Serl's Language Lessons

Return to Categories


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, May 18, 2016
  • Grades Used: 2nd
  • Dates used: 2016
When my son finished his phonics lessons and I wanted to move him on to grammar, I searched for something gentle and Charlotte Mason-ish. Primary Language Lessons looked very promising. I got a beautiful used copy for very little money and really wanted it to work, but we will not be continuing with it for 3rd grade.

First, the pros: This book is truly all in one LA. Grammar, writing, poetry - it's all in there. You really only need to add spelling. I really like the poetry and the stories included. All interesting and classic. For the right kid, this would be a great program.

However, my son is apparently not that kid. He did not like the picture studies, the poems were much too long to memorize (but they could alternately be used just for poetry appreciation or enjoyment) and many of the old-fashioned references, he just didn't understand at all. Narration worked well but the dictation passages were much longer than he was capable of writing.

I got to the point where I was just using the book for grammar and there is so little that is just grammar that it felt like we were skipping most of the book. I decided it just wasn't worthwhile in that case.

I may try it again with the next child because it is really a beautiful book.


  • Reviewed on Sunday, June 9, 2013
  • Grades Used: 3rd grade
  • Dates used: 2012-2013
Oh, how I wish I loved this book.

All the other reviews were glowing, and I was really hoping to love this.

However, it does not work for me and my 3rd grade dd.


-The book is very small. It is just a little bigger than a paperback novel. The small size of the book makes the words look like it is crammed in.

-The book will not lie flat because it is so small. It is hardcover, but since it keeps flipping shut, it makes it hard to teach with.

-Not enough page breaks. When lesson 1 ends, lesson 2 begins on the same page with no page breaks in between. I wouldn't mind if the lessons are related, but there are no spaces between even when a completely new story or topic is next. It is like reading a novel/workbook where chapters/lessons are right on top of each other.

-Picture qualities are not great. All the pictures are black and white in this book. I don't mind that too much. However, the images are fuzzy like a black and white newspaper. A lot of picture studies are in this book, and I wish the image quality was better.

-Too much focus on classic poetry. There are a lot of good poetries in the book, but often they are old-fashioned and the expressions are too archaic or unnatural for a modern age children. At first, I thought maybe a 3rd grader is too young for this book, but most of the lessons are very simple (like learning to spell the days of the week, or grammar rules about capitals, or the difference about "may" and "can"). So, I guess it is made for 3-4th grade level.

-The teacher's manual is not very helpful. It gives answer keys, but does not explain the "why's" to the answers. Also, often it says, "Answers will vary." I also wish that the teacher's manual included the background information about the lessons or topic. When there is a poetry lessons, sometimes, it is an excerpt from a longer poem, but it does not mention anything about it. I ended up doing a lot of research online to figure out how to teach this book.

-A lot of the lessons are "Discuss orally." or "Memorize and recite." Not enough writing in my opinion. When there are writing, it is mostly "Dictate" or "Copy the sentence."

In a nutshell, this is a cute/fun book to look through to get inspirations for an adult, but not a very teachable book.

Calming Tea

  • Reviewed on Thursday, October 28, 2010
  • Grades Used: 2nd, 3rd
  • Dates used: 2010
This is the first time that I'm thrilled with a language arts curriculum. My son also loves it, which says a lot. We use it in a Ruth Beechick style and often spread lessons out over several days.

If you stretch the dictation out and really use it to learn the spelling and punctuation, this is the only LA book you need other than probably a more consistent spelling program.

PLL works for Charlotte Mason or Ruth Beechick homeschoolers, but anyone can look at it and give it a try for a very thorough LA program. It has copywork, dictation, picture study, grammar, usage, composition, narration, and more.

The selections are interesting to children. She seemed to know what they like. The stories and poems are wholesome but not odd or outdated.

One of the best things we've ever used in our Homeschool!


  • Reviewed on Friday, January 15, 2010
  • Grades Used: 3rd-4th
  • Dates used: 2008-2010
I absolutely love the simplicity of this language arts book. I do not need to prep anything in order to use it. The lessons are gentle and simple to complete yet very thorough. It changes each day so my children are not bored with the same fill in the blank workbooks. Sometimes we read a section an then copy from dictation or practice writing letters. Other days include poetry recitation and memorization or grammar usage. Also, you cannot beat the quality and price of these little gems. I think I paid 12.00 or such for each of the 2 books. Each book is also 2 years worth of work. I cannot recommend it highly enough.