Recently, we’ve been using Analytical Grammar‘s Junior Analytical Grammar books with Bug. He’s a fourth grader, and up until this point, has only done very basic grammar studies. I would love to tell you I was super eager to dig into this program, but frankly, grammar scares the snot out of me. I was terrified to begin this review, but I am thrilled to tell you that so far, teaching grammar with Junior Analytical Grammar has been mostly painless.
For this review I was sent the Teachers Manual, the Student Workbook, and the Companion DVDs for Junior Analytical Grammar. This program is meant to be used for just a short season- 11 weeks, but you can take it more slowly than that if you need to. What I really like about it is that it’s meant to be a foundation, you want to expose your kids to formal grammar, but you don’t need to bombard them with everything at once. You do this 11 week program in the 4th or 5th grade, and then next year (or the year after that!) you come back to do another level, and add another layer to their understanding.
- Articles and Adjectives
- Subject and Verb
- Patterns 1 & 2 (sentences with and without direct objects)
- Pattern 3 (sentences with both indirect and direct objects)
- Linking Verbs and Patterns 4 & 5
- Helping Verbs
- Conjunctions and Compound Situations
About Those DVDs
The DVD component shown in this review is optional. You don’t need them per say to teach the program effectively. Unless you are me… and then you need them. You see, I managed to get through a college degree without truly understanding formal grammar. I think I have a decent command of the English language, but that means diddly squat when teaching my child. The teachers manual does a fabulous job outlining the program and how to teach it, but the DVDs take it one step further by inviting a qualified grammar expert into your home to explain the program to your child in a easy to understand way.
Playing the DVD is a lot like sitting down with a teacher. When I teach this program, I read the teachers manual before the lesson, and then when Bug is ready to learn, we sit down together with the workbook in front of the TV. I keep the remote in hand so I can pause the program when appropriate (for instance, the teacher will instruct the student to complete a question in the workbook, and then she will go over the correct answer) and easily follow along with her.
This program is taught 5 days a week, and we’ve been moving at a slightly slower pace with it than one unit a week because Bug is a young 4th grader and I really want this to stick for him. This program encourages working until the child is competent with each unit before moving on, so that is what we are doing.
On the first day of the week, Bug sits down with the DVD and follows along with the instructions. The teacher goes over the unit in about 10 minutes, and then looks at some of the sentences in the student book along with the child. These “worked examples” help Bug really understand what he needs to do before he begins his independent work. Then, he does the first worksheet.
On the second and third day, he simply has more worksheets to complete, going along with the theme of the unit. This includes things like marking the parts of speech and phrases, as well as diagramming the sentences.
On the fourth day, he has another worksheet called “playing with words” where he makes his own sentences and answers more open ended questions.
On the fifth day, there is a test.
With some units, Bug is needing a little more hand holding than the worksheets provide, so I have been coming up with additional sentences and working with him on a whiteboard to make sure he really internalizes the concepts before moving on to take the test.
Overall, this program is working really well for us. It’s pretty painless, and more importantly, it’s effective. I am enjoying it, and have it earmarked as a program we will probably continue with as he grows- I’m thinking working through all the levels would be a good idea for us.
Junior Analytical Grammar Teachers Book & Student Workbook: $39.95
Junior Analytical Grammar Companion DVDs: $19.95
Read more Reviews
Analytical Grammar has many more products for kids of all ages, and you can read more about them at the Crew Blog. There are 59 other reviewers blogging all about their experience, so click the link below to see all the reviews.