Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Institute for Excellence in Writing Schoolhouse Review Crew 2014 #hsreviews #hsmommas #hsgrammar

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Fix It! Grammar Review

    We have had the pleasure of reviewing for Institute for Excellence in Writing before so I of course jumped at the chance to try out their new and improved grammar curriculum, Fix It! Grammar. There are 6 books to choose from and are geared for grades 3-12. I used the placement test to see which book would be best for the boys to start with, they are in 10th and 11th grades and have had some Grammar studies up to now so I knew we did not need to start with book 1, and it took us to Fix It! Grammar: Frog Prince, or Just Deserts [Book 3], we were sent the Student Book($15) and Teacher's Manual ($19) and since I wanted to use it for both boys together the Teacher's Guide came with download instructions for the Student Book to be printed off. I did this for both boys so there was no fighting, yes there would have been an argument about who got the real book and who got the one printed by mom.
Fix It! Grammar Review

   After I printed out the books we set up the boys "notebooks" which were really 3 ring binders. We used divider tabs to section out the book into the 4 sections. If you are using the printed book you would only need 2 sections as the first two are in the spiral bound Student Book. My boys are not big fans of grammar and writing and we have struggled with finding something that is not too overwhelming and would not cause a bunch of griping and whining. Guess What? I think we finally found it! Fix It! Grammar from IEW is the answer to my Grammar prayers. These lessons take no more than 15 minutes a day for 4 days a week. This schedule works great for us as we have co-op on Thursdays and soon will not be doing school on that day as we are gone for most of it. Then add in all of the boys new out of the house classes and quick lessons that get straight to the point are just what we need this year as we get accustomed to our new crazy schedule.
Fix It! Grammar Review

   Just one sentence a day! Yes you read that right, one sentence a day to work on and you get to uncover a story as you go along making the kids want to keep working just to find out what happens in the story. Yes my boys are actually enjoying their Grammar lessons and I find them often working ahead of schedule. What on Earth has happened to them? They have been transformed into compliant students who are actually not complaining instead they are doing more than they are asked. Why had I not found this sooner, it sure would have saved me a lot of grief and less tears in our homeschool classroom.  In book 3 the boys are learning and reviewing indents, capitalization, homophones and usage, apostrophes, comparative and superlative adjectives, and
verbs. All just one sentence at a time. For boys that hate to write this has been so refreshing. There is no feeling of despair or feeling overwhelmed. One sentence and then they are done. Reading, editing and rewriting. One step at a time, as they rewrite the sentences in their notebook they are in fact writing the story. So when they are done they will have rewritten the complete story. If I asked them to write a story they would have had a fit but doing it one sentence at a time they are not even thinking about it. So the results are calm students who are not complaining about all of this writing. They are simply adding to it each day.

   There are also Grammar cards that go with the rules you are learning each week, we added these to the binder by using a vinyl zipper pouch that I had found during school supply shopping for a quarter. I did not know what I was going to use them for when I found them but they sure came in handy for this class. This helps to keep everything organized and together. When printing these out I actually printed them on heavy weight cardstock I had handy for scrapbooking. This makes them more sturdy and less apt to rip when the boys are using them.

   The Teacher's Manual has been a life saver for me as the boys work through this curriculum. The answers are there for me to easily check their work, including the definitions for the bolded vocabulary words. There is the pages that the students are to be working on so that I can see exactly what is required of them and all of the answers and helpful hints for me as I help them if they get stuck. Reassurance that they may not catch all of the mistakes and that this is OK and just leaves and opportunity to learn from their mistakes. This has helped me to help them in more ways than I can even count. There is very little required from me as the teacher for the students to be able to complete their assignments, I basically go over the "Learn It" section with them on Mondays and then they are off and running on their own the rest of the week. Then on Friday I go over their work and point out any fixes they did not catch on their own, then they rewrite the sentence with all of the errors corrected and then they are ready for the next week. Being that they are such short lessons helps keep them on task and they do not end up bored. The other plus is that if we have a field trip or something else that comes up that will interfere with a days school work it is very easy to double up and do more than one lesson on a day. This has helped us keep on schedule and not fall behind.

   All in all my boys are truly enjoying Grammar for the first time ever. We are no longer arguing about getting their language arts work done and it has helped immensely by making things calmer and I know they are learning more as they are not focusing on "all of the work" like they did with other curriculums. This is the complete package you get it all in just these two books and there are 6 levels so there is something for all grades 3-12. Use the placement test or start at the beginning, I know we will be moving onto Book 4 after we finish this one, I hope and pray they come out with some more so we never have to go back to the old way of learning Grammar. IEW is a win for our family and I am sure it will be for yours too, you just have to try it and realize it is what you have been looking for all along. Who knew Grammar could be this easy and fun too!
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As always do not just take my word for it, click on the banner below and see what all of the other crew reviewers had to say about IEW and their Fix It! Grammar curriculum.
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