Grammar. The subject I would prefer to avoid. The subject my daughter doesn't see the use of. And the problem is, mom doesn't know how to explain the necessity either, seeing as I get along just fine without understanding all the ins and outs of grammar. However, now that I am the teacher and not just the mom, I need to be able to teach grammar to my children. So, when we are offered the chance to review a grammar curriculum, I jump at the opportunity. I figure we can learn together. Even though Tabitha was less than thrilled with me, I welcomed the opportunity to review Easy Grammar Plus from Easy Grammar Systems.
We received an email with the link to the Easy Grammar Plus eBook PDF. It was quite simple to click on the link and download the file to my computer. And from there, we were ready to go.
This 720-page book is actually the Teacher Edition, which includes teaching instructions, reviews and tests (both unit and cumulative), plus answer keys. As we had the downloadable files, I was able to easily print out the exercise pages and give them to the children to work on, without having to worry that they would have access to the answers. I say "worry," because the answer pages are on the left side and the exercises are on the facing page in the physical book. If we had received the book, which I had originally thought I wanted, I would have had to use photocopied the pages for multiple reasons. One, I ended up using the book with both Tabitha and Amelia. Two, I probably would have photocopied them anyway so I could use it in future years with the younger children. And three, I would have wanted to make sure the children didn't see the answers. So, even though it wasn't my original choice, I have to say I am glad we received the book as a downloadable eBook.
I will add, if you don't want to photocopy or print, and also don't want your child to write in the teacher edition, there is a physical Easy Grammar Plus Student Workbook available. There is also an Easy Grammar Plus Student Test Booklet, seeing as tests are not included in the Student Workbook.
Let's look at what is contained in Easy Grammar Plus:
The book begins with the Table of Contents. There is then an eight-page pre/post assessment test and an introduction before getting into the lesson pages. The book concludes with the answers to the pre/post assessment test.
Here is a list of the topics covered in Easy Grammar Plus:
- Types of Sentences
- Sentences, Fragments, and Run-ons
- Phrases and Clauses
The Introduction explains the purpose of Easy Grammar Plus, which is to provide grammar TOOLS to the student. The author also explains the two most important guidelines for using the book. The parent/teacher is to insist on MASTERY learning (making sure the student fully understands the concept) and ensure that the student first memorizes and learns the list of fifty prepositions.
Unfortunately, this first directive completely turned Tabitha off of this book. In the past she had been told that it wasn't important to memorize lists such as this. Additionally, she is not good at memorizing lists. When it comes to passages, such as Bible verses for church or Bible Quizzing, she can memorize with no problem. Of course, because of the overwhelming amount of memorizing she is currently doing because of Quizzing, she didn't want to have to memorize more. So, yes, she balked. She said she couldn't do it. Amelia, who I wasn't originally going to include in this review because she is in sixth grade, actually tried harder than Tabitha did. I honestly didn't like that this had become such a point of contention in our day. I mean, as I mentioned above, Tabitha already complained that she didn't see the need of learning grammar. I even tried telling her, just read through the list a few times a day, don't worry about sitting down and memorizing it, just familiarize yourself with the prepositions.
I finally decided we couldn't spend so much time focusing on the memorization of a list of words, so we moved forward in the book. I figured they could have the list of prepositions in front of them while working, if needed. My sneaky desire was that they would still learn them as they used the list, viewing it several times a week.
I think the girls did have fun playing the Bingo game that was designed to help them familiarize themselves with the prepositions.
Though they weren't as fond of having to unscramble them.
Now, let me just say, I do understand the idea behind memorizing the prepositions. However, I believe children can learn them, get them in their heads, by diving right into the lessons and having the list in front of them to reference. I understand that this book uses a "prepositional approach," where the student works in a sequential manner, starting with the basics of the sentence, identifying the subject and verb by crossing out the prepositional phrase, and then working on more challenging topics. I understand this. I just question the need to memorize the list and make it a mandatory first task.
I like how the girls began by looking at simpler sentences, just needing to identify the subject and the verb, but then the sentences became more complex as they were to also identify such things as compound subjects, helping verbs, and infinitives. Of course, then they were taught that a word listed as a preposition wasn't always used as a preposition. It might be used as say, an adverb. Which got an "I told you so" from Tabitha, because that was one of her arguments when she fought memorizing the list. I did explain that that doesn't negate the fact that the words are still used as prepositions.
Here's a look at how the lesson is laid out. First there is a short instructional page with examples:
Then comes the answer page:
And finally, the actual exercise page where the child is to follow the instructions on what to cross out and single or double underline:
So, you can see where having the prepositions memorized would help with this curriculum. In order to quickly identify the prepositional phrases, a student is going to have to know their prepositions. Of course, I assume you can see, as I did, how a child can still work through the exercises by having the list in front of them. So yes, our little modification for this book. As I looked ahead in the book, I did notice that prepositions don't always come into play in the exercises for the other topics. However, there are times when students are still asked to work through the sentences as they are taught in this first section, before working on such things as labeling types of verbs or adverbs.
How did we use this book?
After our time of trying to memorize the prepositions and playing the Bingo game, the girls have been working their way through the book at the rate of a few lessons a week. I will read the short lesson information, and then I have them give me the answers orally to the examples. Then I hand them their page and have them work through the exercises. This takes them, at most, 15 minutes a day.
The Preposition section concludes with a review and test. The Verbs, Nouns, Adjectives, Adverbs, and Pronouns sections also end the same way. The Punctuation and Capitalization sections go straight into a test. And when a child finishes the entire book, they are supposed to retake the assessment test to see how they have improved.
All in all, I think Easy Grammar Plus from Easy Grammar Systems is a great grammar curriculum that helps a child really look at a sentence and understand the different parts.
Don't forget to click the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of this, plus other products, from Easy Grammar Systems.