First Language Lessons

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  • Reviewed on Thursday, April 10, 2014
  • Grades Used: 1
  • Dates used: 2012-2013
We really wanted to like this book but it wasn't a good fit for us. Both of my children were soon bored and frustrated by the slow pace. The first FLL book may be perfect for children who need a gentle introduction to English, but it is probably TOO gentle for average or quick learners. We switched to Rod & Staff English for second grade.

On a positive note, my children enjoyed the poems in FLL.


  • Reviewed on Friday, May 25, 2012
  • Grades Used: 1st-2nd
  • Dates used: 2011-2013
I used FLL 1 with my K/1st grader and FLL 1 and 2 with my 2nd grader (having just come out of PS, I wasn't sure how much grammar he had studied).
I actually really like the scripted nature of it. My 2nd grader retained the info really well, and he just read over my shoulder the things that he needed to.

I would recommend FLL 1 and 2, but I wasn't a big fan of FLL 3, so we didn't do 4. FLL 3 was too workbook heavy, and extremely repetitive when it came to diagramming sentences. What was acceptable and not a big deal in FLL 1 (repeating the definition of a noun lol) became tiresome and laborious in FLL 3 (repeating how to diagram a specific type of sentence).


  • Reviewed on Friday, February 10, 2012
  • Grades Used: 1-4
  • Dates used: 2006-2012
We have used all of the FLL series. Levels 1 and 2 were great! By level 3 we started slowing down as the lessons became longer and dryer. We are currently on level 4 and I have decided enough is enough. My daughter and I are both bored to tears and dread the lessons. Also, this is the last book in the series, leaving me to find a new curriculum anyway.

The main reason I was drawn to these books is the way the teaching dialog was written out. Which is great when you are new to homeschooling. Now that we are in year 5 it seems to have become a hindrance.


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, January 25, 2012
  • Grades Used: Level 4
  • Dates used: 2011-2012
We have tried quite a few Grammar products (Rod and Staff, Abeka, BJU, Easy Grammar) and since my son requested to learn sentence diagramming, we opted to give this product a try.
We are only half-way through with the book and I'm ready to toss it.

I have mixed feelings about it and hopefully these will help others:

The teacher manual requires NO thinking on the part of the teacher (which I actually think is a con as you will see below).
The teacher manual is scripted 100%.
The workbook is consumable (though if your student likes writing or need extra writing practice, this would be a con).
It teaches diagramming.
It offers poetry for memorization (even my 4-year old memorized a poem just by listening to older brother).

* It is so incredibly dry that we need to drink water as we work! :)
* There are no instructions on the student all.
* This is very teacher intensive. I can't leave my son to work independently b/c I am needed to sit with him to tell him what to do next. Some might not feel that this is a con, but b/c I also have other children who need me, I need to be mobile at all times.
* The teacher manual requires no thinking on the part of the teacher. All I have to do is read to my son. Then, I ask him to repeat back to me what I said. Sometimes *I* don't even know what I just said ... and I am the one reading it!
* There are simply not enough practice items in the book.

When I say that the teacher reads to the student, here is what I mean...

Me: Son, this is the definition of a possessive pronoun: blah, blah, blah, blah. Son, repeat that whole thing back to me three times. Ready? Go!
Son: Um, what did you say? Could you say it again? I don't have it written down anywhere and you just told me a lot of sutff. It would help if I could read along with you.

Me: Let me tell you how to diagram a predicate adjective....draw a horizontal line, then a vertical line through the horizontal line, then you'll put the verb to the right of the horizontal line and then the subject on the left side of the horizontal line, and then you'll put a diagonal line with the top pointing to the left right next to the verb and then you'll put the predicate adjective to the right of the diagonal line.
Got it? You'll see the frame in your workbook. Go!
**Seriously? If most 9 year olds can't think abstractly yet, HOW does reading that sort of description help?

This program seems to follow closely to the classical method of education, which, in my opinion, can tend to be dry anyway. If your preference is classical, then this might be a fit for you.

I think that grammar needs to be a little more...engaging.

With all of that said, my son CAN diagram a sentence...but only because we had to supplement a little with this program. He has also memorized poetry, and that is a plus.

BJU was too easy.
Abeka was good, but the TG were difficult to use.
Rod and Staff has proven to be the best teacher of grammar, though the workbooks are not consumable.
Easy Grammar is great for my other son, but doesn't teach diagramming.
FLL is way too dry.