This isn't your typical technical, dry grammar curriculum. Classical Academic Press's latest offering teaches grammar in a real-world, English language context. It's written with a subtle classroom emphasis, but homeschoolers should be able to use it without issue.
How it Works:
The course is inherently flexible. It presents three options for completing the book's eight chapters. The first two options go through a chapter every two weeks, with students focusing on grammar either three or four days a week. An accelerated five days a week option is given for those wishing to complete both A and B in a single semester.
Level 1A dives straight into the four types of sentences, has students learning subject and predicate, then introduces, one per chapter, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, direct objects, subject pronouns, and helping verbs. It assumes some previous grammar experience, and doesn't explain nouns or articles. Examples are given in a wider literary context, with sentences taken from classic lit and poetry. Larger samples from the works are included in the "curious child's literary appendix" at the back of the book.
There are three types of lessons in each chapter. The "lessons to learn" introduce the chapter's topic or concept. "Lessons to practice" reinforce those concepts. At the end of each chapter, the "lessons for fun" have students read and analyze a fable or poem.
Every lesson starts with review, and the jingles and chants are available as mp3 files from Classical Academic Press. The lessons themselves are easy on the eyes, with lots of white space, sidebars w/ fun extras, and illustrations interspersed throughout. The sentences follow the adventures of a fictional family, and attempt to have some common theme or progression among them. Simplified diagramming is introduced as "marking." This is a precursor to diagramming which will be fully covered in level 2. For a look into marking and analysis, see these videos on Classical Academic Press' website.
The teacher's edition is straightforward, presenting the text of each chapter with extra "from the sidelines" hints and tips, followed by a section called "Well-Ordered Notes" with extra teaching material, and quizzes.
Our Honest Opinion:
This is an essentially literary grammar program. "Analyze" is a word emphasized in the text as students are challenged not just to learn by rote, but to play around with the language they're learning. In that spirit, the instruction is presented conversationally and the examples are taken from real world works.
The structure is reminiscent of Shurley English, which Classical Academic Press has praised in the past (even suggesting that it be used alongside their Latin Alive curriculum.) Well-Ordered Language is not intending to replace Shurley altogether, but it does share some similarities, such as the jingles and chants. It's fairly slow in pace, and on a cost basis it is pricier than Shurley English. Where Shurley is technical, however, Well-Ordered Language is easy to use, easy to navigate, and fundamentally engaging.
Level 1A is the only volume available at the moment. 1B is due out this summer, and Classical Academic Press plans to release one level a year until their four-level series is complete.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here
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