Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thoughts on Grammar

Based on our grammar lessons the last couple of weeks, it appears that Jessie is actually retaining more information from Rod and Staff than I thought. Since, however, my main reason for choosing the Rod and Staff grammar program was simply because the WTM recommended it, I though it was only fair to do my own research to see if their might be a better program for us. Here are my thoughts on a few of the programs that I have looked at online.

Easy Grammar
On the plus side, it looks very easy to use and understand. There are only 5 levels so we would be finished with it before high school. It contains no unnecessary writing assignments since we're already using CW. On the minus side, it's another workbook that I would either have to buy for each student or use sheet protectors to cover the page. I didn't see any examples of diagramming in the samples that I perused online. I think the actually diagramming out the sentences is visually helpful for Jessie. It also costs much more than the Rod and Staff series while covering grammar in basically the same way from what I can tell.

Junior Analytical Grammar and Analytical Grammar
This looks like a very straight forward, no fluff way to learn grammar; however, there are several reasons that I am disinclined to switch to it at this point. JAG is basically just the first year of AG simplified a bit. It does contain diagramming, but skips fundamentals like what is a sentence and punctuation. Truthfully, I could do this for the grammar in CW Aesop just using the models that are already typed out. It wouldn't be that hard to pick a few sentences from each model to label the parts of speech and then diagram introducing one part of speech at a time. Sharing student workbooks also wouldn't work well with this program because the workbooks are designed to use as a reference after the child has completed the course. That would make the program fairly cost prohibitive with JAG at $39.95 initially plus $19.95 per additional workbook and AG at $99.95 initially plus $59.95 per additional workbook.

Winston grammar has no diagramming so I eliminated that immediately.

Simply Grammar is just a one year program that is mostly done orally and Jessie doesn't retain as much if we do things orally.

So I took another look at Rod and Staff. The most helpful information that I found came from the online scope and sequence chart. The majority of the grammar in Rod and Staff is covered by the end of grade 8. Grades 9 and 10 focus mainly on writing. (Not having to continue grammar in high school is a plus). While they do repeat the basic parts of speech over several years, the actual focus of what is covered changes. For example when studying nouns, 3rd grade discuss the concepts of possessive and compound nouns; 4th grade covers nouns used in the predicate and in phrases; 5th grade moves on to appositives and concrete v. abstract nouns; 6th grade touches on gender, collective, and irregular; and 7th grade ends up with noun clauses. The topics in capitalization and punctuation change from year to year as due the lessons on sentences. The writing assignments are there if I choose to use them along with lessons on oral communication and using helps (dictionaries, concordances, thesauruses, etc). With the highest price student book listed at $18.05 and plenty of used copies available, it definitely seems to give the best bang for the buck. So I guess in this case, my research has simply confirmed that for now this still seems to be the best choice for our family. My one lesson from this year is that I need to schedule time to go over the material in the book with Jessie to make sure she understands it.

One more decision down. Now I have to look back and see how many more there are to go.

1 comment:

clanmama said...

I was wonder anbout Simply Grammer, what grade or grades is it used for? I saw you said it was only for a year. I'm trying to decide to stick with Rod and Staff or to find something else. I want the best thing in education, as well as the most biblical, if it is to be found! I have a Charlotte Mason approach to my homeschooling, so I am also trying to find out what is necessary. Hope to hear from you soon.