Grammar may not be fun, but it is essential to a good education. Without it, students’ communication skills are greatly handicapped and their ability to convey important ideas—and even to understand them—is impeded. Utilizing a unique "Prepositional Approach" to grammar and meant for grades 2-12, Easy Grammar won’t make grammar fun, but it will arm your kids with the essentials of English grammar.
How Do These Work?
The Easy Grammar series utilizes the "Prepositional Approach" to teaching grammar. First, the student memorizes the prepositions, which he does by unscrambling the words, playing bingo, etc, and after that he is taught to cross prepositional phrases out of the sentence, leaving only the bare bones: the subject and predicate. From there, they branch into the other parts of speech and cover capitalization and punctuation. Each unit focuses on a new topic; there are small cumulative review sections, but not much to keep the topics fresh—this is why Daily Grams are useful; more on that in a minute.
As a curriculum, Easy Grammar covers grades 2-12. In all of these levels, all the material you need is included in the teacher's edition—they include the student workbooks as well as the answers—so you could potentially buy just this one book. For grade 2, doing that makes sense: the answers are all in the back and workbook pages are clear. For grades 3-7, the workbook pages face the answer keys, so unless you cover that page and trust your student not to look OR you have access to an inexpensive copier (one that costs less than 4¢ per page), we recommend that you buy the additional, separate workbook. It's typically more economical and less time consuming. At the Ultimate levels (grades 8-12), the answers are again in a separate section in the back of the book, but tests are in a separate booklet.
The Daily Grams books are meant to go with the Easy Grammar books for grades 3-8. Each consumable text includes 180 one-page lessons for one year’s worth of work. These are basically supplemental warm-up books. They provide review of 4-6 topics—things like capitalization, punctuation, prefixes and suffixes, homonymns/antonyms/synonyms, and much more—in a format that should take 5-10 minutes each day. It does not thoroughly teach topics so it is not a stand alone course—while you could use it with a program other than Easy Grammar, you should not use it by itself. Exercises are short and fairly simple and offer an excellent corollary to more in-depth grammar instruction.
Easy Grammar Ultimate is the name for the books from 8-12. Like Daily Grams, these are single workbooks that contain 5-6 varied sentences per day, teaching and reviewing various concepts. Unlike Daily Grams, they provide more thorough instruction; better in some ways, but a little more cramped and less appealing.The teacher's book includes the workbook and answer key, but student workbooks and tests are available separately. Our experience suggests that many students who have completed Easy Grammar Plus can move directly to grade 9, skipping book 8 entirely.
Our Honest Opinion:
The books are quite plain; workpages are simple black-and-white text, no funny little clown images or any pictures. But while the format is unattractive, the content is excellent. Please note that this is not a complete language arts program on its own. It is only grammar, with a very small section of writing at the back of each book and some further variety in the Daily Grams books. It is necessary to supplement it with additional writing, reading comprehension/literature, spelling/vocabulary, and perhaps some sort of speech material for a full coverage of English. While the older editions contained no writing instruction at all, the 2007 revisions were designed to include some composition exercises, though by no means is this a comprehensive writing course for any grade level.
We have sold hundreds of these texts and received mostly positive feedback. Some customers do not like the plain format; a number think it moves too slowly for their children. The biggest complaint we have heard is that some children do not test well after using it. But usually, we hear that their children never finished the book. Since most of the grammar mechanics material is towards the end of the courses, that makes sense. So we think it is important to make sure your students complete those sections if you want them to test well!
Together, Easy Grammar and Daily Grams represent one of our bestsellers at Exodus Books. Parents like the ease of implementation as well as the thoroughness of instruction; kids might not like it as much, but many of the flashier, more “fun” grammar courses aren’t as effective. Since the aim of education should be for kids to learn and retain important information, a series like this one that many claim accomplishes just that shouldn’t be ignored because it’s not as visually stimulating as it might be.
Review by Eli Evans
Formerly home educated and now married with five kids, Eli is an artistic curator at heart. The owner and manager of Exodus since 1998, his focus is on developing a collection of thoughtful and well-written books that inspire the imagination and promote creativity and diligence while living for God. Read more of his reviews here.
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