So you may ask, “Why LLATL?”
Well, I have got many good reasons to tell you “Why LLATL?”
Firstly I think I need to start this with a testimony. Why did we use LLATL? Basically it landed in our path, we did not have a language program for our children, as you might be aware we were pioneering Home Education in South Africa where we are based. We were at a picnic and a family arrived from America, they saw that our children were with us and they discovered we were home educating and asked what language program we were using.
We explained we didn’t have a language program, and the Mother told me that they had been using LLATL for many years and she told me all about it and introduced us to this program.
Exploring deeper I discovered that the authors were both wonderful Christian women who were obviously trained in language but also in Home Education. They decided to put together a program that would help the families and pull in the Mom or Dad, who-ever is doing the home education at home, to give them confidence to help them to feel secure about language. They understood that maybe language was not the parents strong point at school, maybe they have forgotten a whole lot and that they would need a tool to help them teach their children. Also this program will mean that the parent does not have to go all over the place seeking the different tools for poetry, comprehension, writing and all the different resources that a Mum is perhaps thinking that she needs, to teach this subject at home.
So these two Mums put together LLATL and their goal was to make it comprehensive in helping the parent and make the student book user friendly, uncluttered and understandable. Their goal was also to have literature that was of a standard that was going to compliment the program, being of good content as far as morals, good storyline and good character based stories go, including scripture. Yes, there is scripture in the books, where a child might need to write out a Psalm, however there is not a huge amount of that, the overall goal is that this would be a wholesome language program. A program helping the Mom, to the point where she doesn’t have to think that she has to be competent in a whole variety of language and art disciplines in order to teach the children.
A couple of days before we knew we were going have to do this LLATL workshop I received a very appropriate email, it says :-
“I am enjoying LLATL so very much, it is COMPLETE. It also is completely different from what I was using, and from the normal books that you get in the bookstore for English. It feels like the normal books are incomplete and so empty compared to LLATL. On Wednesday we did the “Tortoise and the Hare”, and we laughed so much, the boys then acted out the story. My son laughed when he heard that a rabbit can be called a hare. When we had to compare the two animals he said, “The tortoise he has a shell and the bunny rabbit he does not have a shell!” Then we all laughed over bunny rabbit which is in the book. We never expected a school day could feel like this.”
That testimony is one of many that I have had from Moms about LLATL, they say it has made teaching English so much easier for them.
This is the “Why?” Why do we use LLATL? Another one of the big things that appeals to the Moms is the parents manual which tell the Moms how to present the lessons to their child, it is as if someone is sitting there talking to you. It is very approachable and understandable and it has all the answers down the side, so that if you are not sure of the answer, it is all there for you, it is so easy to follow. Furthermore the student books are laid out in such a way that they don’t make a child frightened when they open the book, according to the testimonies I have heard.
Some Moms ask me if there is colour in the student books and we say no there is no colour because the children can colour the little pictures in with pens, crayons or whatever they have. There is no colour in the Student book which helps to keep it more affordable. Some parents really want colour because their children like or need the colour and that is something we cant pretend it is, as it is not colour enriched. What is rich is the actual lesson, the actual content, how it helps the child and the Mom, that is what is very rich about this LLATL program?
Furthermore the thing with LLATL is, as shown in the earlier clip showing the readers and how they advance with each level. The yellow book readers and then the orange book readers, where the writing is a little smaller and the book has proper chapters and we are starting to introduce biographies, and then the next level it is going up to the next stage in reading difficulty so that the child’s reading ability advances step by step — depending on the actual workbook that they are busy with. Yet another area where the Mom does not have to worry about whether their child is reading books that suit their level, it automatically takes care of that.
The readers are such an important part of LLATL, the children do work-studies on the book, they read the book and then they will do all kinds of lessons from that particular book, after reading the book they then do a literature study or look for synonyms, which again is the enriching way of LLATL.
It is just evident that the authors knew what they were doing when they put this program together.It has worked for thousands and thousands of children, it just works! The results are there, the students completing this have a very good grasp of the language.
Obviously it is not always going to work like this, you might have a child that is language resistant, they battle to write, or hold the pencil and they don’t want to do dictation. Not everyone is just going to embrace it and love it and I have Moms telling me of those difficulties. I have to be honest and say that it is not just a case of LLATL not working, we have to identify where the difficulties and struggles are with that particular child and that particular situation, not just jump from program to program to find one that works for the child. Sometimes it is relevant, sometimes you need to just put the books away and try a completely different approach, which we did and I will be sharing that testimony with you. LLATL is not the answer for everything, can we ever find an answer for everything? You might have to find a variety of answers but the large majority will witness with the email we quote above, from the Mom saying that LLATL is complete and wonderful.