English for the Thoughtful Child

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  • Reviewed on Wednesday, January 17, 2007
  • Grades Used: 1st-ish to 2nd-ish
  • Dates used: 2006-present
We've recently dropped the use of English for the Thoughtful Child. It looked to be a nice, gentle program for my son. Upon using it, however, it turned out to be a very poor fit.

The biggest problem is that the program is heavy on writing and very short on meaty concepts. My son is a year ahead in all areas except for his handwriting (which is developmentally appropriate), and he is also very much a "just the facts" kind of kid. So describing the soap bubbles picture in detail qualified as a form of torture to him. All of the concepts are reinforced through writing or description of some kind - there is no use of proofreading or simple exercises.

The concept introduction I found to be very slow, in our case, when you consider how much effort the writing took for us. There aren't that many concepts introduced if you take a detailed look. The advantage comes from the whole of writing - you see the forest rather than the trees, so to speak. This is great for a very intuitive writer. It is not, however, for the more concrete, nuts and bolts child.

I'm not afraid of tweaking a program, but there is a point at which you have to admit that you've tweaked it beyond useability. We've hit that point. Ultimately, if your child is a very intuitive, imaginative child, this would probably be a delightful program. However, if your child has a very concrete, "nuts and bolts" way of thinking, this may not be a good fit.

Pat Grohs

  • Reviewed on Friday, October 14, 2005
  • Grades Used: early elementary
  • Dates used: 2000-2001
English for the Thoughtful Child was a wonderful way to start the subject of language. It is a very gentle approach and non-threatening. My daughter enjoyed the time we spent on it, and I feel like it helped give her confidence in expressing herself in the earlier years, as she was a very quiet shy child at that time.

Laura Q

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, May 13, 2003
  • Grades Used: 1-2
  • Dates used: 2002-03
This is the grammar book recommended in TWTM for 1st and 2nd grade. We enjoy the old fashioned language used, and the gentle approach to teaching English to young children. The exercises start off with parent/teacher-student direct interaction in a dialog format. The concepts are clearly introduced & defined. The next part involves the student working alone on written exercises.

Basic skills such as punctuation, sentence types, capitalization, etc. are taught. Memorization, Dictation/Copy work and Narration are also covered.

Begin in 1st grade, then progress at your child's pace until they are done. Then move on to another English program. I would recommend Shurley English next.

This is an excellent, gentle introduction to English studies for young elementary children. Still, it would not seem babyish to an older student needing remedial work (and does not have a grade level printed on the front to shame them). I highly recommend this program.