As soon as the review copies of these books arrived, I was smitten. This is the finest implementation of the Charlotte Mason method of instruction I have ever seen. If you are new to home education, the Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) name may not be familiar to you. Charlotte Mason was a British educator who devoted her life to improving the quality of children's education. To her, language arts skills consisted of narration, the child telling back a story; copywork, the transcribing of a well-written piece of literature as handwriting practice; and dictation, which is spelling and grammar taught within the context of rich language instead of static lists.
Sandi Queen has done an excellent job of combining those lesson essentials, and even if she had stopped there it would have been a fine program. But instead, she takes the series from satisfactory to exceptional by adding delightful flourishes that include picture studies with full-color paintings, basic phonics instruction, poetry appreciation and writing, creative writing, and much more.
It is the gorgeous reproduction of notable paintings that will first catch your eye. True to Charlotte Mason's philosophy, the picture studies are based on classic works of art, introducing the child to the paintings of great artists, encouraging him to study them by asking pertinent questions, and then asking for a narration of what he has observed.
Likewise characteristic of the Charlotte Mason approach, each lesson takes a scant five to fifteen minutes a day. This increases a bit with age, but is never as time-consuming as you will find in the more staid programs typical of government schools. And Language Lessons doesn't try to do everything everyday, which alleviates the tedium associated with other language arts programs. I know many mothers who struggle under the multiple pressures of parenting and educating, to say nothing of their responsibilities as wives and Christ followers. But I don't know any mother who is too busy to use this program. Each book is a large, consumable, perfectbound paperback, containing 180 lessons, and in full color.