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Grammar is killing me!


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Okay, so my title might be a bit dramatic.  However, I am coming to the conclusion that my well thought out plans are not going to work for this particular child.  The problem is that I don't know what WILL work.

Ds is 11 years old and so far we have done FFL 1&2 and R&S 4.  I thought that we would continue with Rod and Staff, but I can see that it is not working so well.  I really don't want grammar to be something that causes stress.  Ds is not very interested in most things school related.  He needs lots of repetition and a workbook seems to work pretty well.  I've discounted JAG or AG because they say that a child needs to be ready to dissect a language and I really don't think that he or would enjoy that.  I've looked Easy Grammar, MP's English Grammar Recitation.  

Any suggestions?  Honestly, I'm not even sure what my goals for grammar are or SHOULD be . . . 

Edited to add more information

Edited by sea_mommy
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7 minutes ago, kand said:

Lots of repetition and a workbook format sounds like CLE. Their grammar is one of the few things I’ve stuck with for every kid so far, all the way through. It just works so well and relatively painlessly. 

I've heard about CLE, but never really looked at their products.  Honestly, I've always felt a little confused by the light books.  Do they do grammar every day?  Every year?  Diagramming or just application?  Do they have a placement test?  

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Did you try the R&S workbook pages? I got those when the writing and such got to be too much for one of mine. We read a lesson together. We practice the oral drill and class practice together. If there is a workbook page then she does that. If not, as long as she understood the lesson we call it good. Sometimes we work on a whiteboard. 

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We use CLE and I love it.  We tried Rod and Staff, but I hated having to have them copy everything down.  And it seemed like so much.  Something about it aggravated me and the boys.

Someone upthread linked to the placement tests.

As far as how much or how long, here are some facts:

CLE teaches grammar, spelling, and writing all in the same Language Arts workbooks, which they call "Light Units."
You do NOT need the teacher's guide for grammar, though you might need it for spelling and writing (I never used that part so I don't know).  
You DO need the answer key sets
There are 10 books for every grade. 
There are 15 lessons per book (150 lessons per year) 
If you do 4 lessons/week for 36 weeks (a traditional length of a school year) that will be 144 lessons and you'll have to squeeze in 6 more somewhere else. 
Something to know that drove me CRAZY until I came on here and asked about it:  there are two quizzes and one test per light unit.  The quizzes are located in the very back of the light unit, and the test is smack in the middle of the light unit--I was in tears trying to find the tests!
The lessons are in the light units.  Each day's work starts off with a small lesson on a topic.  The student does a few exercises based on the new topic.  Then the rest of the day's work covers old topics.  You don't need a teacher's guide to teach the lessons since they're right there in the light units.  In theory, a student could teach himself entirely from the light unit by reading the lessons, but that would never, ever happen in my house.  ? I don't have the sorts of students who do that.  

Here are some ways to tweak the above:

1.  Don't do the quizzes or tests. I've found that the tests don't really add much to the lessons for my kids.  They're somewhat wasted days if you're not grading the kids in a classroom.  They don't teach anything new.  My son likes those days because they're easy...but if you don't want to spend time on them, skip them.  You'll save 30 lessons that way, which is over 7 weeks of lessons if you do 4 per week!!!!

If you skip the quizzes/tests, you could do lessons 3 days a week for 36 weeks, you'll have 4 lessons left over to squeeze in somewhere.  

2.  If you already do spelling, skip those parts of the lessons.  The lessons take less time when you skip the spelling.  The spelling didn't seem to teach rules.  It just gives the a list of words and they do little activities with the words, but don't learn anything beyond memorizing their spelling.

3.  Skip the writing if you have another writing program.  If you don't, then take care when you're ordering to see if you need to order any additional books along with the Light Units.  I never used their writing, so I'm not sure what other pieces you might need to order. 

4.  Be aware that it's a very gentle spiral program.  If your child isn't getting a concept right away, it's ok.  Don't hammer it into him the first day he sees it.  Or even the second day.  It'll come back up again and again and again and he'll slowly grasp it over the course of the year.

5.  For my family, we have had a good grounding in grammar, and there is so much repetition from year to year, that I made the decision spread out one grade of CLE over two years.  In 6th and 7th grade, my son did CLE 6.  This year and next year, (8th and 9th grade) he'll do CLE 8.  I'm having him get through most of the CLE 8 this year by skipping the quizzes and tests (72 lessons), so he'll have just a tiny bit to do in 9th (48 lessons), to keep it fresh. I've learned with my oldest that I don't have the time in high school to teach a full grammar lesson during English class.  High school is tricky like that.  It has been effortless (so far) to skip from the 6th grade to the 8th grade light units.

Since I take two years for each grade, we do grammar only twice a week.  It takes my son about 30 minutes to do a lesson.  It took him longer when we started a few years ago.  He's older now (13), so that could be it, or else he's just getting better at grammar.  I usually sit by my guy. Quite often, I'll have him do only a few problems at a time and check them as he goes. I do this so that the work doesn't become overwhelming.  I don't really need to do this as much anymore, but you might want to start off that way with your ds11.  


ETA:  Lots of typos.  Sheesh.

Edited by Garga
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