This has been the year of grammar for us. We’ve tried quite a few products, but none of them have been as easy to use or as enjoyable as today’s review from The Institute of Excellence in Writing (IEW). For this review, I was sent Fix It! Grammar (Book 1): The Nose Tree, the Teachers Manual and the coordinating student book.
Fix It! Grammar is meant to be completed in less than 15 minutes a day, over the course of your school year. Each morning, you’ll sit down with the teachers manual, and complete a daily lesson. Each lesson consists of reading one sentence, evaluating it for errors, focusing on grammar concepts, studying a vocabulary word, and correctly penning the sentence into a notebook.
Each day’s sentence builds on the previous one, meaning that when you are done with your year of grammar study, your child will have read, and edited, a complete story, while learning grammar, mechanics, editing skills, vocabulary and practicing their penmanship.
The teacher’s manual contains everything you need to complete this program, including a license for a downloadable PDF of the student book to use at home with all your children. They do have a print version of the student book if you’d like to purchase a pre-printed, spiral bound copy (which is featured here in this review) but do know that the teachers manual is complete without needing to purchase the additional student book.
I should start this off by saying that Fix It! Grammar has been a huge hit. Grammar has NEVER been a huge hit in our house before. It’s been tolerated, and it’s been done, but never before has Bug asked to complete his grammar lesson daily and done it without complaint or feet dragging.
I think the reason it’s been such a hit comes down to the simple nature of the program. This isn’t complicated. It doesn’t require a huge amount of time. It takes something we love, a good story, and ties it in with grammar practice.
The story is cohesive throughout the program, meaning each day we get one more line. This keeps us coming back to the program wondering what will happen next! Bug has been tempted to read ahead, but I have been a “mean mama” and won’t let him… I want to be surprised also!
For me as a teacher, the most valuable aspect of this program is that it’s teaching more than just abstract grammar principles. It takes the study of grammar, and it presents it in the most useful way- as editing skills.
With this program, Bug isn’t memorizing rules and parts of speech… he’s applying the concepts right out of the gate in a way that makes perfect sense to the both of us. Even better, this skills are sticking and translating to his other school work. Now, when he sits down to write an email, or do a lesson in history, he automatically is remembering to do things like indent, and think about punctuation, and pay attention to sentence structure.
I also really appreciate that it’s more than just the grammar, vocabulary is included also. The story isn’t overly simple, it uses complex vocabulary and interesting sentence structure, so each day has a bit of a challenge. For every lesson, if Bug doesn’t automatically know the vocabulary word, he has to look it up in the dictionary, determine the correct definition from those given, and then move on to editing the sentence. Already, he’s learned a handful of new and interesting words.
The best part though is that it only takes us 15 minutes. It’s easy enough to open the book first thing, and get ‘er done… and I just love lessons that are open and go!