There are so many different subjects that make up "language arts" -- writing, grammar, handwriting, vocabulary, spelling, literature. Each one is certainly valuable to study on its own, but they are not totally stand-alone subjects. That's where the value of an integrated curriculum comes in. Total Language Plus is one such integrated literature-based curriculum, and it's one of the best we've seen. It takes you through a work of classic literature while extracting and acquiring valuable language arts skills from the text, and exploring the culture and context of the book itself. It's a language arts course wrapped around a fun work of classic literature, easily completed in 8-12 weeks.
How It Works:
Each TLP book is a guide for a work of literature. You will be reading at a slow pace, 2-3 chapters per unit and one unit a week. You should be able to get through three to four books in the course of a normal school year.
Variety is a feature of this curriculum. Students will go from spelling activities to grammar activities, vocabulary crosswords, writing projects, and comprehension questions. Other activities include fun games or recipes, hands-on crafts, extra reading suggestions, dictation, and Bible study. Younger grades have daily flashcard review; older grades have less activities and more critical thinking and writing. Some of the older grade books (such as Jane Eyre) are better completed as part of a group or co-op.
Focus guides are centered on a particular subject or skill (such as letterwriting, or hope) that is emphasized through a particular book.
Our Honest Opinion:
For a language arts curriculum that integrates multiple subjects, TLP is unique, well-done, and contains enough variety and activity to interest any learner. There may not be quite enough grammar or writing to stand alone, but you can easily supplement. Plus, your student will read through some of the great works of literature with the end not just to read but to understand.
When compared to other literature guides such as Progeny Press, you'll find less (at least in the earlier grades) analytic writing and more activities.
Advanced Grades 11-12
American Literature Grades 11-12
Did you find this review helpful?