Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How We're Using Total Language Plus

We are a little over halfway through our first (okay, sort of first) Total Language Plus study. I say "sort of" because we actually did try one a couple of years ago and I just couldn't get a handle on how it worked. We've figured it out now, though, and I thought if I spelled out exactly how we do it now, it might help someone else.

I bought one copy of The Cricket in Times Square study. TLP allows you to copy it for use with another child in the family. However, I'm not sure how much I came out ahead doing this. I think next time I'll just by two copies.

I don't like book binding on workbooks, so I had the binding cut off and made a notebook out of it using my comb binding machine. I put dividers between each unit to make it easier to find the correct page as we're working.

Since my children are so close in age, we are able to do our study together. This is basically how we go through each lesson.
  • First we do the dictation exercise, if there is one.
  • If the kids worked on comprehension questions on the previous day, we go over the answers.
  • Each unit centers around a specified number of chapters (2 to 3 in the case of TCITS). We read from the book, taking turns reading aloud. The Cricket in Times Square has short chapters, so we can cover one chapter each day. There's plenty time to stretch out the chapters if you need to, though.
  • After reading, I assign the work for the day. Comprehension questions are by chapter, so I assign those if we read from the book that day. Vocabulary, spelling, and grammar are broken up into A, B, C, D, and E assignments. We do one letter each day (i.e. vocab A, spelling A, and grammar A). We will typically run out of comprehension questions before we are through the other assignments. If that is the case, we will either have a shorter lesson time or I will look through the suggested projects for something fun to do.
  • Writing assignments are included in TLP, but we use IEW, so I don't usually use them. If one of the assignments strikes our fancy, or I can see how to adjust it to a IEW assignment, I will do so. We also use the writing prompts for discussion purposes. (There is no actually writing instruction included in TLP, just a bunch of prompts.)
  • I always include an extra day at the end of a TLP unit. This allows us to catch up if we have fallen behind on anything, or do some of the projects listed in the guide.
I also wanted to show what we do with the spelling words. One of the assignments is to copy the words onto index cards, then use those for review each day. We were having a problem with our cards getting misplaced. I thought of buying index cards that are spiral bound, but I didn't want to spend the money. I finally decided to bind them just like the notebooks. This has enabled us to keep up with them.

TLP has been a big hit here. I know we will do at least one more study this year, but I haven't decided which one. Grammar is pretty light in the lower levels of TLP, so you might want to supplement that with something else. I would not do it at the same time, but fit something in when you're not doing a TLP study. We will probably take a break before our next study and do something like Junior Analytical Grammar.

I hope this helps someone. Let me know if you have any questions.


Tami, part-time blogger - full time scrapbooker said...

We are enjoying TLP, and I blogged about it today, too. And I am just now visiting YOURS! Great minds and all that...

: )

Christie said...

Thanks for posting this on WTM. We wil be starting our first TLP unit (same one that you did!).
I don't like the binding either. I need to check into how much it would cost to have ours done the same as yours.
Thanks for the suggestions!! =)