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Grammar for elementary and middle school ages


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Hi all


I accidentally posted this in the challenges section, so I'm reposting here! I'm curious if anyone would like to share their experience with grammar for elementary and middle school aged kids. I have five children ages 11 down to 2, and I am not one of those people who is amazing at spending a lot of time one-on-one with each kid for every subject. When I do, I am doing school with them all day and we rarely get to do anything else! So, I am looking for something that either doesn't take a long time each day, or something my kids can do independently. I have used First Language Lessons in the past and truthfully, I loved it. However, it seemed to take quite a while with each child and some of it was too repetitious for my two who used it. I have had IEW Fix it! suggested (I'm trying their writing in the fall as this is an area my kids need more direction in and we have not had good results with some of the other programs we've used - writing is our toughest area!) and Winston Grammar suggested. Does anyone have any thoughts about either of these programs? Or any others? Oh, I also had Easy Grammar suggested! Also, for those of you who used FLL, what did you use once your kids were in 5th through middle school? 


Thanks for any input!

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I have heard good things about R&S English but have not used it. 


We are using Fix-It Grammar (new version) so I will speak to that.


1.  If you buy the Teacher's Manual you have access to the Student Manual as a PDF.  You can print as many copies as you need for the student material so that may save you on cost.


2.  Lessons are 4 days a week and only 15 minutes or less.


3.  The program starts out very gently and builds up by book 6 to cover pretty advanced grammar.  Levels have built in review lessons.


4.  TM gives the parent/teacher support for teaching a child that is struggling or needs something more advanced/challenging.


5.  Levels are not equivalent to grade levels.  They are levels for advancing within the program.  Therefore, multiple children at different ages could start with the same level, use the same materials, etc.  You could teach the lesson to more than one child at a time.  


6.  Lessons each week start with a lesson with the teacher and the student(s) where the new concept is discussed and taught.  This takes a short amount of time.  The rest of the week the student could probably function pretty independently for completing the lesson.  Just make certain you check the work daily (easy to do from the TM) and discuss any errors.  It might be faster to just sit there for the few minutes it will take the student(s) to mark their work and correct/support/encourage as they go so no misunderstandings become ingrained.  The copywork/vocabulary work can be done independently afterwards and again should just take a short amount of time.


7.  Materials can be reused later with younger students as they become ready for a formal grammar program.  Just print out a new copy of the Student workbook pages (you can reuse the student lesson pages, just print the pages with the sentences they correct).


8.  It is pretty easy to get into a rhythm with this program.  Have the student notebook, teacher's manual, dictionary, and pencil in one spot.  Do it at the same time every day.  Everyone grabs what they need and off you go.  Maybe get a large print dictionary (possibly one for each child so they don't have to wait for someone else to be done).  A children's dictionary may not work well.  Some of the words/definitions may not be in a Children's Dictionary.  I found a large print dictionary actually worked fine for the kids.


All in all, Fix-It has been the most successful for us with the kids transferring what they are learning into their writing.  It took until the end of Book 1 before I really noticed a difference but the knowledge is definitely sticking.  Love Fix-It.  

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Easy Grammar. You could spend a few minutes teaching, depending on the child. :-) Then your dc does the seatwork while you fix a cup of tea, then you correct it (it's important for *you* to check it). Older children can go on to do another page (after you've corrected the first one).


Of all the things I bought and dc hated over the years, Winston Grammar was at the top of the list.

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We used Winston Grammar, but tweaked to fit our family's needs (I added "parsing" to it, and we did the sentences on the white board with colored markers to show relationships and make connections). WG was an excellent fit for us (one DS has mild LDs and needed hands-on/visual materials). Be aware that WG does NOT cover capitalization and punctuation, verb tense and subject-verb agreement etc., so you will want a supplement to fill that hole -- there are tons of ways of doing that, and many are very solo- or independent-working for the student. Much as we enjoyed WG, because it requires parent involvement in a way that a workbook-based program does not, WG is probably not going to fit your current Grammar needs.


Easy Grammar is a workbook and done almost entirely solo by the student. We did use Easy Grammar for part of one year, but dropped it. I found EG to be very "rote" and repetitive, and easy for a student to memorize the grammar "formula" and fly through the workbook pages without really *learning* actual grammar -- or assume it was the same "formula" again, and make a lot of unthinking errors. It really depends on what type of learner your student is on whether or not this program will "click" with the student for actual learning. We also used Daily Grams one year (also put out by the Easy Grammar people), but it is like "Easy-Grammar-lite", and without the parent teaching info.


Up through 5th-6th grade, we also did a lot of Grammar work in the 2-3x/week dictations that I created from the students' reader books, but that is definitely parent-intensive. We also used The Chortling Bard -- a paragraph a day for proofing/grammar concept review; The Chortling Bard is the high school level of Jane Kiester Bell's Caught Ya Grammar series, which has levels for grades 1-6, and then a middle school level of Giggles in the Middle). While it was short (10 min.), it was just easier/faster to stick with the students and go over the concepts reviewed than to try and have them do it solo and come back to correct.


Other suggestions for Grammar that is mostly done independently after parent teaching/explanation of the lesson:

- Rod and Staff (very thorough; also includes writing which you can do, or skip if you have a writing program)

- Growing with Grammar (by grade level -- no experience with this one, so it may be similar to Easy Grammar)

Edited by Lori D.
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We do FLL 3 & 4 over 3 years (3rd -5th) every other week (alternating with writing) and then move into Analytical Grammar 6th-8th. AG is very independent, FLL is not. But it only takes a few minutes a day every other week so we can easily fit it in.

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