Topic | Advice Needed: "Using Language Well" – Book 1 & 2

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  • Vanessa

    I’m fairly new to CM Method and in need of some guidance concerning Language Arts. Seems like they’re various CM ways I can go with this and I’ve been researching SCM website to see what would be the best route to go.

    We’re going into our 2nd year homeschooling. I’ve been exploring CM and starting implementing some things last year, for example, narration, copywork, and dictation. This year I plan on diving further into CM method for my 3rd and 6th grader.

    Since, we didn’t start with CM from the beginning (they’re coming from public school), should I start my 3rd grader – 8 year old with Using Language Well – Book 1 and Spelling Wisdom – Book 1 or continue with Copywork and then work on developing dictation?

    Also, for my 6th grader – 11 year old, I have Simply Grammar by Karen Andreola and I wasn’t sure which one would be better for him to learn from…Using Language Well – Book 1 or 2 along with Spelling Wisdom or Simply Grammar? I don’t want to overload him with too many resources and want to make it as simple as possible while helping him to learn Language Arts effectively.

    *Side note: he needs help on developing his writing skills and wasn’t sure if one book would help more than the other.

    Thank you much!

    Sonya Shafer

    Hi, Vanessa. It sounds like Using Language Well, Book 1, with Spelling Wisdom, Book 1, would be a good fit for your 3rd grader. The books are designed to last for two years. In the 3rd grade portion (the first half of the books), your student will be doing transcription, which is a gentle bridge between copywork and dictation. (You can read more about it in this article on that natural progression.) Then Using Language Well will help you make the transition to dictation when she gets to the 4th grade portion.

    For your 6th grader, it’s up to you. You might want to take a look at samples of the books you’re considering to help you make the decision. Spelling Wisdom, Book 2, with Using Language Well, Book 2, would be done twice a week. Those books are designed to be spread over two years also, so they would most likely not overwhelm him with too much. Those two books will cover his spelling and grammar. Then, in the back of the teacher book you will find guidance for his written narrations/composition. Take a look at the sample of the teacher book and see if that guidance would be helpful to you.


    Thanks Sonya for taking the time to address my questions!
    This helps me know where I need to start with both of them.

    I need clarity on what grades normally use Using Language Well, Book 2 and Spelling Wisdom, Book 2 as well as how would I use the remaining Spelling Wisdom, Book 3-5? Is it incorporated with Using Language Well, Book 2 or are these stand alone resources? The reason I ask is I see that Spelling Wisdom goes up to Book 5, but I didn’t see Using Language Well books to coincide with them like they did with Book 1 & 2.





    From the ULW bookstore page

    Grades 3 and 4—Book 1 (Lessons 1–70 incorporate transcription; Lessons 71–140 make the transition to prepared dictation.)

    Grades 5 and 6—Book 2

    Grades 7 and 8—Book 3

    Grades 9 and 10—Book 4

    Grades 11 and 12—Book 5

    ULW is a new resource, more are to come, they are just not finished.

    My DD used the 2nd half of ULW 1 & SW 1 last year in 4th grade and will be moving into ULW 2 with SW 2 this fall for 5th grade. My 3rd grader is starting ULW 1 and SW 1 this fall.

    The grades are not “set” though and don’t feel that you have to rush through to complete a level at a specific pace if your student needs more time to study and prepare for dictations, take the time.


    Thank you for this post!
    I have a 9 YO that started SW last year but we never made it a habit…and a 7 YO that I hope to start with this year.
    I think I’ll have the oldest use the 2nd half of ULW and SW and the younger the first half instead of putting my Form 2 into the 2nd books when she never used the 1st.

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