When we first received this program I wasn’t sure how well it was going to work for Ethan but I was hopeful since they offer a multi-sensory program that teaches handwriting, phonics, reading, and spelling. He is my kiddo that just can’t sit still due to sensory issues and getting him to sit and work on just about anything can be really trying and difficult some days. I have really struggled finding a program for him that will teach him the concepts he needs to learn while adding enough multi-sensory learning to keep him engaged.
I have been pleasently surprised at how hands on and multi sensory this program really is. It has been such a blessing for us and we are so grateful that we have found this amazing program that we probably would have never found without the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
We were blessed with the Foundations Level A kit which is a complete set for phonics, reading, handwriting and spelling for children recommended for ages 4-7, although I think you could also use it with a child who is older and needs help with beginning letter sounds or blends as well. This program teaches you child letter sounds, blends, different strokes to make letters, digraphs, phonemonic awareness, simple CVC words, and so much more. Let me explain the program to you each piece of it at a time.
The teachers manual is a hardcover book that is well made, the pages are thick and it contains everything you need to know to teach your child through Level A of the program.
Each of the lessons clearly indicates what subject you are working on, provides exact instructions on what you need to be teaching throughout the lessons, and even integrates multi-sensory ideas as well as teacher tips through out each of the lessons.
This program is perfect for the children that need to stay active during school or have special needs because it allows them to actively complete each of the lessons, because of the fact that they offer so many active ways to learn the concepts. I have never seen a program that comes close to the way that they actively teach children the concepts they need to know.
They include instructions on how to teach your child cursive or manuscript in the lessons, giving you the option to teach your child to write in cursive instead of manuscript from the start.
Each of the lessons have many different fun and active ideas that your child will do while learning letter sounds, phonograms, digraph, handwriting, and more. One day your child might play hop scotch with their letter sounds, the next they might stack cubes if they get the answers right, another day they might throw balls into a basket if they hear a certain sound, or guess/act like the animal you digraph.
The student workbook is a soft cover book that the student will use for their work each day. In each of the lessons students will work on about 3 pages, which may seem like a lot but they make them very fun and they keep kids active while doing them as well as split them up through out the lesson. In my opinion the way the lessons are taught using these pages is why this program has worked so well. Because children are circling answers, following directions, matching letters, and other fast and easy work, yet still learning using educational pages it makes the task of doing the work pages not so overwhelming.
Each day your child will start with Phonemic awareness they will learn to sound out letters and not just 1 of their letter sound they teach children all the sounds each letter makes, they will learn digraphs, learn how to tell if a letter is voiced or unvoiced, and more. They do this in a way that is fun and active for kids making the learning fun!! For example one day on their page they will try and figure out the word you are digraphing and have to act it out, point to that spot on their body, or do that action, another day they might play the voiced or unvoiced game, and yet another they might throw balls into a basket when they hear a certain sound they are listening for.
On the 5th day of every week students will work on a review lesson. This lesson goes over previously taught concepts of course in fun and active ways just like the normal lessons. This has been very helpful so that students don’t forget what has been previously taught while also giving them a break from learning new concepts every day.
They also teach the children the different ways a letter may look in different places. Children will simply match the letters that are the same. I think this is another great thing added to this program and is just another example of the easy, fast, fun, but educational work pages you will find throughout the student workbook.
They also have Handwriting tactile cards to teach them letters and numbers. This is just one more way this program adds a multi-sensory learning environment to the learning of these sounds and strokes. The cards contain both upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and strokes.
Once they are finished learning the letter or blend sounds they move right into learning how to write the letter, blend, or stroke. They will learn how to write it in the air with their finger, tracing the tactile handwriting cards, draw it on the white board with their finger, and the finally practice with a marker on the whiteboard a few times.
Something that I thought was very nice is the fact that they teach the children the names of the writing lines are, which helps the children decide exactly where each of the letters starts and stops. This has been helpful for teaching proper letter placement right at the beginning of writing instruction and I’m sure will lead to better handwriting for Ethan in the end!!
The whiteboard is 11″x16″ and it has one side with big lines for when they are starting out, and the backside has 6 smaller lines to be able to write words, sentences, or even short paragraphs! This really helps to extend the use of the same board.
Some days they have you add some incentive like guessing the stroke you are defining and then adding a cube to the tower for the correct answer, or even maybe even a special treat like some chocolate chips for the right answer.
In the handwriting section found inside the student workbook they provide students with the option of choosing 4 different size lines to work on. This is great for letting children transition from the bigger lines down to the smaller lines, as well as giving them practice some days on using all the different sized lines. They do not expect the children to do tons of writing and most days they will not have to write the letters more then a few times each day, but have plenty of space so if the teacher think the student needs a little more practice on writing you can just have him write the letter or stroke another time or 2.
The provide you with a reference guide that is great for quickly finding the letter, stroke, or blend you need to recall without having to search for them inside the teachers manual.
They also offer The Phonogram Game cards that come in very thick and sturdy card stock that are coated. There are 2 different card sets for manuscript that contain 74 basic phonograms as well as 15 extra cards to make the game even more fun to play.
Basic Phonogram Flashcards which are 4″x6″ durable cards that contain all the basic phonograms, simple blends, and simple sight words that your student will learn throughout the program.
Ethan has loved this program and has really amazed me with how well he is doing with it! He really loves the fun activities that are added into the lessons, and because they are keeping him moving through out the program he is able to sit and do the very minimal work pages for the day without having “ants in his pants” while he is doing them or continuously leaving the work 😉
I will say I have really enjoyed the program for a couple reasons. First off it has 4 classes into 1 so each of the subjects flows nicely into the next one without having to switch to the next class. That has made it less distracting for him which is a really a good thing for us since he struggles with transitioning!
Here are some of the pictures of Ethan as we have been working through the program.
Overall we have really enjoyed Foundations A and will continue to use the program till we are finished with it and will be getting level B to finish up the program this year! I would recommend this program to any parent who is looking for a fun and active way to teach your child phonics, spelling, reading, and handwriting all in 1 great one of a kind program.
What Is The Cost Of Foundations Level A?
$38.00 ~ Foundations A Teacher’s Manual ~ 224 Pages ~ (printed or PDF)
$18.00 ~ Student Workbook ~ 230 Pages ~ (Choice Of Cursive or Manuscript) (printed or PDF)
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