Character Quality Language Arts

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  • Reviewed on Sunday, March 18, 2012
  • Grades Used: Level A 4/5 green series
  • Dates used: 2011
i really really wanted to like this curriculum. it is very meaty and substantial. this LA program covers every aspect of LA in one shot {loose pages you place into binders...and it's HUGE!}. the problem for us, was that i was attempting to use this after taking my oldest child out of public school, and homeschooling for the first time. he is an average student. perhaps if he was very advanced, this would have worked for us. alas, it did not. my son needed very straight forward, easy to use instruction. this program is very visually busy, and hops from grammar/editing/spelling/etc all within one lesson. i do feel that this program offers some great things i have not seen in others {i.e. the editing}. for us, we ended up with Rod and Staff. very simple, straight forward. if your child is strong in LA, i think this could be a good fit, otherwise, it just seems too overwhelming.


  • Reviewed on Thursday, December 15, 2011
  • Grades Used: 2nd
  • Dates used: 2011
As much as I wanted to love this program, it's not grown on me after several weeks of using it. I love the idea of using character qualities as the basis for language arts, and that was the main reason I purchased this curriculum for my 2nd grade daughters.

Overall, I am extremely unimpressed with the number of typos, misspelled words, and misprinted directions in the first four weeks of the Blue Pre-A level. For something as important as language arts, I simply cannot abide such obviously poor editing, especially at the hefty and completely consumable price tag of over $90. My six-year old daughter found a misspelled word the very first day we sat down to work through the lesson! I realize that typos are simple mistakes, but it bothers me that I've continued to find them on an almost daily basis. The spelling words, even at the Extension level for Blue Pre-A are an absolute joke. We are currently using All About Spelling Level 2 (the girls are reading at a 2nd grade level) and the girls have been able to take the spelling test after reading the words through only one time.

The grammar introduction in this program is nice, though it does jump around a lot and does very little repetitious review, which my daughters need at this age. We liked the Wacky Words sections each week (homophones) and my girls loved the Editor Duty sentences. I also liked the characters pulled out for the character focus, such as John Adams, Clara Barton, etc. I want my girls to get introduced to people who did amazing things, however, the depth is lacking. For example, in the Creativity section of Blue Pre-A, John Adams "did many creative good works" but then we don't get to reading anythign expounding upon what those good works were, nor why they were creative. My girls' reading comprehension is beyond their actual reading ability, so I guess I can't expect too much at this level. However, I just found the program as a whole to be lacking.

In some areas, it seems to be asking way too much of my second graders - even the earliest level being expected to write a book report in week 3, paragraphs and all. My girls not only don't write whole paragraphs at this point, they can barely give me four whole sentences orally. I really like the Checklist Challenge idea, but it again expects the youngest level of students to find and highlight verbs, adjectives, nouns, and prepositional phrases in the very first month of lessons, before they even know what those things are or have had enough practice with them. It doesn't really teach the teacher HOW to teach what good writing is. The list of vocabulary words at the beginning of each week can barely be pronounced by my daughters, let alone retained and repeated in daily conversations or writing (I don't think I even say "meritorious" on a regular basis). All-in-one or not, this program is seriously lacking the amount of professionalism I expected based on all the reviews I read. We are currently using Shurley English, All About Spelling, and Wordly Wise. We'll eventually switch vocabulary over to Vocabulary from Classical Roots and the Institute for Excellence in Writing for composition and further training.

We'll just have to get our character inspiration from all of our read aloud history books.


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, August 17, 2010
  • Grades Used: 3rd
  • Dates used: began June 2010
We are totally loving this program. It covers everything. Spelling, grammar, writing composition, vocabulary, etc. It has it all! If your child is old enough to read, they are ready for CQLA.

This is our first year with CQLA. We are in Week 7, and really enjoy it. Broken down into eight 4-week segments, each segment focusing on a different character trait, which is the icing on the cake of this curriculum. This has really helped my daughter be more conscious of her attitude and she has been more pleasant because of it.

CQLA includes overviews of/extras to include in each segment (with a list of scripture references, literature to include, famous people with that character trait, etc.), as well as lesson plans (I'm used to having to make my own!) in either a 4-day or 5-day a week plans.

We really love the Checklist Challenge. This is where you change a sentence previously written and basically dress it up. Here is an example of a simple book report my daughter (6yo) wrote, and then how it looked when she was done with the Checklist Challenge:

Mrs. Doke had treasure in her house and she was worried about it. So she called the Dana girls, Louise and Jean to help her hide it in a safe

And ended up with:

Treasure in Mrs. Doke's House

Help! How would you feel if someone tried to take your valuables? Mrs. Doke possessed treasure in her house and she was extremely upset about it. She was enraged! So she summoned the Dana girls, Louise and Jean, to assist in finding a safe place to conceal it in. Where would you hide treasure where no one could uncover it?

This has really helped Ariana improve her writing. CQLA is, to some, "heavy" on the writing, but it's a great fit for us since Ariana loves to write. It may be too much for a child who struggles to write physically (this is great for teaching writing, so you obviously don't have to be a good writer to use and enjoy this program).

It is, however, weak in spelling. We are basically skipping this part, other than putting the words in the Spelling Notebook (highly recommended, by the way). It would be easy to supplement with a stronger spelling program if you wanted, which we plan to do next year (I am happy with Ariana's spelling level this year).

Lisa Hartmann

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, May 18, 2010
  • Grades Used: 2nd & 4th
  • Dates used: 2010
I searched this one out pretty good & prayed that for $70 bucks each it would be good. My youngest is still in 1st grade and another finishing up 3rd. I thought since other reviews said it takes awhile to get used to, that we would just ease into it & go really slow. 1st week, I was near tears & so were the kids. Then the following week there was a switch & by the third week we are starting to get into the flow & my 3rd grader is starting to work independently for a little bit. It's a start. WOW ! My 1st grader is writing & using his creative imagination to come up with his own sentences. The paragraph selection is thoughtfully written about either, bible,poetry,science,famous people in history,history facts . I love this program. I'm not sure if enough for spelling just yet, but I'm using spelling power on the side until I know for sure. I do disagree with the quoted 30 min the program states it will take in the early grades. It takes us close to an hour. The program is great anyway.
Okay update 3/11/2011 we are now coming to the end of the 1st year. I had the kids tested in Aug 2010 and now today. They have both jumped up highest in reading and comprehension. My 2nd grader jumped 2 grade levels, my 4th grader jumped 1year 2 months....... I think the program is working !!!!!!! The lady who tested them asked what we are using and said KEEP GOING! Thank you so much for this program.

********** UPDATE 5/2/2012*********
After years of using, when we ordered the newest updated version there was too much confusion in the text, for my kids. Too much busy work and very high expectations for my 3rd grader in Pre-Level A. My 5th grader, literally was in tears, too much emphasis on writing for this age with not enough guide in the text that we were all confused. Vocabulary was really hard for my 3rd grader.
We really wanted this to work, but for the happiness of my kids it got shelved.