Grammar is one of the core components of any homeschool language arts program. It also can be a difficult one to teach or find materials you’re happy with. I have tried quite a few programs throughout the years, including some popular ones, and I found what I think is one of the best homeschool grammar curriculum called Fix It! Grammar by Institute for Excellence in Writing.
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6 Reasons Fix It! Grammar Is the Best Homeschool Grammar Curriculum
1. Great Literature
Grammar is usually taught in individual sentences that are separate from each other and not related in any way. This program takes a different approach and uses a piece of literature that’s split apart into one sentence per day.
The student works on four sentences per week and rewrites them in a notebook when he’s made the corrections. By the end of the year, he’s written the entire story.
There are six different books in the series: The Nose Tree (Book 1), Robin Hood (Book 2), Frog Prince (Book 3), Little Mermaid (Book 4), Chanticleer (Book 5), and Sir Gawain (Book 6).
2. Great Program for Almost Any Grade
The author suggests that all students start in the first book no matter what level of grammar they’re at because each book includes advanced concepts.
If the first book seems very simple, the student will move through it faster. For older students just starting in this series, they can double up and do two books per year until they reach a level that’s more difficult.
Fix It! Grammar starts at the third-grade level but goes all the way through high school.
Books one and two are recommended for third through twelfth grade, books three and four for sixth through twelfth, and books five and six for ninth through twelfth grade. So almost anyone in your homeschool can use it!
I’ve used book one with a fourth and eleventh grader at the same time. It’s not often you can do that!
3. Builds Vocabulary
Each daily lesson includes a bold word in the sentence the student looks up in a dictionary. If the word has multiple meanings, the student determines which one is the correct way the word’s being used in the sentence.
He writes the definition in the back of a notebook which becomes a running dictionary to use throughout the rest of the story.
Once the meaning is understood, the student rereads the sentence for understanding, before making the corrections.
By the end of the year, there’s a considerable list of words the student has defined and written in his glossary. This method is a great way to teach vocabulary words, which all students need to continue to build.
After years of teaching, I’ve realized that any test a person takes, whether it is in school, college, or to get a job, is mainly a vocabulary test. A person has to understand what the question is asking before he can answer it. When you find a program that incorporates vocabulary so easily, it’s an added bonus.
4. Concepts Reinforced Continually
The parent introduces the lesson at the beginning of each week (Day 1), and there’s a grammar card that goes along with it.
You can cut and laminate the cards and put them on a metal ring or put them in a small storage box used for index cards. You could also leave them together on the sheet and store them in a 3-ring binder to refer to during the lessons.
These grammar cards are fantastic! My daughter was able to find and correct so many errors by referring to the rules and then asking herself the questions on the cards.
When students look at the cards every day, it’s built-in reinforcement, and they don’t realize it because they’re just trying to find the answers.
Another way Fix-It Grammar incorporates review is through prompts at the top of the pages in books one through three. These are visual symbols, words, and letters to remind the student of what he’s looking for in the sentence.
I had my children make check marks next to each one as they made the corrections because they had a tendency to start looking for one thing, such as nouns, and then skip around and end up missing several other items they were supposed to be looking for. I think the prompts are in a specific order because it makes it easier to find the errors when they’re done that way.
5. Practical Application Is Used
The object of this program is for the student to find errors in real literature instead of unrelated practice sentences. Having to search for errors in the story is much more meaningful and will carry over into real life writing situations.
This program starts simple and builds up to advanced skills. Your child will correct and identify punctuation, spelling, grammar, clauses and phrases, parts of speech, and word usage.
Other concepts such as dress ups, elements of style, and sentence openers are also addressed. These are from IEW’s Teaching Writing Structure and Style program which can be an excellent supplement but is not necessary to use Fix It! Grammar.
6. Less Than 15 Minutes a Day to Do
This curriculum takes about 15 minutes a day for the student to do. But don’t let that fool you because it packs a big punch in that small amount of time. It’s unbelievable what your child will learn by the end of the year.
Here is what the week looks like:
- Every day– The student will read the sentence and then look up the definition of the bold word and write it in his notebook.
- Day 1– There is a small lesson that’s taught by the parent to introduce the skill they work on that week. The sentence is gone over and corrections are made with the teacher’s assistance. The sentence is rewritten correctly in the notebook.
- Days 2-4– The student uses the prompts at the top of the page, as well as the grammar cards, to mark the sentence. The teacher goes over the passage to see if anything was missed and then the student rewrites the sentence in the notebook.
- Day 5– This can be used as a catch up day or, like we did, a day to read all the sentences from the week to comprehend what’s going on in the story that’s being written.
A Solid Program
The simplicity of this curriculum is one of the most appealing aspects of the program, to my children anyways, because it was a quick subject and therefore, they did not mind doing it at all. With so many other subjects that take up a lot more time, this one was almost refreshing when they did it.