Saturday, August 17, 2013

Curriculum Series {Grammar}

Let me just first say, Grammar is one of my least favorite subjects. You see....I'm a Math/Science person.  I was an accountant/auditor in my life before kids.  I have always loved math. Algebra....yes!!  Statistics....yippee!  The term "quadratic equation" probably makes most people sick.
I though my options were accounting/finance or teaching.  I "knew" I could never be a teacher (Ha!) so I choose accounting and finance.  

With all of that said, it makes what I'm about to say even more ironic.

I'm tutoring Classical Conversations Essentials this year.


Me...the math lover....teaching 4-6th graders (and their mamas) all about Grammar and Writing.
Guess how I spend my summer?  
Relearning Grammar.
Guess what I realized?  
Its actually pretty fun!

So....onto our Grammar Curriculum.  These are all I've used.  I haven't tried anything else, since these work for us....and work very well so we'll continue using them.  We do Grammar every day and its part of what I consider our Core curriculum.

Kindergarten-1st Grade

2nd-3rd Grade

4th-6th Grade

First Language Lessons 1&2
I start out at the end of Kindergarten using First Language Lessons 1, then continue on with 2.  We go through the lessons at a decent pace, but usually hit 4-5 per week.  Some days we breeze through 2, sometimes we skip.   There are 100 lessons in each book, so I expected to finish both books by the end of 1st grade.  

I like this series because its scripted.  I need that with the littles.  Its also repetitive, which to some can get old (even to me) but I see from the other end how the repetition pays off.  My (barely) 6 year old, knows what a noun is.  Common and proper.  He is now learning pronouns.  He is (barely) 6.  When I started homeschooling....I had to look it up!  I am an educated person.  With 2 undergrad degrees!  Yikes!

We do skip some of the lessons, but not many, and I'm to the point where I don't read the scrip verbatim.  (This is my second time through this book.)  We usually skip the copy work exercises because we do that in other areas of our schoolwork, but that's about it.

Rod and Staff English
I am very pleased with these books!!!  I don't know what led me to them, but they are great.  We use them in the respective grade levels.

They are about $30-45 for the set of student book, teacher manual, tests and key.  (We do not use the worksheets.)  One of my favorite parts of these books....the Teacher's Manual is a duplication of the Pupil's Text except there is information in the margins for teaching.  But they are page for page.  So I know exactly which page to direct them too, or if they have a question they can tell me what page they are on and I can flip right to it.  Drives me crazy when the Teachers Manual and the Student Book have different page numbers for the same page! (Does that make sense? :)

These books are written for a school setting, but the lessons are very straight forward and thorough.  My oldest DOES NOT like to write.  I figured out very quickly that she was more than happy to do the work orally.  So that's what we did.  She read the section, I ask her the questions, she answered and we were done.  No tears.  Score one for mom!  We did not do every single question.  If she knew the material, we moved on.  My 3rd grader loves to write, so I give her a piece of paper, assign all the odd questions and she comes back with the assignment in hand.  I correct it and we go over any mistakes right there.

Last year, my oldest overlapped Grade 4 Building With Diligence with CC Essentials.  We did them both.  Didn't need to, but since this was my first time through Essentials, I wanted to "make sure."  At the time, I didn't "trust the model." :) She will only be doing Essentials this year. I'm hoping to get my 3rd grader through book 3 and 4 this year.   (Book 2 has 162 lessons, book 3 has 135 lessons and book 4 has 127 lessons.)  I double up some lessons and skip others when I know she knows the material.

Classical Conversations Essentials - Grammar portion
What can I say?  Awesome program.  Tough, but man....these kids know their Grammar.  Its a 3 year program, where you cover the same material each year....just raising the bar for your student each time through.  When they finish this program....they are Grammar masters!!! They know Grammar.  They learn things that I don't think I ever learned through all of high school!  (I know it now, since I'm tutoring it and spend my summer studying.)

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