP3?
FLL materials are available in physical media (hardback, paperback) or digital media (PDF or MP3) format. Before you place your order, consider the following to stretch your homeschool budget:
- Some parents are comfortable teaching from a laptop or tablet. In this case, purchasing the Instructor Guide in PDF format can save you some money--it costs less to start with, there is no shipping fee, and delivery is nearly immediate.
- You can decide whether it is more economical for you to print the Student Workbooks or order the paperbacks and have them shipped; the students will write on most of the pages. Read on...
Can I see a sample of the curriculum?
We provide extensive samples of each book on its product page (that’s the webpage you go to in order to purchase the product). Look for the Sample button under the picture of the book's cover. By taking a good look at the samples, you should be able to determine the correct level and the format you wish to use.
Using both WWE and FLL means my student has a lot of narration, dictation, and copy work. Isn’t this overkill?
Yes, it is overkill for a student to complete these exercises in both WWE and FLL. As stated above, we created each product so you can choose the writing program and the grammar program that works for your family. We believe that narration, dictation, and copy work are foundational to writing and grammar skills, and so we included the instruction in both products because many vendors do not teach these skills.
If you use both WWE and FLL, you need not do the narration, dictation, and copy work in both books. Choose one or the other.
Where should I start a second-grader?
Start the second-grader at Level 1 and progress through all 4 levels through 5th grade. This plan works well and provides a 6th-grade entry into Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind. Some people stay with this path because Level 2 has the stories, poems, and rhymes as in Level 1.
Some people start the second grader on Level 1, and then skip to Level 3 in third grade. Choose whichever works for your family and your student(s).
At what pace should my student complete a Level?
FLL’s scripted lessons take you through each level in a school-year. Remember - the objective is not speed, but mastery. Stick to the schedule - don’t quit - and focus on mastery.
Can I use FLL with a middle-school student?
FLL is targeted at students in grades 1-5. A middle-school student (grades 6-8) can benefit from Level 4, but at this age, students can be a bit sensitive to being “downgraded.” Perhaps it is better to use Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind and take it at a slower pace that allows for mastery.
Can I use FLL in a classroom or group-instruction setting?
Yes. We have licensing information in this FAQ.
We have completed FLL-4, but we need more sentence diagramming practice.
Take a look at Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind. It has extensive diagramming instruction and practice. (Our diagram illustrator reports that she produced more than 450 diagrams for each student workbook.) Don’t give up: in this article, Susan Wise Bauer explains the importance of diagramming. You can progress to Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind, and take it at the pace your student needs to master the skill.
What if I am already committed to another grammar curriculum?
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