Beginning English Grammar

Beginning English Grammar

First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind – A two-year beginning grammar and writing course.

by Jessie Wise

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€21.65    ~£15.15    


422 pages


Parents can assure their child’s success in language arts with this simple-to-use, scripted guide.  First Language Lessons uses picture study, and other classical techniques to develop the child’s language ability in those first two all-important years of study.

First Language Lessons is a complete beginning grammar and writing text that covers a wide range of topics including parts of speech, forming complete sentences, beginning writing, storytelling and narration skills. Parent/child scripts provide a flexible framework for each lesson, both saving time and lending confidence to the parent.  The scripted exercises also train a child’s ear so that she uses correct grammar.

Original, up-to-date, clear, illustrations make picture study both engaging and effective.

This Original hardback version is ideal for heavy use.  It’s beautifully case-bound in classic textbook style, so there is no floppy dust-jacket to deal with.  Since First Language Lessons is not a consumable book, it can be used again.  The hardback version is the perfect choice for families with multiple children or families who want a book that will withstand the rigors of homeschooling!

Jessie Wise will be publishing a book to follow First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind
It will be a third and fourth-grade grammar curriculum, so, unlike First Language Lessons, you will need to use a separate writing program. here are some Classic Kids CD’s which can be very helpful for there learning


First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind

By Jessie Wise

I believe we underestimate what children are capable of learning early.  Our ideas are influenced by the school model, which aims most of its instruction at what it considers the largest population—the “average child.”    But when we teach to the average, we train our children to be…average!  Instead, we can grow children who exceed the average by exposing them to above-average content – as long as that content is taught patiently, frequently, and consistently, and is reviewed often.

Beginning English Grammar

General Thoughts on Teaching Language

Learning rules without practical application is a sterile activity. Absorbing grammar incidentally without the guidance of rules is inefficient.  By combining simple rules with continued “real life” use of those rules in language, the teacher lays the foundation for a child’s application of appropriate rules to his own work in the future.
Children are natural imitators.  This book provides you with examples of correctly spoken and written English in order to train the child’s ear and hand.  Then his original ideas can have form and beauty when they are expressed.
Every time a child speaks or writes correctly, that pattern is imprinted on his mind; the same is true for patterns that are incorrectly practiced. It is better to do less work and do it correctly than to practice errors.  Then the child doesn’t have to spend time unlearning and relearning.

So don’t hurry through these lessons just to finish.  Take the time to have the child answer in complete sentences.  Take the time to frequently repeat rules until the child knows them. Take the time to have the child write correctly. Take the time to allow the child to make corrections immediately.  If you require him to correct his mistakes, you will not damage his self-esteem.  Compliment the correction and you will build his confidence.

Do not wait until a child is reading to expose him to good literature.  Likewise, do not wait until a child is writing to expose him to the proper use of our language. This is why I encourage the use of oral exercises while the child is young. Speech patterns are developed early.  The longer a child uses incorrect language, the harder it will be to teach him correct speech and writing.

This early exposure is the purpose of introducing young children to what some may consider advanced material.  But this early introduction is not intended to result in mastery; mastery comes later.

I suggest you file the child’s work in a notebook.  This will serve as a way to organize all of his language work — narrations that you write for him, his copy work and dictations, and copies of the letters he writes to real people.

The method of this book

First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind combines the best of traditional content, updated with examples and illustrations meaningful to present-day children. This book assumes you are already using a sequential phonics/spelling program, and  formal penmanship instruction . The lessons, which are scripted to give the instructor additional guidance, focus on training the child in the proper use of standard English.  These scripted lessons are not intended to be read by the child – instead, they aim to give you some idea of how to teach these skills.  Appropriate answers that the child should give to your questions are suggested, but the child should certainly not be required to give those answers word-for-word!  Do remember, though, to require all answers in complete sentences.  If the child answers with a single word or phrase, reword the answer as a complete sentence, repeat it to the child, and ask him to repeat it back to you.  This will begin to train his ear to recognize complete sentences.

Goals for grades 1-2

l. To train the child’s ear by allowing him to listen to correctly-spoken language.
2. To train the child’s speech by practicing correctly spoken grammar with him.
3. To train the child’s attention by reading aloud to him and having him narrate back to you the content or storyline, using proper grammar.

4. To teach beginning skills of correctly writing the English language:

a) by copying short sentences, using correct capitalization and punctuation

b) by writing short sentences from dictation, using correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

5. To give the child opportunity to practice these skills in writing.

Remember: exposure, not mastery, is the goal at this level!

The tools used in this book: the “four strand” approach

 This book teaches rules, usage, and beginning writing skills by using four different tools.

1.  Memory work

The child is assigned simple memory work – short poems and brief rules to learn by heart.  The poems instill the beauty and rhythm of correct language in the child’s mind.  The rules may not be completely understood when they are first committed to memory, but they will be a resource for the child as he continues to exercise his growing language skills.

2. Copying and dictation

 The student is asked to copy sentences in first grade, and moves on to taking sentences from dictation in second grade.  This early training in writing uses correct models to shape the child’s writing skills, and allows children to practice proper writing technique without forcing them to come up with original ideas.  Although first and second graders may choose to write original stories and compositions, they should never be required to do so.  They are still learning the “code” of written language, and should be allowed to focus on the technicalities of this “code” without simultaneously producing original content!

This approach makes it possible for children to absorb more grammar content earlier than is expected in programs that require young children to produce original writing.  Ideas come slowly for many young children, and getting those ideas on paper is difficult before adequate skills are acquired.
Copying allows the student to store in his mind (and muscle memory) the look and feel of properly written language.  Dictation, done after the student has had plenty of practice in copying, teaches the student to picture a sentence in his mind before putting it down onto paper.  Both steps are necessary before the student is required to do original writing.

3. Narration

While the student is learning correct mechanics through copying and dictation, he is also practicing the producing of original content orally.  This will prepare him for “real writing.”  By third or fourth grade, the student will have learned through copying and dictation how to put written language down on paper.  Through narration, he will have learned how to formulate his thoughts into complete sentences.  At this point, he will be ready to do original written compositions.

 Two types of narration are used; both are intended to train the child in attention, observation, and expression, so that as he matures he will be able to share his own thoughts with eloquence.

 a.  “Picture narration”

 Some of the lessons ask the student to look at and describe a picture.  This allows him to practice observation skills as well as proper language use — always encourage the child to describe the picture in complete sentences!

 b.  “Story narration”

 In other lessons, you will read a short story to the child and then ask him to tell it back to you in his own words.  This type of narration helps the child to listen, to comprehend spoken language, and to grasp the main point of work.

4. Grammar

The rules of grammar bring order to the chaos of words in the child’s mind.   Think of the study of formal grammar as the building of a room. The essentials – nouns and verbs – are the floor, walls, and ceiling.  The room is decorated with adjectives and adverbs. The relationships between the different pieces of furniture in the room are demonstrated through prepositions and conjunctions.  And sometimes the people in the room show intense emotion – with interjections!

The student is taught the correct definitions of grammatical terms from the very beginning.  Much of this grammar is done orally so that more advanced grammar can be covered while the child is improving his writing skills through the practice of copying, dictation, and narration.


Encourage the child to answer in complete sentences. Suggested wording for the instructor is in italics; suggested wording for the child is in traditional print.

The lessons are planned to give an adequate foundation for every child.  I assume that many children will not be ready to do a great deal of pencil-work in first and second grade.  For children who are physically capable of doing more writing, I have provided “enrichment activities.”  But it is not necessary – or expected — that most children will do these enrichment exercises!

 Even if your child can already write, plan on doing the first sixty exercises orally.

To read the complete article and view sample lessons and helps go to

What do you use when you have completed First Language Lesson for the Well-Trained Mind?

Well the recommendation from The Well-Trained Mind is… the Building Christian Grammar series from Rod & Staff Publishers.

“… The clearest and most complete textbook series is published by Rod & Staff… and the series is unabashedly Christian (Rod & Staff is a Mennonite publisher).

These texts provide an excellent, rigorous, thorough grounding in grammar and composition. Remember, though this program was originally designed for a classroom, and there’s enough repetition in the exercises to keep a room full of students busy. Don’t feel you need to complete every exercise if the child understands the concepts…

              If your undecided, know that we prefer the Rod and Staff books; they demand more of the student.

              – The Well-Trained Mind

How Does Singapore Math compare

How Does Singapore Math compare?

  1. How does Singapore Math compare with other Maths programs?
    Singapore Maths is a balance between drill and creative problem-solving. Customers who have used other programs think that the Singapore approach moves along to more abstract math concepts in a more rational way and, depending on the student’s pace, more quickly. Other positive feedback indicates that the Singapore approach encourages greater problem-solving skills and creative thinking.
  2. Does Singapore Maths use the incremental, spiral, or unit-style approach?
    The Singapore Maths curriculum does not conform strictly to any of the above approaches. The strong point of Primary Maths is the way basic concepts are presented. There is always more than one approach, and the workbooks are instrumental in making sure the information is generalized in the way desired. There are ‘Practice’ and ‘Revision’  that serve as unit tests at the ends of chapters and sections. There is a really effective mix of the drill, word problems, and mental calculation instruction connected to all important concepts. While typical U.S. curricula touch on a larger number of topics rather superficially, PM nails the core maths curriculum in a way that better prepares students for higher maths. learn more about Us Curriculum at Does Singapore Math compare
  3. How is Maths drilled in Singapore?
    Individual teachers approach the process of oral drill and use of manipulatives differently. There is, however, great emphasis on homework and practice. The workbooks are intended to be completed by students without assistance.
  4. How teacher-intensive is the program?
    As with any program, effective supervision plays an important role.
  5. Is there any part of Singapore Math which is independent learning?
    The student is expected to do all the work in the workbooks independently.
  6. Do we need to purchase additional products such as manipulatives for use with this curriculum?
    Teachers in Singapore use simple manipulatives such as flashcards, charts, and 3-dimensional objects, Classic Kids CDs.
  7. What grading scales are used in Singapore for primary level math?A* to U Grade System
    A*: 91% and above
    A: 75% to 90%
    B: 60% to 74%
    C: 50% to 59% (passing grade)
    D: 35% to 49%
    E: 20% to 34%
    U: 0% to 19% (Ungraded)50% is the minimum passing mark for primary school math.
    A* Distinction (91% and above).Note: some schools adopt the Band System from Primary 1 to Primary 3 (or Primary 5).  By Primary 6, most schools would have switched to A* to U Grade System.Band System for Lower Primary
    Band 1: 85% to 100%
    Band 2: 70% to 84%
    Band 3: 50% to 69% (passing grade)
    Band 4: Below 50%

The Curricula for Creativity

The Curricula for Creativity

Written for homeschool or independent study, these books are so student-friendly that anyone, experienced or novice will feel comfortable producing original and expressive works of art. Teachers easily adapt the books to the classroom. Using Artistic Pursuits, teachers know that students get a complete overview of the subject of art, written with order and clarity. Artistic Pursuits reaches out to all children and young adults who want to learn, capturing their interests as they work from direct observation and personal preferences. Parents, teachers, and students agree that this is the art curriculum they’ve been looking for!

The Artistic Pursuits approach to teaching art is a welcome departure from typical art instruction books.  A variety of applications are used to teach both the expressive and technical aspects of art. Assignments guide students to mature artistic expression, providing a more effective approach to developing skills in the visual arts.  Grades K-3 levels give students an introduction to the visual arts and a view of art through history.  Book 1 at each higher level provides an overview of drawing, covering the elements of art and composition.  Book 2 at each higher level provides an overview of colour theory and composition. learn more about visual art by clicking here

Artistic Pursuits

The Curricula for Creativity

Product Range

K-3 Book 1

K-3 Book 2

K-3 Book 3   NEW!!!

Grades 4-6 Book 1

Grades 4-6 Book 2

Early High, Years 7-9 Book 1

Early High, Years 7-9 Book 2

Upper High, Years 10-12 Book 1

Upper High, Years 10-12 Book 2

Frequently Asked Questions

Artistic Pursuits, helps parents and teachers give students a quality art education that will prepare them to meet creative challenges in their future endeavors.

This approach to teaching artworks!   Here’s why:

Skills develop as the student observes nature and enjoys the process of creating.  The Artistic Pursuits student carries art tools and a drawing board to locations that both inspire and are chosen by the student.  While learning the skills of drawing or painting they work with composition, choosing their own scenes and subject matter.  Creating truly personal work gives students a sense of accomplishment that cannot be attained by copying from a book.

Students learn because direct observation is the best teacher when accompanied by the foundational elements of art and composition found within every unit.  You’ll find this approach works because it is based on using a variety of applications to expand students’ awareness of the visual world around them.

Within each unit is four pages.

Each page has an assignment covering the various applications as described below:

PAGE ONE – part 1, CONCEPTUAL APPLICATION (Building a Visual Vocabulary) Introduction to the elements of art and composition, which are the concepts foundational to art education.

part 2, EXPRESSIVE APPLICATION (Observation and Creative Exploration) Assignments encourage observation of the world, both natural and man-made.  Introduced to a variety of approaches to exploring their world, students use creative thought, arriving at personal visual solutions.

PAGE TWO – PRACTICAL APPLICATION (Looking at Art) This activity broadens understanding of how each element of art or compositional arrangement is used by observing it in a work of art by the masters.

PAGE THREE – TECHNICAL APPLICATION (Techniques and Materials) Developing varied and essential skills for seeing and for applying materials, students consider both traditional methods and experimentation.

PAGE FOUR – PRACTICED APPLICATION (Original Work) A final project allows students to bring together the main idea of each unit (page one), it’s expanded use as seen in the masterwork of art (page two), as well as new techniques and discoveries (page three) to create an original work of art.


Students see how master artists used the elements of art or compositional arrangements in their work.  Included with each book is a packet of fine art reproductions that the student inserts into the book.  The selection of prints includes drawings and paintings in both colour (Books 2) and greyscale (Books 1) (no nudity). read more about Fine Art Printing at


Could this art curriculum possibly be a good fit for what I’m currently using in other subjects?

Customers come back every year telling Artistic Pursuits about the successes their children are having from using these simple books, and some are extremely pleased to find that the art history in the K-3 series and art appreciation in the 4-12 series dovetails nicely with what they are already studying.

Sonlight users say the books seemed to be designed for them – Artistic Pursuits K-3 Book One fitting Core 1, Artistic Pursuits K-3 Book 2 fitting Core 2, Artistic Pursuits Grades 4-6 (focusing on American Art) fit Core 3 and 4. Junior High (World Art) fitting Cores 5 and 6 and so on.

Those who love Charlotte M. Mason’s homeschooling model will find Artistic Pursuits a wonderful way to apply her ideas of creativity and freedom as children are encouraged to observe and ponder such things as a “leaf or twig”, and in her words “deal with it as he chooses” and by “picture talk”, observing real works of art. Those using the Core Knowledge Series find  Artistic Pursuits lines up with the ideas of offering “specific knowledge”, with the added benefit of applying that knowledge by making art.

Tapestry of Grace (history program) and others using the Classical Approach are delighted with Artistic Pursuits – putting a practical application to those ideas in the subject of art.

Unschoolers have said it the perfect thing when their children want more art.

Christian Light Education

Christian Light Education

Homeschool Curriculum for Grades K-12

For over 20 years, Christian Light Education books has been to produce quality school material to help prepare students for life, both academically and spiritually. Do you need a full curriculum program? Looking for a specific subject to supplement your curriculum? CLE offers a complete curriculum for K-12, including high school electives.

You’re thinking about homeschooling?

Christian Light Education has been successfully helping students since 1980. CLE’s wide range of options meets many different needs. From preschool through high school, CLE offers a complete academic education.


CLE curriculum emphasizes wholesome morals, godly character training, family values, modesty, simplicity, and thrift. A creationist life-view leads students to marvel at the wonder of God’s work in nature. In each course, our goal is to look at the subject from God’s perspective. “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.”

Christian Light Education

Academically Sound

Parents using CLE continually report above-average achievement on standardized test scores. Here’s why: CLE believes that quality of learning is more important than the quantity of material. Students are led through memory, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and finally, evaluation.

Easy to Use

Whether you’re working with one student or several children at different levels, CLE will fit. Most courses can be either teacher-led or self-paced. This provides mothers with more freedom to spend time with one child while others work independently. Quizzes, tests and complete answer keys to make measuring progress simple and straightforward.