First Language Lessons
Grammar , Reading / May 26, 2017

First Language Lessons Content: Grammar Grade(s): 1-2 Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: Included Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $ || ? Pages: 188 Publication Date: 2010 Publisher: peacehillpress.com Common Core Aligned: No Review of First Language Lessons First Language Lessons is a teacher’s manual for introducing language arts to 1st and 2nd grade students. Based on the classical principles of (1) Memory Work; (2) Copying and Dictation; (3) Narration; and (4) Grammar, you’ll find 100 short lessons per grade that you can use as a grammar primer. The second edition of this book presents the text in a much easier-to-read layout and design, without altering the actual content of the book. The author, Jesse Wise (yes, the author of The Well Trained Mind), presents a rule-based, narrative approach for helping children develop an ear for the correct use of language. What that means for your child is that they spend a lot of time listening to you read a script from the manual; reciting grammar rules 3 times in a row – 3 times a day – multiple days in a row; and answering a few oral questions each day. Each lesson can be completed in 5 – 15…

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Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story
Featured , Grammar , Writing / August 26, 2016

Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story Content: Creative Writing Grade(s): 7th and up Religious Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: None Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$$ || ?? Pages: 328 Publication Date: 2016 Publisher: Wondertale Date of Review: August 26, 2016 Common Core Aligned: No Review of A Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story: A Creative Writing Curriculum Not often will you get the advice to start reading a book on page 322, but that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you to do with A Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story. There, you will find a Note from the Publisher, where parents get the straightforward scoop about this curriculum. I’m going to emphasize 2 points: Students will work hard to finish this course. Parents should expect to be part of the creative writing process. A Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story is a workbook written for students. Switching between the narrative voice of the treasure-hunting Captain Yogger LeFossa and the objective voice of the curriculum instructor, A Pirate’s Guide jumps right into its pirate premise. Students are introduced to their role as Scurvy Spat, Captain Le Fossa’s new junior pirate. [If you’ve never read…

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BraveWriter KidsWrite
Grammar , Writing / March 18, 2014

Brave Writer KidsWrite Content: Writing Grade(s): Basic (5th – 8th); Intermediate (8th – 10th) Perspective: Secular Parent Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$$$ || ? Pages: 166 Publication Date: Publisher: bravewriter.com Updated Review: 03/18/2014 From BraveWriter’s website: Kidswrite Basic covers the first 9 chapters of The Writer’s Jungle. It is a supported environment for completing those exercises and experiencing models of quality feedback (the type and content) from an instructor. This course covers the following skills: Communication (We use a game to get you started! Fun!) Freewriting (The breakthrough tool that has unleashed thousands of blocked writers) Keen observation (The skill needed to dig out the rich vocabulary lurking inside your child) Revising (We give you tools and permission to get in there with your kids and help!) Editing (The mechanics mop up!) Publishing (Share that great writing with the world!) KidsWrite Intermediate is the natural follow-up to Kidswrite Basic, particularly for 8th to 10th graders or high school students who’ve had little experience with writing. KWB is not a necessary prerequisite, however. This course enables students to develop their writing voices while it teaches them how to think rhetorically. We use a variety of…

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Brave Writer Help For High School
Grammar , Writing / February 15, 2011

Brave Writer Help For High School Content: Writing Grade(s): 9th – 12th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$$ || ? Pages: 166 Publication Date: Publisher: bravewriter.com Updated Review: 01/02/2014 Reviewer: Sarah Butler MacLeod Brave Writer’s Help for High School is a semester long program designed to “help teens learn how to think, argue, and create their own powerful writing at the same time.” It’s aimed for a teen to read and work through independently, with the parent as “ally” (the author’s word), available for support and conversation while also editing and marking assignments for clarity and thoroughness. Two essay types are addressed, a closed form essay (the traditional formal essay of academic writing) and the open form essay (more informal with the thesis less obviously stated and with a more literary bent). Bogart adds a third category, a hybrid of sorts, which she calls investigative essay writing (or later, an exploratory essay), which seems to be an examination of a problem or question without a specific thesis. An expository essay (closed form and argumentative) follows, with materials on paraphrasing and summary. Help for High School is broken into two parts, Preparation for Essay…

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Language Mechanic
Grammar , Writing / February 7, 2011

Language Mechanic Content: Grammar Grade(s): 4th – 7th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: N/A Teacher Involvement: Minimal Cost: $ Pages: 172 Publication Date: 2001 Publisher: www.criticalthinking.com Date of Review: 11/13/2013 If you’ve got a quirky kid who likes logic, enjoys word humor, and picks language rules up quickly, then Language Mechanic may be a good grammar curriculum for your family. Each individual lesson begins with an attention “grabber” – a basic fact which is then followed by three sentences: You Write; Reader’s Think; and You Mean (to say). The sentences illustrate a specific grammar rule and demonstrate how it can be misused or misunderstood. A simple grayscale drawing accompanies the sentences to help draw out the humor. A logic box follows, explicitly stating the grammar rule and why it works. Students then complete the Practice items with an adult before attempting the Your Turn section. End-of-lesson Challenge questions can be saved for the next day to reinforce the grammar rule. All told, individual lessons should take no more than 15-20 minutes. Each chapter concludes with a Unit Review, which you can use as a quiz, if you like. These 1-2 page review sheets offer editing practice, as students…

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Sentence Island, Paragraph Town and Essay Voyage
Grammar , Writing / February 6, 2011

Sentence Island, Paragraph Town and Essay Voyage Content: Writing Grade(s): 3rd – 5th Perspective: Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 255 Publication Date: 2009-2011 Publisher: rfwp.com Updated Review: 01/02/2014 Reviewer: Sarah Butler MacLeod Michael Clay Thompson breathes life into language arts instruction. With six levels of materials covering grammar, vocabulary, composition, poetics, and literature, he seamlessly integrates those elements of the English language in a manner that assumes his readers are intelligent, active learners. These are not workbooks for self-study — they are texts best explored with a teacher or guide. While the composition books could be used without the rest of the books in the corresponding level, the learner would need a strong grasp of grammar to truly take advantage of what they have to offer and an understanding of MCT’s four-level approach to grammar. (Take home message — if you’re using a composition book, purchase that level of grammar or higher to use with it.) All his books within a level are integrated, each rooted heavily in the corresponding grammar book and somewhat less on the vocabulary book. For many young gifted learners this presents a dilemma — what a…

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Caesar’s English
Grammar , Reading , Writing / February 6, 2011

Caesar’s English Content: Vocabulary Grade(s): 6th – 10th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$ || ? Pages: ~145 Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.rfwp.com Updated Review: May 10, 2014 From Michael Clay Thompson’s website: Caesar’s English I has twenty lessons, each introducing five new stems with an introductory Latin Stem List and the following learning activities: Latin Stem Talk; Latin Stem Analogy; Advanced Words, Classic Words, Who’s That Writer; Latin Stem: English and Spanish; A Roman Fact; and a Latin Stem Word Search game. Caesar’s English II includes photographs to enhance the understanding of Ancient Rome. It has, besides all the elements in the first volume, a heavier emphasis on the relationship between English and Spanish. Each of the twenty lessons also includes five new stems and five review stems from volume I. Students are challenged to fill in the blank in a sentence by a famous author using stem words. Each lesson has a grammar example of the use of one stem word. Caesar’s English is also available in a Classical Education student edition, along with an Implementation Manual. The Classical edition expands the material devoted to the Roman context, including a score…

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Excavating English
Grammar , Reading , Vocabulary / February 5, 2011

Excavating English Content: Vocabulary Grade(s): 5th – 9th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 174 pages Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.ellenjmchenry.com Review Updated: 5/7/2014 From Ellen McHenry’s website: An introduction to the nature of the English language (its flexibility and willingness to take in new words), reasons to study the history of English, places where English is spoken, basic principles of phonetics (including topics such as palatalization), how and why languages change, language family groups, the Indo-European languages and where they came from, the oldest words in the English language, cognates, the Germanic family of languages, Grimm’s Law, King Arthur, the Anglo-Saxons, Alfred the Great, Old English, the Danes and Old Norse, the Norman Conquest and its linguistic consequences, the centuries of silence, Chaucer and his “Canterbury Tales,” the Renaissance and the introduction of Latin and Greek words, the “Great Vowel Shift,” the English dictionary, English crosses the Atlantic, immigrants to America and the words they brought with them, international English. Activities include: a group game about nouns and verbs, a map activity about countries where English is spoken, some word puzzles about obsolete words, food words and acronyms, experiments…

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Writing Strands
Grammar , Writing / February 5, 2011

Writing Strands Content: Writing Grade(s): K – 12th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: No Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $ || ? Pages: 77 Publication Date: 2007 Publisher: www.writingstrands.com Common Core Aligned: No From Writing Strands’ website: Writing Strands is a full language arts program includes writing, reading, and speaking. The lower levels of the Writing Strands series teach four types of foundational skills—basic, organizational, descriptive, and creative—which must be mastered before a student can learn the more advanced skills taught in the upper levels. The upper levels build on the foundational skills and teach students how to compose the four main types of writing: creative, research and report, argumentative, and explanatory. If students complete the Writing Strandsseries with competence, they will be prepared to write all types of papers assigned at a university level. Ages 3-7: Level 1 – Kids who have not learned to write, yet. Ages 7-8: Level 2 – Can write simple sentences on their own. Ages 8-12: Level 3 – Can write a series of paragraphs on their own. Ages 13-14: Level 4 – Basic ability to organize ideas, structure, and transition between paragraphs. Ages 15-15: Level 5 – Knows basic writing skills and…

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Growing With Grammar
Grammar / February 5, 2011

Growing With Grammar Content: Grammar Grade(s): 1st – 8th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Minimal Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 216 Publication Date: 2006 Publisher: www.growingwithgrammar.com Review Last Updated: May 27, 2017 Common Core Aligned: No ** From the Publisher’s Website: ** Each level contains approximately 108 lessons. It assumes the grammar course is being taught three times per week during a 36- week school year, with one lesson taught per workday, including a learning portion and an exercise portion, which reinforces the concepts taught in the learning portion of the lesson. For Levels 1 and 2, the learning and exercise portions are combined into one book for each level. For Levels 3 through 8, the learning portion is contained in a separate Student Manual, with the exercises being contained in a separate Student Workbook. There is plenty of review placed throughout both the learning and exercise portions of the grammar course. The answer keys for all levels are separate from the Student Workbook. Sentence diagramming is taught beginning with Level 3. We believe sentence diagramming is a great tool, which assists the student in actually understanding the parts of speech and how they relate…

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