Homeschool English & Grammar Curriculum Forum

 

english

Hi everyone! Welcome to day 3 of my homeschool curriculum forum/discussion series. Today we’re going to be talking about English & Grammar.

I have to admit this is always one of my hardest subjects to finalize when picking curriculum. For the most part I am happy using Abeka phonics for the earlier years, but when it comes to 3rd grade and up I’ve been wavering. For the last two years we’ve been using BJU Press English & Grammar. I started this in 3rd grade and had planned to stick with it for future grades.

While that is still my plan, I’m not totally in love with this curriculum. I’ve just been sticking with it because it’s “okay”. The pages are colorful which is nice for visual learners, and the daily lessons are nicely outlined at the top of the student worksheets which I also find helpful. You do need the Teacher’s Manual in my opinion for this curriculum as there are more examples and help for the student in the TM. The TM also includes a smaller duplicate of the student workpage but also includes the answers as well which is helpful.

english2

Pros:

  • Fairly thorough and straight forward
  • Colorful worksheets
  • Student workbook answers are in the teacher’s manual.

Cons:

  • Can be pricey unless you buy used.

I have looked into Abeka, Rod & Staff English, as well as Shurley English, and Easy Grammar but haven’t been brave enough to try any of them as of yet haha!

So for lack of wanting to change I’m currently planning to stick with BJU English. While BJU English isn’t a bad curriculum at all, it’s just that I don’t feel my kids are really “getting” English. I am also not a huge fan of the writing, so we use something else for that, but we’ll tackle that in the writing curriculum post coming soon.

If you all have experience with any of these or a favorite one I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

So, now comes the fun part!

What are your favorite English curriculum, resources, websites, etc? Leave a comment below discussing your choices for this year and why.

Feel free to ask questions or reply to each other too!

It’s my way of doing a forum without actually doing a forum haha!

And hopefully this will help us all as we start the process of researching curriculum, and trying to decide what will be the best fit for our homeschool.

Note: Please keep today’s conversations geared towards ENGLISH & GRAMMAR, I will be posting one for each subject separately so we can keep our comments organized.

Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post, I may however be affiliated with one or more products mentioned. The opinions expressed in this post were not influenced by the company. They are products I have used and felt like sharing, cuz’ it’s my blog and I can if I want to.

189 Comments

  • Joan April 11, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Haha! I am so glad I am not the only one that struggles with this. Grammar was the hardest to solidify until we found analytical grammar. We enjoy it even though it isn’t super colorful. I am a math and science gal so I always seem to second guess myself with the English/ grammar subject.

    Reply
    • Teresa April 11, 2013 at 5:20 am

      I am so with you. I am a math and science gal too, so really struggle with this part of choosing. I used sonlight, and wasn’t crazy about it. I used first language lessons this year, which has been fine, but I want something a little more hands workbook style for next year. My will be 3rd grader loves workbooks. I may stick with FLL because I am big on the classical approach of memory, but want some hands on workbooks that help reinforce concepts that she can do on her own. Any thoughts on something that goes well with FLL? And at the 3rd grade level what components of Language arts do I need to make sure we cover? This is why I like a complete package.

      Reply
      • Alexis Rebman April 11, 2013 at 5:30 am

        If I am not mistaken FLL has a workbook beginning at level 3. Their writing curriculum also complements well with the grammar lessons.

        Reply
      • Linda April 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

        I LOVE First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind!!!!!! Love Love Love!!!!! I use it with the work book and I use her writing curriculum too. I also use her phonics program which I also Love love love!!!!! It’s by Susan and Jessie wise baurer. The phonics one is called……I think it’s…..Original Parents Guide to Teaching Reading…..or something like that, and it’s not just a guide, it’s a full on curriculum and it’s AMAZING, not colorful AT ALL, but there are good reasons for that. Kids don’t need a picture of an apple to remember the sound that an A makes. They might need that if they are in a classroom of 30 kids to one teacher, but thats not the case with us homeschoolers! They will become much fluent readers if they learn to read black and white with out all the cheaters. BTW, this is my 3rd year of homeschooling, I have tried many curriculums out and done a TON of research, I have 8 kids and baby #9 is due in 4 weeks 🙂

        Reply
        • Lynette April 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm

          I also use First Language Lessons and Writing With Ease. Some find the curriculums “dry” , which sometimes they are, so if I feel like it will help, I use a whiteboard to make things a little more visual…I have not yet dived into Level 3 of FLL, so I don’t know what those lessons are like, but so far, I love the lesson layout of the first two levels. I just started WWE this year with my two oldest (ages 8 and 9) and I love that it’s simple and corresponds directly with FLL. Very nice to not have to make the connections myself. We are not too far into the writing curriculum, but so far I enjoy its simplicity for lesson planning!

          For reading, I teach my children to read from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Another “dry” program — but it totally works!!! I have had my kids read the 20 books suggested at the end of the program and present them the way the author suggests. My two oldest read above grade level and are very fluent.

          I happen to love English as a subject, so finding what works for my style of teaching and my kids’ way of learning was a lot of fun for me. 🙂

          Reply
          • tiffany Johnson April 12, 2013 at 3:20 pm

            I also use FLL and WWE with my 1st and 2nd graders and I really like them. They are simple, straight forward and don’t take a huge amount of time to complete. My kids do get a little frustrated at having to repeat the definitions so many times, but they both know what a noun, adjective, verb etc. are 🙂

        • Brandi April 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm

          We just started First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind and I am loving it! We also use Sequential Spelling and LOVE it! My kids are Kindergarten and First Grade, but I have been searching for a couple of years for something grammatical that I liked. Grammar and Geography were always my worst 2 subjects, so I needed something to pick up the slack…

          Reply
      • Joyice April 17, 2013 at 7:10 pm

        We use FLL & WWE too! However I combine with BJU English. We like the color and ease. But it is not “deep” enough sometimes so that is where incorporate FLL & WWE

        Reply
        • Theresa May 23, 2013 at 9:10 pm

          Joyice – I’d love to see/hear how you incorporate FLL & WWE with BJU!?

          Reply
      • AMBER October 9, 2014 at 10:38 pm

        We have been using Surley English for two years now. When I first got the order in the mail I was completely overwhelmed with all the components, however, after a few weeks of using, everyone got in the routine. I teach my 2nd, 4th and 5th out of the same book and everyone seems to be understanding and learning. It has a lot of repetition and the jingles help with memorization. It seems like a scary curriculum to take on but it works! It is also a choice of most our local classical Christian schools in town (if that’s your style). I have reviewed some of the “language lessons for the elementary child” and would love some feedback on those if anyone has any. I like the idea of the Charlotte Mason approach for the younger kiddos.

        Reply
    • Karla April 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      I would really like to know more about Analytical Grammar. I have looked at it and I’m considering it for my daughter who is going into grade 8. I have been doing BJU English and grammar with my older kids only because I like the structure of it, but I find it very in depth and wonder how practical what they are learning is going to be for them in the future. If you can give me an idea of pros and cons of Analytical Grammar and how you go about, I would appreciate it.

      Reply
      • Sarah April 24, 2013 at 8:23 am

        We have made it a little over halfway throughJr. AG. While my kids don’t love it, they’re learning. It can be a little plain and dry (black and white) but it teaches grammer in an orderly fashion. My 12 and 14 year olds learned the material solidly. I definitely would recommend it. We are taking a small break to prepare for starting Robinson Curriculum in a week or two. I will probably integrate AG into this once we grow accustomed to this new learning style.

        Reply
    • Phyllis Bennett August 28, 2014 at 10:32 am

      I have been using Shurley English with both of my boys and I put them in the same level 6 (home school edition) She has them do a lot of writing but the teacher’s manual explains everything. At first I thought she had OCD but after 5 chapters I got it and everything made sense. She brings everything together in grammar to one complete whole. You can buy used materials on Amazon etc. but you probably already know that. My boys are behind in writing and Shurley gave them much practice. I plan to used level 7 this year.

      Reply
  • Dion April 11, 2013 at 12:25 am

    We use Rod & Staff. And at this time, I would not change our decision. We have completed grade 2 (Preparing to Build), and we are working on grade 3.

    Cons: It doesn’t have a lot of “fluff” – very straight forward and matter of fact. I feel, however, that it provides a good base for grammar eduction. The illustrations are in B&W, are old fashioned and depicts farm life. Sometimes the practice and assignments feel like busy work, but we easily rectify that by doing just the odd numbers or the even numbers. In my opinion, grammar will never be enjoyable, so this curricula is one way to just check the box and move on. My DD, aged 8, mostly enjoys it and finishes quickly without complaints. DD works mostly independent, after we discuss the learning point for the day. So, if you are looking for a grammar curricula that is mostly independent work, I haven’t found R&S to be so.

    Pros: Inexpensive! For the grade 3 (Beginning Wisely), the cost was only $31. That includes the textbook, teacher’s textbook, worksheet packet, and test packet. Also, another reason we chose R&S, is the fact that almost all of the sentences and grammar examples are based on Biblical persons or scripture. So, I’m never worried about the content presented.

    I highly recommend R&S for a child who doesn’t need color illustrations and doesn’t mind, at times, the no fluff approach!

    Reply
    • Julie April 11, 2013 at 8:35 am

      I have used Rod and Staff from 2nd grade and will be starting 5th grade this year. I agree that there is no fluff, but wow does it do a good job. I have two boys that I’m teaching at the same grade level; one kind of struggles in this area. I sit down and do it orally with them, and then usually require part of the lesson for them to write down. It doesn’t take a whole lot of time. The first couple of years I wasn’t sure how much they were remembering it because of how much English covers, but we stuck with it, and it has sure paid off. I don’t even think about changing curriculum in this area. There might be something more fun out there, but I’m so confident in this that I don’t waste my time looking for something else out there. Also, for writing, I use Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). I don’t rely on Rod and Staff for this. I wasn’t so sure about this at first, but with my two boys who HATE to write anything it has sure made it a lot less painful. Over time I’ve really noticed the difference. It still isn’t their favorite subject, but I’m no longer having serious fights about it! Well worth the investment.

      Reply
      • Rebecca Ray April 17, 2013 at 1:24 am

        Julie,
        Can you help give me feedback on how to select the level for IEW? I have a rising 5th grader. I also have a rising 3rd grader but was planning to hold off for him.

        Reply
        • Jamie Reinhold July 8, 2013 at 10:00 am

          You can go on their website under “Where to Start” and their catalog also has a flow chart that shows you.

          Reply
    • Faith April 11, 2013 at 8:37 am

      I second the opinion for R&S – it is rigorous, straightforward, and non-fluffy. We used Shurley English for two years and *hated* it. In the TM, I would have to read about 10 pages which were scripted out for me before I could get what the lesson was about, but it was so “spiraly” that it never felt like we were making much progress. R&S definitely has more of a “mastery approach” feel to it. We focus on Verbs, Nouns, etc. one at a time and get really proficient in those before moving on. Then we go deeper each year. Also, R&S ends in 10th grade as it’s a Mennonite curriculum and they don’t generally do high school after 10th grade. That said, it means that R&S moves through concepts quickly and expects quite a bit of students earlier. Everywhere I look, it’s said that R&S is one of the most rigorous grammar programs you can buy – but DONE by 10th grade!!! I must say I was slightly shocked that we are diagramming sentences in the 3rd grade, but my girls have stayed on pace, so I guess it’s not that big a deal! We use IEW for writing and won’t be switching that any time soon. We LOVE Mr. Pudewa and his quirky seminars.

      Reply
    • Robyn Foster April 11, 2013 at 8:58 am

      I am another fan of R&S English. We’ve gone through their 2nd and 4th grade books. It is very “old-school” grammar, the type of grammar my mother taught as an English teacher 20 years ago. It is such a solid foundation. It builds on itself really well, year to year and throughout each unit, and while sometimes it can be a little confusing with its examples (such as referencing Elder So-and-So or etc. since it’s a Mennonite-based curriculum), as a whole, we LOVE it, and have no intention of changing it anytime soon. Oh, and I second the gloriously low price-point as a huge PRO!

      Reply
      • Holli April 11, 2013 at 11:54 am

        I’m leaning towards using R&S next year with my 3rd grader. I noticed a lot of the replies also used another writing program, does R&S not include that?

        Reply
        • Jennifer April 11, 2013 at 11:19 pm

          I am considering R&S for my 8 and 10 year old next year. Do you thing we should start with the 2nd grade book because it’s first and we haven’t done much grammar yet? Or is it easy to jump into at “grade level”?

          Reply
          • belle April 14, 2013 at 12:59 pm

            I too got a bit “itching for a change” when we hit Abeka 3rd grade. It was overkill for an overworked momma! And my students were a bit bored… too much repeat not enough “guts” for learning progression. We switched to Rod and Staff and loved it! Suscint, informative, enough repitition to get it but not so much that it didn’t move forward at a good clip.

            Then I began to attend the Essentials portion of our homeschool group (Classical Conversations). Um, LOVE at first lesson! I could co-teach my first -sixth graders at the same time and EVERYONE got a ton out of it! I have prolific writers and an 8 yr old that functions on about a 5th/6th grade level most of the time. My now 14 yr old just wrote a wonderful story- from his imagination- that was 6 well written pages and his research reports are just as well written. If you have a CC group near you, I highly recommend that you check it out.

            It is the best curriculum I’ve seen. It is non-consumable with a ton of replicatable handouts but best of all, you can use whatever you are reading for science/history/fun and apply the grammar lesson of the week! Your students will be diagramminjg the Declaration of Independance before you know it…. and identifying all of it’s gramatical parts and pieces too! It makes learning as a family fun.

            It’s afforable too, considering.

          • Mandy April 16, 2013 at 6:04 am

            I’ve heard where if you haven’t used R&S staff before you should start with 2. They said there is a huge jump from 2 to 3. So, I got 2 for my 3rd grader to start in the fall. We will see how it goes. I’ve heard nothing but great reviews about R&S. I got mine on ebay (teacher’s manual and student book) for $19 🙂

  • Jess April 11, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I started with First Language Lessons. But my eldest thought that the repetition was really annoying. She memorizes things very quickly and then becomes impatient if you ask her to repeat it. She has the same grievance with math… review is torture to her, but without it she does forget! Anyway, I was a new homeschooler and I thought maybe it was the presentation of the material that was the problem. So, the next year we tried English for the Thoughtful Child. The lessons were similar, but not so repetitive. However, it was simply not challenging enough for her in my opinion. And she didn’t like it any better, in fact, I think less since I asked her to work on it independently much of the time. So, this year, we went back to First Language Lessons. Level 3 is no joke. She still gets annoyed with some of the repetition, but it really does help drill the information into her head. And the material is now more challenging, so it’s not quite as “boring”. (her words!) I’m pretty certain that this child will not like this subject no matter what curriculum I found. It’s just not her thing. She’s into big ideas and big gestures, details like grammar? Not her thing! So, I’m sticking with what I feel is both the least painful (quick lessons) and at the same time is quite academically sound.

    My first grader is doing level 1 of FLL. She enjoys it. She doesn’t mind the repetition. But she’s also far more patient and happy with schoolwork in general.

    I am happy with FLL, because they really learn the material. It’s short and simple, while being academically challenging. And there is ZERO prep time for me!

    Reply
    • Marlene April 11, 2013 at 8:07 am

      We use FLL too and love it. It is actually my kids favorite subject ever since we switched to FLL :o)

      Reply
    • Sasha April 11, 2013 at 8:29 am

      I had planned on using English for the thoughtful child next year with my third grader, what grade did you daughter use it?

      Reply
      • Alaina April 15, 2013 at 9:40 pm

        This is our first year homeschooling and I’m using English for the thoughtful child for my 3rd and 4th grade kids. I have mixed feelings on this curriculum. I do like how it introduces something, and then changes up the lessons. So they will work a day or two on proper nouns, then the next assignment is copying a poem and memorizing it, then the next assignment is looking at a picture and writing a story about it. All the photos and some of the words are old fashioned which I thought would be good for them but they discount the quality of the information because this is just ‘old and boring’. I debated on switching mid year, but decided it did cover quite a bit and did have a little more variety than the same worksheet style lesson after lesson as in many other currics. My main concern has been that I don’t feel like they are learning enough, and improving enough after using it a year.
        I’m considering using ESSENTIALS IN WRITING for next school year. This covers grammar etc. but focuses a lot on writing which I feel is one of the most important skills. The website does not specify that it is christian based but I read the teacher mentions church and christian things. It is a DVD of a teacher teaching the concept for about 15 min. and then the assignments. There is also a grading rubric for the parents as a guide which I love. Lastly I love that it was only $$40.

        Reply
    • beth April 11, 2013 at 10:40 am

      I have used FLL for the last two years with my daughters, grade 2/3. We have enjoyed it and now I am torn whether to continue with it and add in other LA or move to a whole curriculum like Learning Language Arts through Literature. Nice to see what other people are using.

      Reply
    • Jenna April 11, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      My daughter will be in 4th grade next year and we used BJU:English this year and loved it! But as I looked into FLL I really want to switch over to that next year. Any advice on where to start her at if we switch over. BJU is nice because there is not a lot of prep, and it explains everything rather simply. But I am not thrilled with the writing aspect of the BJU English curriculum. So I was looking into others, and I really like a Well Trained Mind curriculum for writing and Language arts. Any advice would be great! Thanks

      Reply
      • Joyice April 17, 2013 at 7:13 pm

        If your child is truly in her traditional grade level then you can get that level workbook w/ FLL and she will be fine. So a 4th grader would be on Level 4.

        Reply
  • Maryna April 11, 2013 at 2:33 am

    I recommend LLATL (Learning Language Arts through Literature) by Common Sense Press. The student and teacher book can also be bought as e-books, which saves money and there is various readers that goes with the books.

    Reply
    • tiffany Johnson April 12, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      I have used LLATL with my oldest daughter since kindergarten and she and I really like it. It seems to cover everything she needs to know and is short to the point lessons. She has enjoyed the little projects that they have her do. Just this week she made and illustrated her own book of her favorite poems. She is on the orange book this year and I like that it has several book studies in the curriculum this year as well.

      Reply
  • kelle April 11, 2013 at 3:12 am

    I have been using Abeka. I love Abeka but wanted to venture out this year so I am using Language Smarts
    And Word Fun. I have also added 6 Daily Trait writing. This is all for second grade. Thanks for doing this “forum”!! I really like to see others opinions.

    Reply
    • Theresa Johnson July 24, 2016 at 7:45 am

      Hi Kelle. Thanks for the suggestions! I am looking high and low for the perfect Languages Arts fit for my kids. Can you tell me what Word Fun is?

      Reply
  • Allyson April 11, 2013 at 3:16 am

    Grammar has been a really hard subject for me to find something I like. I want memory and practice, so I put something together myself. I typed up grammar rules for memory work that my son reads 2 times a week and he does a worksheet from a grammar workbook called the Complete Book of Grammar. I got the grammar rules from Harvey’s Elementary Grammar.

    Reply
    • Linda April 11, 2013 at 9:10 am

      You really should try First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind!!!!!

      Reply
      • Joyice April 17, 2013 at 7:14 pm

        I second FLL too!

        Reply
        • Sarah April 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm

          I feel silly asking but I am still new to Homeschooling, what is FLL?

          Reply
          • Heather May 4, 2013 at 1:15 am

            First language Lessons by Peace Hill Press.

            Memoria Press also has a new grammar series that is just the rules and a bit of practice. They have a handbook and the first 2 levels ready now.

  • Ronnie April 11, 2013 at 3:50 am

    We use Easy Grammar for our 4th grader and LOVE it! It is really comprehensive in hitting all the areas of grammar and how to weed out the prepositions so the other parts of a sentence stand out. The only repetitive reviewing is at the end of each unit, you have a cummulative review and a cummulative test so my son really enjoys the challenge of proving that he can remember everything he has learned. For writing, we’re in another country so he does a variety of handwritten letters and e-mails to all our loved ones back in the states. He also has a journal to keep track of all the places we visit, and he enjoys writing and illustrating short stories.

    Reply
    • Melodie January 4, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      Do you use the Daily Grams along with it? I’m considering switching to this curriculum (currently using ACE English), and not sure if I should use the Easy Grammar with the Daily Grams or if I should use just one of them?

      Reply
  • Susan April 11, 2013 at 4:16 am

    We are using Language Lessons for the Elementary child by Queen Homeschool, and my 8 year old LOVES it! So much that she has asked to do book #2 next year. They do not have a book for each year, so we will probably change to Easy Grammar after next school year.

    Reply
  • Audria April 11, 2013 at 4:28 am

    We use Christian Light Education for Language Arts. My kids like the workbooks and the price isn’t bad either. No fluff and it is spiral based. The company is wonderful to work with. I also really love the Yahoo Group and the Facebook Group for those of us using this company. CLE is Mennonite.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Ott April 11, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Thanks for this! I am considering supplementing with some CLE for my kids: using the Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts. We do a literature-based study as a family that includes all those subjects, but they need more to do on their own. I have been impressed with the samples I’ve seen, and the price is good, too!

      Reply
  • Wendy April 11, 2013 at 4:34 am

    We have been using ABeka. The kids have an awesome grasp of English and I find it easy to use.

    Reply
    • Jan April 18, 2013 at 6:52 am

      What grade level are you using?

      Reply
1 2 3 9

Leave a Comment