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.

 

IEW Fix It Grammar!

As many of you know we switched to a new English/Grammar curriculum. We’ve been using Fix It! Grammar now for about 2 years and so far I really like it. Click below to see the full review on this English/Grammar curriculum.

TT_FixItGrammar

What I like about Fix It! Grammar:

  • It takes less time, about 15 minutes per day.
  • It includes vocabulary.
  • I like that we’re learning to edit a continuing story line.
  • Story is interesting and kids are excited to see what happens next.
  • It correlates well with the IEW Writing program.
  • Helps reinforce proper paragraph formation, writing structure, etc.
  • Teacher’s manual is easy to read and concepts are clear and concise.
  • Love the extra teacher notes, so far any questions the kids have asked have been listed in the teacher notes which is great!
  • Like the easy reference flash-cards.
  • Cost is great!

 

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.

197 Comments

  1. Has anyone used Essentials in Writing? I’m interested in that for next year. It is supposed to be like Math U See (short video lessons and very student led) for Grammar/Writing. I like the thought of that!

    Sara
  2. We have been doing All about learning press for reading & spelling. I am looking for a grammar that would meld well with it. I like that they are very hands on. He will be a 1 st grader next year! Any suggestions would be great!

    Kendra Liedtke
  3. Over the past 17 years of home educating our children we have used Abeka, Sonlight, LLTL, BJU, Christian Liberty Press, Alpha Omega, First Language Lessons, K12, Rod & Staff, Christian Light and Jensen’s. At first, it was finding a good fit and figuring out home school. Now that we know what we are doing and what we like, we use Rod & Staff up through 3rd grade – starting with their preschool books, because they introduce language gently. The 3rd grade English book can be used by just about any grade, as it is intensive in content. Great stuff!

    From 4th grade through 10th grade, we use Christian Light. We switched from R&S to CLE because the children had gaps in certain areas, and the writing was not as intense as I would have liked. CLE is a nice balance. CLE splits their English in high school out, giving half a year of English 1 in 9th and half in 10th, and then English 2 split over 11th and 12th. We don’t do that. We do all of English 1 in 9th grade, and all of English 2 in 10th grade.

    From there we move to Jensen’s Grammar for 11th, and Jensen’s Format Writing for 12th. Our children graduate with significantly more grammar than they need, but they also understand a lot more and have scored very high on SAT and other collegiate entrance tests.

    One change we have made – I have a child with dysgraphia, making CLE often a challenge for language arts. For this child we took a break and brought in Grammar Land (free worksheets online). Old, but cute. He suddenly understood grammar as never before, and jumped two full grades in CLE between pre and post tests (free on their website). We also dropped the penmanship portion of CLE, and went with their new penmanship books. Much easier for him.

    For those of you just beginning, take heart if the first thing you use is not a ‘match’ for you and your kiddos. You might also find that something works for a while, and then in one grade it doesn’t. It’s okay to switch! There are some excellent comments on here, and some great resources. Just remember that English doesn’t have to be beastly, and it’s okay to take a break while you find something new!

    Wendy
    1. .Wendy,
      Would you recommend I use R&S English 3 for my 4th & 5th graders before moving on to CLE? From the above comments it has a wealth of lessons. I had planned to use Winston Grammar & could use that along with R&S 3. I also have an 8th grade student who has struggled with grammar & writing. I have been planning to use CLE, Winston Grammar immediately, And Jensens Grammar & Format Writing (for high school) I like your high school plan!

      Becca
      1. Rod and Staff English 3 is very rigorous and thorough. It is a great place to start if a child hasn’t had any or little grammar instruction and can be done by older children independently. For instance, if you had a 7th grade child use R&S 3 independently they would write out their answers in a separate notebook, then for 8th grade they could skip to R&S 5, 10th grade R&S 7, 11th grade R&S 9. I believe getting through R&S 9 is more than most use. R&S English doesn’t need any supplementing. Many supplement the writing but they actually include writing instruction in the back that do not need supplementing.
        Our son is going into 8th grade, he uses BJU for grammar. It is well laid out and the grammar lessons are easy to implement and CD an be done independently. I like to that there are tests and reviews so I can see if he is struggling in an area.

        Adriane
    1. I have 10 children and have been homeschooling for 25 years. The first several years I used nothing but ABeka for all their subjects. Then I decided to use something else for Language as I wasn’t overly fund of theirs, especially the writing portion. I used Winston Grammar one year, liked it fine, but it definitely was not a years worth of material for us. Finished it in a few weeks. Then we used Easy Grammar one year. Kinda liked the prepositional phrase approach, but at that time it only covered parts of speech and maybe a little mechanics, etc.
      Went back to ABeka. Then Shurley English came out and I decided to try it. I loved it! I liked the way that it built on and reviewed. For example, we didn’t just learn about nouns and then have a chapter on verbs and so on. Once we learned a part of speech, we continued labeling all the parts and doing the unique question and answer flow for the whole sentence, not just the part of speech we were currently learning.
      I am now homeschooling my youngest three, a 12th, 11th, and 3rd grader. My third grader is very hands on and much different than any of my other children so I decided to try something different with him. I used the American Language Series for teaching all of my children to read in kindergarten and love it, love it, love it! It is the best ever!! I love phonics and reading so I actually used the Scaredy Cat program also with one of mine and PAL program from IEW with my youngest. I used IEW years ago with my oldest and am about to use it again this year for all of mine. I purchased the theme based Bible Heroes for my youngest one and love it. My older two are doing the theme based U.S. History. I really like it also.
      I used First Language Lessons with my youngest last year but have bought Rod and Staff 2 to use this year. So far I like what I see. I still may go back to Shurley English for a year or two. I also am looking into Logic of English Foundations for my youngest and Logic of English Essentials for my older ones. I also use All About Spelling with younger one. I am checking out Analyptical Grammar and Dynamic Word Build.

  4. Erica, I have heard that Abekas grade 3 is a key to good foundation. However…I get so overwhelmed on their website. I wish you just clicked English/Grammer and it gave the price. Instead it has 1000000 options. What do I actually need to start out with? Do not want a bunch of extra unnecessary stuff.

    MommiMelson
  5. I have 3 boys grades 1, 4, and 6. The have used the A Beka language and the BJU. The began school at a Private Christian school. Then I home schooled them for a while and now they are back in Private Christian. My opinion of A Beka is that it is weak – plain and simple. I teach 5th grade at the school and we use BJU. I would consider BJU fair. The lessons are neat and clear cut. I am a weak English teacher and BJU makes it easy to teach the lesson. However, BJU does a horrible job creating sentences for practice. They put things in their practice sentences that students haven’t seen before. It confuses them. The text will ask students to find the verb in the sentence and then BJU will pop infinitive forms of a verb in their examples. They haven’t taught it in the curriculum. A child will circle “to run” and not know why it is wrong. You can explain it but now you have to stop and teach infinitives. This happens EVERY chapter in a variety of ways. I called BJU and they said that they do this more in the “class practice” section to help the kids learn to do more challenging work. I m sorry but you don’t “challenge” a student you frustrate them. It is a disaster in the classroom. I have spoken to multiple teachers who use BJU and several have decided to only use BJU as a supplement. We have found that as a school, our students are not applying what they are learning when they are doing writing assignments.
    I used BJU when I homeschooled and I was able to deal with it a little better. I had time to teach these “mini lessons,” One other item that I do not think works well is teaching prepositional phrases at the end of the book. The 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teachers decided to teach the last chapter (prep phrases) at the beginning of the year. This has helped great deal. It has helped the kids learn to knock out the prep phrases before looking for a subject.
    I apologize if this post has many mistakes. I don’t have my glasses and the print is very small. Good luck to everyone! I m still searching for the perfect curriculum 🙂

    HEIDI FROM TN
  6. I really enjoy reading all of your comments and feedbacks. Right now, I am frustrated because I really can’t decide on which curriculum for my 4th grade son. I would love your suggestion if you have. I have bad experience in the past relating to the gaps with my 3 kids. I want my son to have a good foundation with grammar and writing. He was using Rod & Staff for 2nd and 3rd grade. I do see very good structure on his grammar and writing. But, sadly, he was dreadful doing them. When I show him R&S in 4th grade, he said, No, please!. He wants another kind. Oh! Umm. I am considering BJU English 4. I am still hesitating if it is really good program. If it is much similar to Abeka Language, I would prefer not. We currently use BJU History and Reading and love them! Let me tell my long experience with many english programs. Long time ago, our three kids were using R&S till 4rd grade. I started to have a problem because I was having a baby. It was hard to follow up with their schoolworks. So, they tried SOS Language 5 and 3. They were not happy with it. So, I tried on Abeka language. When my older son arrived to 8th grade, he was not happy with it. Very confusing! He tried on BJU English for 9th and 10th. It was okay. At last two years, he was on SOS language. He was fine with it. Now, he is in college. My 2nd and 3rd ones were on Abeka language for several years during their elementary & middle school. I don’t see the improvement in their grammar and writing. I tried on Easy Grammar. They liked them because of very easy work. Their SAT tests showed low on language arts. I decided to quit on them. I want them to go back to R&S. They tried on few units. They were very dreadful with them. I tried on Pace English. I love the God centered style they use! It really encouraged me a lot! They have been on them since 2 years. They like them. But, I don’t really see any improvement on their grammar structure and writing. There is not much of thinking skills on Pace program. My all three kids are currently using Pace Word Building/Entmology and love them. It is really excellent! I am thinking to get BJU English for two kids. Not sure! Now, back to my last son. I really don’t want him to go through what my other kids did. I am looking one with spiral learning approach which R&S does offer. I see that BJU English and CLP do offer that. I look at Growing in Grammar which is new to me. It reminds me much of Easy Grammar which I dislike unless I am wrong. I would love your opinion and suggestion. BJU English? CLP? Growing in Grammar? for 4th grade. If R&S is still a best choice, I will manage to deal with my son to continue on it. Greatly appreciate your help! God bless you all!! Philippians 4:4-Rejoice in Lord!

    Evelyn
  7. I am so thankful for all the post here! I currently have a 3rd and 1st grader and an almost 3yr old. We are going to switch from LifePac Lang arts to something else next year. My oldest does well with it but my 1st grader loathes it! I did Sing, Spell, Read, Write with my oldest early on and he did great, wish I had just kept on with second child but wanted to keep them on the same type of program so they both were doing Lifepac LA….bad idea….live and learn. I am considering First Lang Lessons and Writing with ease or Rod and Staff English with IEW. This forum has been so helpful to me. We are in our 3rd year of homeschooling. Comments welcome on either of my possible choices! 🙂

    Wendy

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