Grammar is not my favorite subject to teach even though I loved it in middle school. For many years I used Easy Grammar with my children. It worked well with my oldest, but I noticed my next two children (boys) were not remembering the concepts taught in the lesson. They would do well on a lesson immediately after they learned a new concept, but in a few weeks they would forget everything they learned.
One thing I did like about Easy Grammar was that they gave a list of the 40 prepositions in the beginning of the book. Knowing the prepositions made decoding everything else much easier, in my opinion.
Last year I switched to Winston Grammar. While my boys haven’t loved grammar (they didn’t love it before the switch either) I have noticed that their retention of concepts has improved. I’m using the basic course with my 10 year-old and the advanced course with my 14 year-old.
Simple Format: There are no songs to sing or cute characters to teach you grammar. There is a workbook, a teacher’s guide, and parts-of-speech cards. If you have a child who needs something basic with no frills to distract them, Winston Grammar is a good fit.
Parts-of-Speech Cards: If you are using this program don’t skip the cards! We lost a few in our move and I plan on replacing them at the homeschool convention next week. Before a child does any work in the book, they “diagram” the sentence using cards. This works great with fidgety kids who need to be doing something at all times. It is also a great hand’s on teaching tool. Once the child has worked out a few sentences with the cards they start working in the book, but they can still use the cards to reference a grammar rule if necessary.
Lots of Review: A new grammar rule is introduced every two to four lessons, but the old rules are still practiced in the new lesson. Each rules builds on the last rule so it helps the child remember what they learned weeks prior to the current lesson.
Sentences Make Sense: Have you ever used a curriculum that was trying so hard to teach a concept or rule that the sentences didn’t make much sense? The sentences used in Winston Grammar are all things a child could potentially say or write over their lifetime.
Inexpensive: The complete set is only $36, (teacher’s manual, workbook, and cards) which makes is a bargain in my opinion.
Prepositional Phrase approach: We used Easy Grammar for years before I switched my older children to Winston Grammar. One thing I loved about Easy Grammar is that it taught kids to eliminate the prepositional phrase first in a sentence. This really helped my children determine the other parts of speech. Winston Grammar does not take this approach, so my kids struggled at first finding the subject as well as the noun functions. I’ve ended up having my kids cross out the prepositional phrase in Winston Grammar to make it easier and it has worked.
Heavy Teacher Involvement: I don’t think being involved in teaching your child is a bad thing. But with Winston Grammar a child cannot do a lesson unless the teacher has explained it to him. All of the lesson information is contained in the teacher’s manual. The workbook only has the sentences. There is no way a child could work ahead or get started on the lesson without the teacher. Unless of course they were born knowing the difference between independent and dependent clauses.
Teaches Only Grammar: It is a grammar course, so I wouldn’t expect anything different. But if your child struggles with spelling, capitalization or punctuation you will need to find additional curriculum that covers those topics.
What grammar curriculum works for your family?