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I’m totally new to this and would LOVE advice. I already bought SWR (Swell to Write and Read) and have started wading through the book, laminated everything, and teaching my daughter Cursive First for starters. EVERYTHING I’ve read says that SWR is the best and most effective but many parents drop out because it is harder on the teacher, and possibly the student. Then I’ve learned there’s other programs like SWR that might be easier like LOEE (Logic of English Essentials) and RLTL (Reading Lessons through Literature). I’ve already invested so much money and effort into SWR that I cringe to part with it so soon. As a new homeschooler, of course I want *THE BEST.* 🙂 I’m wondering if I can start with one of the other programs and switch to SWR later, or if they would not be compatible? Would love to hear all different opinions. My other concern is how well whatever Language Arts program I chose will mesh with my daughter learning cursive. SWR seems to think you can teach handwriting in 2 weeks to 2 months AT MOST and then begin complicated dictated spelling and rules lessons! I don’t want to hold my daughter back in spelling (and therefore learning to read since it is a “spell to read” program) because she might need more time to master writing. I don’t want writing to be so frustrating that she learns to hate spelling with all those rule markings! On that note, what is a reasonable timeline to learn to write cursive for a 5 y.o.? (Side Note: If you’re not familiar with reasons to teach cursive first, check this out: http://www.montessoriutah.com/why-cursive-first/ )
I’ll chime in later with more. I teach cursive from the beginning at age 5. I’ve taught two this way. It took each about 2 months to learn all of their letters. Oldest learned print fist, but cursive around 6 and learned in a couple of weeks. Highly recommend teaching cursive first.
Ive used every OG program I’ve seen. I’ll try to come back in a bit to share more. My fave is RLTL for simplicity and transition to dictation.
THANK YOU MISSCEEGEE. I look forward to your response!
If you wouldn’t mind commenting further, do you know if RLTL is the same as ELTL? (One says “Reading” one says “English”). I’ve been researching LOE Foundations and it looks very appealing, as I think I need the “open-and-go” format and the reading + handwriting mix. It makes me think I can start with that and transition to my already-purchased SWR later for advanced spelling, but I don’t know much about RLTL or ELTL.
If you have any warnings about LOE Foundations, please let me know, as it is a (second) major expense if I go through with it, but I’m willing to spend it if I think it will work best for us. I’m realizing that FUN and EASY are higher priorities than I first thought, and my daughter LOVES workbooks.MichelleParticipant
I’ll chime in with the last question. ELTL is more of a language arts program that includes reading literature (poetry, good books, Aesop’s Fables), copy work, poetry, narration, and memorization. RLTL teaches reading and spelling. It reminds me of All About Spelling without all the bells and whistles. I’m using both right now with 2 little ones.
I’m not experienced enough to give more of an opinion other than we are enjoying it so far. These are the first “official” LA programs we’ve used in our homeschooling journey.
Thanks, Michelle 🙂
I think you should pick one – SWR, LOE, or RLTL. All serve the same purpose and go about it in a very similar way, but different enough to make switching annoying. I prefer the OG approach that each of these takes. I like SWR better than LOE, simply because I know it better. SWR is overwhelming and needs to be dialed back to embrace the CM idea of SHORT lessons!!! RLTL is very much like SWR, but doesn’t have as many words. The idea is that once you finish the books you move on to CM prepared dictation with the tools to analyze words as needed. This is a balanced approach that I’m taking with my two youngest kids.
Charlotte did not recommend intensive phonics for teaching reading and she did not work on spelling until age 9 or 10 and then with prepared dictation. I teach reading with intensive phonics because it makes the most sense to me and it works well for my kids. My two oldest are naturally weak in spelling. They need the rules to help them understand the words. We do begin prepared dictation at 9. It is fantastic and all I expect dd8 will ever need. She is working through RLTL right now. However, dd14 and ds11 need a two pronged approach, so that’s what we do. At this point, they do prepared dictation and are using Phonetic Zoo (not OG, but they can do it independently).
Personally I tried SWR and RLTL and it was not a good fit. We started cursive at 5, and they did great, but actually writing neatly, while trying to remember the word and rules… it did not work for my kids. It was almost like information overload and nothing stuck.
I switched to phonics, using the SWR cards to review and kearn, and just simple reading books to point out phonics in learning to read.
I continue the SWR (similar to RLTL) phonics rules into SW dictation. Pulling those rules into new words that they are studying from the dictation passage.
Thanks for those informative responses. If I choose to go with LOE Foundations, should I just try to sell SWR or save it to return to later? I know LOE doesn’t progress as far in spelling as SWR. How far does RLTL take the student in spelling?cedargirlParticipant
I am taking this thread all in because I too bought SWR last spring second hand. I flip flopped back and forth between Delightful Reading and SWR, then the opportunity to buy the whole shebang laminated appeared. I finally read through the beast of a teaching guide and could not figure out exactly how to teach it until 3/4 way through the book. I really like the idea of understanding spelling as you teach writing so the byproduct is reading. I tried Phonics Museum (and thankful for the D’Nealian font find because of it) but my daughter struggled to click with reading. I used Explode the Code for our next child. Exhale. Let’s just let that one go. So little person #3 starting K soon and I am certain I did not understand the scope of teaching SWR.
Is it worth it?
How do I CM-ify it (is that even possible) ?
what do you recommend?
bhicks1122, I hope you don’t mind me chiming in with questions here too on the topic of SWR. I too want to make a wise choice and am willing to sell and buy something else if that is best. I totally get you!
Both SWR & LOE are a chunk of money, so only you can decide what to keep.
- SWR can go all the way to 12th grade or until you finish.As written it takes FOREVER daily. You can set a timer and shorten lessons, do only the phonogram quizzes, word lists, and charts and that helps.
- I’ve forgotten how far LOE goes, but it isn’t as far as SWR, but if I recall, the idea is that you learn the basics and can apply it later. I read this thoroughly and tried for a couple of weeks, but I knew SWR and it was easier to keep up with bc of it.
- RLTL has 4 books and could be taught K-3 or a bit later and then you take what you’ve learned and move completely into CM prepared dictation. Very open and go. I’m using this now with dd8 and will begin with ds5 in a couple of weeks. This teaches all of the phonograms with markings and syllabication. It uses up through Elson Reader book 3 which is 3rd/4th grade. At this point, you continue working on reading with what you’ve already learned. I like the readers built into the book and the word lists organized around the stories.
Either program can work, imo, it’s what you want that you have to decide. I want a strong phonics foundation for learning to read and spell. I used every OG program, including one from Australia, to see what I liked. SWR is great, but with 4 kids, including a high schooler, it’s tough to get to each day. For my youngest two, RLTL is my plan and then move 100% to prepared dictation.
Thanks everyone for your continued contribution to my thread. Eagerly absorbing all replies (and new questions)! 🙂
Missceegee (Christie) – How far does RLTL take a student in spelling? You said you’d move to 100% prepared dictation, (and maybe that is the answer, but I am new to CM, so I don’t know exactly what that means.) Thanks!
My post with links is in the spam trap. It should show up soon.
What I decided:
For various reasons I decided against RLTL. (Thanks for the recommendations; I took them seriously and still hold them in mind. I do like the classic stories with the spelling lists. RLTL is cheap enough to add on later at another point if I want to.)
But as far as starting out, I made the difficult decision to go with LOE (Logic of English- Foundations) instead of SWR. I did a VERY thorough, systematic comparison of all the differences in the phonograms and rules used, to see if they if it would be compatible to switch to SWR later, since LOE doesn’t take you as far.
Comparison of LOE and SWR:
I found that they are very similar but different enough to matter. I found LOE addressed a lot of my questions and issues with the SWR phonograms and rules. I read LOE’s blogs about her reasons for those decisions (such as 4 sounds for /y/ vs. SWR’s 3 sounds) and they were good. In another case, SWR lists “valley” as an example for the 3rd sound of “ey” which they say sould be short /i/. This doesn’t make sense to me, at least in my dialect. However LOE has the third sound for “ey” as long “e.” I think SWR does a lot more fudging in the “think to spell” area to make their rules work, whereas LOE has rules that make more sense from the beginning. Anyway, those are just a couple examples. I saw that most of the rules were the same, but more detailed in LOE and with several extra.
However, that being said, I still think SWR is a GREAT program, and if I had already started my kids with it’s rules and markations, there wouldn’t be a good reason to switch. Even the author of LOE explains her reasonings while being careful to say that there are MANY good phonics approaches and this is just her take on what makes the most sense, based on research. (a.k.a. don’t bash other programs). In the end the LOE phonograms and rules make a little more sense to me. All the confusing things and problems I was pondering after reading the SWR manuel and studying the rules/phonograms were explained/addressed by LOE.
Of course LOE’s open-and-go format and the fun workbook and activity suggestions for the kids were the real clincher for me. (For the record, SWR defenders will say SWR is open-and-go after you get used to it and it also has descriptions for games and game sets you can buy). However, I get overwhelmed easily and off-track easily. Having it all laid out gives me the secure base to keep me going daily and then have the freedom to branch out as I understand things better. You can learn as you go. I still feel this way after reading and highlighting the manual and watching SWR videos. Plus my daughter LOVES colorful workbooks.
For the record, I plan to return to the WISE GUIDE (with SWR) after LOE programs run out–unless LOE adds more levels–to continue the spelling lessons. Of course I’ll use the LOE’s markations instead of SWR’s at that point, but they are similar anyway. I still think SWR’s Alpha List will come in handy, since so much is the same.
Also I decided to stick with Cursive First, which came with my SWR set, instead of LOE’s cursive. It is almost the same, but they do not teach clock letters going to 2 o’clock, and I prefer the look (rather than that pinched look of LOE). Also, my kids love the Cursive First details for how to write a phonogram (“start on the base line, make a short uphill stroke up and over to 2 o’clock,” etc.). This may be important for some learning styles. LOE’s is much more simplified.
However, I like LOE’s pace for teaching the writing of the phonograms. You spend half a year on lowercase A-Z and the other half on uppercase. Sure beat’s SWR’s suggestion to get the lowercase introduced in 2 weeks. I know SWR has reasons for that, so kids don’t get “bored,” but I felt the pace was way too unreasonable to really teach them right.
LOE is also set up so that you can do just 3 lessons a week. You can go faster if you prefer and learn to write the phonograms faster. But meanwhile there is extensive practice with colorful worksheets teaching kids to identify sounds in the front, middle and end of words. I like being hand-guided through this process.
Finally LOE incorporated grammar and adheres to Common Core requirements. Don’t know many homeschoolers who really care about Common Core but its there if you care.
Hope this helps.
That helps quite a bit Bethany! If I do use SWR, I will use it more like Sarah2106 (use of cards with spelling wisdom coming in at dictation) and Christie’s suggestion (shorten lessons and focus on phonograms).
in reading Bethany’s post, it helped me see that SWR is not what I want 100%. I guess I need to look more at this because I was hoping to use it as a way to teach him how to read logically and understand the phonograms. But it sounds like I need to look at the card set closer. It is also something I need to pray more about because I don’t have peace about it too. Thank you gals for your info!
I still think SWR is a GREAT program. The minor things that bothered me wouldn’t be enough to ditch it altogether, especially since it is cheaper than LOE. I wouldn’t have bought SWR in the first place if it wasn’t for a LOT of research. SWR has logical research-based reasons for all their phonograms/rules too. You just want to pick one phonogram/rule list and stick with it.
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