Monday, January 21, 2013

Our home school curriculum, subject by subject: English (1. Grammar)

When it comes to English, like most, we study four subjects: Grammar, Spelling (including vocabulary), Reading (Literature) and Writing.

1. Grammar

We started grammar in second grade with Grammar for the Thoughtful Child. It’s not very well structured and a bit outdated, but covers some of the most basic grammar topics.

For the lower grades in general, I have used the Targeting Grammar books. They are fun and fairly easy, yet they go through most of the basic grammar that is needed to prepare for more advanced studies. Sometimes when I know a little more knowledge is needed to understand a specific topic later, I add information or discuss something more in depth. Both my older boys finished Targeting Grammar Grade 5-6 by the end of fourth grade.

I’ve also used God’s Gift of Grammar A and B, and although I like the layout and its thoroughness, there’s just too much – I don’t find it to be very concise, and there are simply too many exercises (AND it’s hard to cut some out because they’re all over the place). This was my grammar program of choice though, until this summer when I discovered Rod & Staff.

Prof. Husband brought most of our school books for the academic year 2012-2013 back from the US in September last year. I had searched high and low online for a good grammar program, and finally settled on ordering Rod & Staff's Progressing With Courage, Grade 6, but of course I couldn’t know for sure that this would be what we were looking for. Oh boy was I surprised. It was the first time ever that I opened an English grammar book and thought, “This is it. THIS is grammar!” It is a rigorous program, with lessons, assignments, worksheets and tests enough to keep a student busy 30-40 min./day, every day for the entire school year, but it provides a good grammar education, and I just happen to think that’s important. What’s that? Why yes, of course it teaches you to diagram sentences! This fall I will start my (then) fifth grader on this program to do the Grade 6 program over two years, and I will definitely get the Grade 7 package for my seventh grader next year. Add our Latin grammar, and I think I can say for sure that should we keep it up, this is one topic the boys will have mastered by the time they graduate.

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